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University of Derby

School of Arts

United Kingdom Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

At Derby we have worked to build a powerful regional university that addresses the needs of our students, region and beyond. Our Strategic Framework 2018-30, which frames the University’s activity and ambition around three Pillars: Game Changers, Opening Doors and Positive Impact, ensures that everything we do is driven by delivering excellence and opportunities, and our achievements and strong academic performance this past year reflect this.

The importance of social mobility and meeting the needs of our region is part of our DNA. Our drive to support the government’s Industrial Strategy and the regional skills agenda continues to gain momentum, as does our work to ensure the global challenges we face are embedded into our philosophy and curriculum, so that Derby students understand the future role they may play in tackling them.

With Buxton and Leek College in the University group we are able to deliver opportunities
from Level 2 to Level 7 across our region, enabling significantly more people to access higher education. Moreover, our drive to respond to the challenge of our public and private service has
led to the University trailblazing programmes to address the skills gap in professions such as nursing and policing, and with our local industries.

Through our Nursing Associates programme we provide a progression route into graduate level nursing for many people, including those who had never entertained the idea of going to university. Just this year we enrolled 162 apprentices, the majority of whom are over 30 years old, onto this pioneering education programme which is helping to transform the nursing and care workforce.

Through our partnership with Nottinghamshire Police, which led the sector in developing the first UK Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship, we have provided a new education route that engages with historically hard to reach communities for police recruitment. This has resulted in more than 50% of the cohort being the first in their family to enter higher education, increased BAME participation
in the training by 100%, and doubled the number of BAME applicants for policing.

We are supporting our local schools, raising the attainment and outcomes of young people through many impactful initiatives, including our involvement with the Derby Opportunity Area and the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Collaborative Outreach Project.

Our research into compassionate mind training is improving the mental wellbeing of teachers and support staff, and colleagues from our Institute of Education have received Department for Education funding to support the Partners for Progress project, a new initial teacher training pilot initiative to help challenging schools recruit and retain teachers.

We continue to build our influence on skills development through advanced manufacturing and apprenticeships, working with a number of diverse organisations locally, nationally and globally.

Through knowledge exchange and research, staff are using their expertise, insight and influence to address key societal challenges, secure funding to improve innovation and productivity, and support the innovation and development of some of the region’s key stakeholders from sectors including rail, health and technology.

Examples include our work with RDS Global Ltd, supporting them to become market leader for “Real Time” aggregated multi connectivity and reporting solutions, Financial Performance Solutions Ltd, where we are developing Business Intelligence Software for the Automotive Industry,
and Chatsworth House, developing the economic, environmental and employment impact of the estate.

The civic role universities play has gained prominence recently, and provided us
with an opportunity to reflect on our approach and the impact we have. We are developing a Civic University Agreement, which will see us adopt a more systematic and strategic approach, building onand adding value to the huge amount of work being undertaken by our staff, students and stakeholders that we know is already having a positive impact on local communities, businesses and organisations.

Collectively this success is a result of the commitment and dedication of our staff and students, who continue to impress with their innovative ideas, creativity and talent, and who are role models and ambassadors for the University. I am delighted to see a real difference being made by them – true transformation in action.

Derby students are award winners, innovators and game-changers. They are receiving national and international recognition for their work, embarking on life-changing placements, both in the UK and overseas, in destinations including Tokyo and New Zealand. Closer to home they are utilising their skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the local community.

It is fantastic that they are grabbing hold of the many opportunities presented to them, challenging themselves and their ways of thinking, opening their minds and making a valuable contribution to society.

The Strategic Framework, which launched just over 12 months ago, has re-energised the University, providing staff and stakeholders with clarity over our direction of travel, and raising the bar in terms of our institutional ambitions.

Embedding high performance in everything we do has become the norm, and this step change in the way we operate is already generating strong results and outcomes.

We continue to build our national reputation for teaching and learning – rising three places (to 26th) in the Guardian University Guide 2020 – and as a leading institution for social mobility, as recognised in the HEPI Fair Access Table ranking (2nd in the country).

Receiving the news that we have been shortlisted for the Times Higher Education ‘University of the Year’ award for the first time in Derby’s history is another proud moment. Regardless of the outcome, we are delighted to receive national sector recognition for our achievements.

2018/19 has been a fantastic year for Derby but we cannot become complacent. In this current political climate, where the higher education sector is experiencing uncertainty and facing significant policy changes, successfully balancing the many facets of a university and the expectations placed upon it is both a privilege and a challenge.

I have no doubt there will be huge opportunities for the University, city and county; but we need to work together to ensure we are in a position to take advantage of them, assuring a bright future for us all.Professor Kathryn Mitchel,Vice-Chancellor, University of Derby


For more information: https://www.derby.ac.uk/media/derbyacuk/assets/departments/press/images/2019/68476-annual-review-18-19-(002).pdf


International Role

As a university we work with global brands, such as, Boots, Rolls Royce, Toytoa, Hilton, Lockheed Martin, Bombardier, Chatsworth, JCB, Emirates.

We have the following franchise partnerships
Vakalo College of Art and Design, Greece
Jiangxi University of Technology, China 
Raffles Design, China 

In support of TNE, following progression partners (not prepared to list these)
approx. x12 progression partnerships in China
approx. x9 progression partnerships in India 
approx. x6 progression partnerships in Malaysia and Singapore

University of Derby is a connected maker: shaping the future

Derby is the birthplace of Industrial Revolution and the first textiles factory was in Derby. 

Recognised as the leading tech city in UK (RR, Toyota, Bombardier, JCB)

Long established creative industries within city (birthplace of Lara Croft) 

Uniquely placed with right skills and approach to shape the 4th Industrial Revolution 

As a university we draw strenght from these histories to articulate and identify key aspects and opportunities of 4th Industrial Revolution and how learned knowledge and practice will inform the future and future opportunities.  Derby’s trans-disciplinary approach to learning and teaching, which is best articulated through the School of Arts in which ‘creative risk taking, creative resilience and ambition’ develop a question led approach to study and equips students with the right ethos and approach to ensure that they are adaptable and ready to respond to new challenges and opportunities. 

This can be illustrated through two, learning and teaching case studies: 

1. Product customisation within the textiles industry (fusion of traditional expertise linked to digital technologies) informed through customer choice and how technology can assist consumer choice developing a bespoke product that fulfils the customers needs.

2. Derby is the UK lead with MIT through the development of ‘makerspaces’. These hybrid spaces where tradition and contemporary technologies collide encourage a trans-disciplinary approach to study. These spaces are focused around how technology can cut through traditional discipline areas and the activities connect designers with business students, artist with engineers; as the makerspaces support and encourage new and unbounded approaches to learning as well as a making and experimentation. The project is focused around using a defined space to bring together groups of individuals who have diverse backgrounds and experiences with a view that we start to question and answer some of the yet unasked questions that will affect society, culture and individuals.

National Role

We have established a Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) to ensure that we maintain this high standard and provide students with the best-possible education.This commitment was recognised earlier this year with Derby being placed joint third out of 121 institutions for the number of students satisfied with teaching quality – a jump of 18 places in the Guardian University Guide 2020 for the metric.

Businesses are our key partners in creating excellent and impactful research. We have a portfolio of programmes, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and we work with industry to apply for Innovate UK funding.So, whether it is through one of our award-winning and sector-leading Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) or other collaborative research projects, we can work together to create opportunities and overcome problems.

Our Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering is a key gateway to our University’s expertise. It helps manufacturing and engineering companies in the Midlands to innovate and grow.

Students can study at the buzzing, contemporary campus of Derby, the grand 18th-century Dome in Buxton, or the beautifully restored building in Chesterfield: wherever you are, it’s hard not to feel motivated.We’ve invested heavily in first-class facilities so all our campuses at the University of Derby contain the latest equipment and technology. The result is courses with valuable hands-on experience, which give students a taste of life beyond university.

Many of our  research teams and individual researchers reach out to industry. They work with SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and other public-sector industries including the NHS. Besides supporting the growth and development of our local communities and economies, we are also actively seeking to expand our international partnerships as part of our International Strategy.

One of the key benefits of research is the creation of knowledge and expertise that can deliver positive impacts for many communities: students, academics, industry, governments, political parties, charities, not-for-profits and the general public. In order for this knowledge to be shared widely, we want as many of these groups as possible to become involved in research at our University and there are many ways to do so.

National Partnerships:

    Furthest from the Sea
    Berwick Film Festival
    Vickers Fine Art Award

Derby Theatre 


Main Focus

Main focus in education is BA, MA, PGR. 

We are also: 

#1for formally welcoming international students**UK ISB Benchmark Group 2018

Top10 in the world for international student learning experience**Global ISB Benchmark Group 2018

#1International Student Centre**UK ISB Benchmark Group 2018

Faculties and Departments

University of Derby

In the heart of England – the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution – we are proud to be building on our region’s heritage of innovation with industry-relevant expert teaching and world-leading research. 

We offer further and higher education in a wide choice of subject areas at our campuses in Derby, Buxton, Chesterfield and Leek. Rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework 2017 and a Top 30 UK University in the Guardian University Guide 2019, our academic strength is backed up by practical experience to ensure our students are ready for a successful career, wherever their talents lie. With more than £200 million invested in the last ten years, we offer some of the best university facilities in the UK. These include our STEM Centre, Forensic Training Facility and NHS-standard hospital ward.  

As Derbyshire’s only university we use our academic expertise, research and innovation to foster talent and promote links with businesses regionally, nationally and globally. In addition to traditional degree routes, our apprenticeships, continuing professional development, knowledge transfer and sector-leading online courses create opportunities for individuals, employers and communities to develop and flourish. 


The School of Arts 
The School of Arts offers students state-of-the-art facilities which include Derby Theatre, Déda dance house, radio suite, tv production and music recording studios. We encourage students to collaborate with each other on projects, sometimes working with students from different courses, to give a professional real-world experience as well as sharing facilities and combining resources. There are almost 1,300 undergraduate and postgraduate students studying on over 30 courses in the School of Arts and this mixing of diverse minds encourages ideas exchange and original thinking.

Our multi-million pound arts facilities includes a newsroom and multi-media suitesfashion and textiles studiosphotography labsmusic studios and print bureau. For students interested in Performing Arts and Theatre ours students have an immersive learning experience at Déda Dance Studio and Derby Theatre.

Markeaton Street
A place of innovation and creativity, the £21m Markeaton Street site was created specifically for arts, design, technology and engineering courses with purpose-built studios and specialist facilities for art, design, media and performing arts students.  Markeaton Street site is in a quiet residential area, situated approximately 15 mins walk from both Derby campus the city centre. Our specialist Chandos Pole Street and STEM Centre buildings are also located here.

Facilities include:

Fashion and Textiles students are based at Chandos Pole Street while Fine Art students are based at nearby Britannia Mill. Dance students get to work at Déda in Chapel Street and our Theatre students are based at Derby Theatre in intu Derby.

As well as the arts facilities based at Markeaton Street, there are also specialist arts facilities located at other sites nearby.  The building is focused around the ‘Street’, a wide walkway, which also becomes a meeting point and space for events and visiting exhibitions, like the UK Young Artists exhibition, FORMAT international photography festival, the Association of Illustrators exhibition and the recent exhibition of ceramic pottery by the late Derbyshire born studio potter Dr Emmanuel Cooper OBE. There is a café and a SU shop and a regular hopper bus running between University sites and the city centre.

Digital Design Hub

The Digital Design Hub contains a wealth of industry standard equipment that can be booked and used by students to use for their work. The equipment is especially useful for students from IllustrationFashionTextile DesignFine ArtProduct DesignInterior DesignGraphic Design and Photography.

Equipment includes: embroidery machine and laser, laser cutting and etching, vinyl printing and book binding.


Print Bureau

High-quality digital printing is available at the University of Derby's Print Bureau at Markeaton Street. Services include: print mounting, portfolio printing, poster printing, cd and dvd printing and duplication and banner printing. 


Chandos Pole Street


The Chandos Pole Street building contains new specialist facilities for Fashion and Textiles. These include light and airy studio spaces as well industry-standard equipment, design facilities and access to a purpose-built studio for 3D fashion product development. An extensive range of specialist equipment is available for students, which includes:

  • Cutting tables
  • A variety of industrial sewing machines
  • Binding, buttonhole and press-stud/eyelet machines
  • Industrial steaming tables/irons
  • A heat transfer press
  • Hat making equipment

Industry-standard computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) programs as well as the digital equipment at our Britannia Mill site can be used for our three specialist textiles areas: knit, print and weave. We also have a new dye lab.

Our Chandos Pole Street building opened in September 2016 and covers 1,100 square metres of space. As well as open plan studios and industrial textiles (weave and knit) spaces, Chandos Pole Street also has tutorial and breakout areas and technical and academic staff offices.



Bachelor Level Programs

Graphic Design BA (Hons)

Graphic Design MDes

Illustration BA (Hons)

Illustration Mdes

Fashion BA (Hons)

Fashion and Fashion Marketing BA (Hons)

Textile Design BA (Hons)

Interior Design BA (Hons)

Product Design BA (Hons)

Fine Art BA (Hons)

Photography (Professional & Applied) BA (Hons)

Photography BA (Hons)

Photography (Joint Honours)

Animation BA (Hons) 

Animation Mdes

CGI & VFX BA (Hons)

Film Production BA (Hons)

Media Production BA (Hons)

Television Production (JHS) 

Media & Communications 

Music Production BSc (Hons)

Popular Music BA (Hons)

Popular Music Production (JHS)

Theatre Arts BA (Hons)

Technical Theatre BA (Hons)

Theatre Studies (JHS)

Dance BA (Hons)

Costume and Set Design BA (Hons)


Master Level Programs


MA Visual Communication 

MA Fashion & Textiles

MA Fine Art & Photography 

MA Writing for Performance

MA Dance and Choreography 

MA Applied Theatre and Education

Research Activity and Main Areas

At the University of Derby, we nurture and encourage research excellence across all our disciplines and all career stages. Our researchers are generating distinctive, world-leading and impactful research.

We recognise the strong link between excellent research and an excellent student experience. Our aim at the University of Derby is to produce research that is high impact, high profile and beneficial. We are investing in our students, our staff and our research infrastructure to help us achieve this.

We have a vibrant research environment with over 330 doctoral students and support those in the early stages of their career via our early-career researcher forum. 

We also have nearly 200 research-active staff across the University, with over 700 research outputs recorded on UDORA, our comprehensive, open access repository. 

The Digital and Material Artistic Research Centre (DMARC) is the academic research centre for our School of Arts. Our focus for DMARC is to increase understanding of the shifting boundaries and new relationships within artistic research practice and theory.

Doctorate Level Programs

This is the University of Derby. A university relevant today and focused on tomorrow. Recognised for teaching excellence and strength in applied research. An ambitious university of respected professors, active practitioners and leading professionals.

Wherever you come from, wherever you’re heading, we’ve got the facilities, know-how and commitment to take you there.

Doctoral level programmes are currently dealt with directly between an individual professor, with consultation by Clare Brindey as an interim as she is Dean of Research. Clare Brindley <[email protected]>

There are 3 routes offered: This traditional MPhil or PhD route involves the undertaking of independent research under academic supervision that leads to the production of one or the other of:

  • A written thesis focused on a chosen field of enquiry
  • A written thesis focused on a chosen field of enquiry accompanied by creative work(s) where this forms part of the evidence for new understanding
  • Creative work(s) accompanied by a written critical review which contextualises the work and the new understanding which stems from the work

The MPhil is studied over three years full time or five years part-time. The PhD is studied over four years full time or eight years part time.


Route 2: This part-time route is available for University of Derby staff only.

If you are a member of University staff, you can pursue your training in research through the production, publication and collation, during your period of registration, of research-informed publications or creative work accompanied by a critical appraisal, of total overall volume at least similar to that required in a traditional MPhil or PhD.

The MPhil by concurrent publication is studied over three years. The PhD by concurrent publication is studied over eight years.


Route 3:

This route is designed to provide doctoral recognition for your previous research achievements. These would be contained in a body of largely already published or creative works accompanied by a critical appraisal, of total overall volume at least similar to that required in a traditional MPhil or PhD.

Under academic supervision, you will collate and prepare for examination your body of work, which will not have been submitted previously for similar examination elsewhere. Your body of work will be a series of research-informed published or creative works accompanied by a critical appraisal that contextualises and reflects upon them. This will identify your specific, individual and substantive contribution, and assess the contribution made by each work and the collective whole to understanding in the field of enquiry.

The MPhil or PhD by published works is studied over two years full time or three years part time.

Subject Areas for Exchange Students

We offer a wide range of subjects – please see 


We're also a much-loved second home to more than 1,700 international students from 100 countries studying at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

#1for formally welcoming international students**UK ISB Benchmark Group 2018

Top10 in the world for international student learning experience**Global ISB Benchmark Group 2018

#1International Student Centre**UK ISB Benchmark Group 2018


Bachelor: 12,610
Master: 3,895
Doctorate: 275

Exchange Students

Incoming: 1700
Outgoing: 1000
Others: 1500

Teaching Staff

Professors: 50
Lectures: 705
Other permanent teachers: 607
Part-time Teachers: 700

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