University of Derby

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University of Derby
University of Derby logo.svg
Former names
Derby College, Derby College of Art and Technology, Derbyshire College of Higher Education
MottoLatin: Experientia docet
Motto in English
Experience is the best teacher
Established1992 – gained University Status
1851 – Teacher Training College
ChancellorWilliam Cavendish, Earl of Burlington
Vice-ChancellorProfessor Kathryn Mitchell[1]
Chairman of CouncilChris Hughes
Students17,585 HE (2016/17)[2]
Undergraduates14,180 (2016/17)[2]
Postgraduates3,400 (2016/17)[2]
Other students
4,650 FE[3]
England, UK

52°56′20″N 1°29′47″W / 52.938824°N 1.49648°W / 52.938824; -1.49648Coordinates: 52°56′20″N 1°29′47″W / 52.938824°N 1.49648°W / 52.938824; -1.49648

The University of Derby (formerly Derby College of Art and Technology or simply Derby College) is a public university in the city of Derby, England. It traces its history back to the establishment of the Derby Diocesan Institution for the Training of Schoolmistresses in 1851 and gained university status in 1992 as one of the new universities.

The university provides over 300 study programmes at undergraduate level. Undergraduate programmes as well as short courses, foundation degrees and postgraduate degrees cover most academic disciplines and subdisciplines.

Currently the university is home to around 34,000 students in all areas of study.


Early years[edit]

Over the years, two dozen bodies have contributed to the university's formation. The first of these was founded in 1856 as the Derby Diocesan Institution for the Training of Schoolmistresses. Albeit under different names so to reflect maturing objectives, the institution flourished as an individual entity for some 120 years before merging with another developing educational artery to help form what was then known as the Derby Lonsdale College of Higher Education, 1977.

The other line of this confluence began in 1853 with the establishment of the Derby School of Art, which in 1870 became the Derby Central School of Art and the Derby Central School of Science. In 1885, the two schools were reformulated into the Derby School of Art and Technical Institution. Less than a decade later however, 1892, three more mergers took place and the institution became the Derby Municipal Technical College.

Kedleston Road[edit]

In 1928, the Technical College split into the Derby School of Art and the Derby Technical College. By 1955, the two had become the Derby and District College of Art (opened on 22 September 1966 by Paul Reilly, Director of the Council of Industrial Design), and the Derby and District College of Technology (opened by the Duke of Edinburgh on 15 May 1964), both situated on Kedleston Road, Allestree. The site was formerly Markeaton Golf Course and cost £2.5m, with a foundation stone placed on 5 July 1957 by Lord (Ernest) Hives, a former managing director of Rolls Royce. Opened by the duke the day before, the 35-acre (14 ha) Bishop Lonsdale College in Mickleover was developed for teacher training courses.

At the opening ceremony, the duke said "qualities needed by teachers are the dedication of a saint, the patience of a watchmaker, the sympathy of parents and the leadership of a general". The duke spent two days in Derby, staying the night nearby at Okeover Hall near Ashbourne as a guest of the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire. Half of the places at Mickleover were reserved for C of E trainees and the other half for those with no link to Derby Diocese.

The operational split between the two colleges at Kedleston Road was dissolved in 1972 with a mutual initiative for the creation of the Derby College of Art and Technology. Five years afterwards, and as previously noted, the described educational lineage married itself with Derby's diocesan tradition, which had become known institutionally as the Bishop Lonsdale College of Education at Mickleover. There were about 800 students at Mickleover and 1,200 at Kedleston Road.

Merger with Mickleover Education College[edit]

After the 1977 union and subsequent formation of the Derby Lonsdale College of Higher Education, four other educational institutions would add their respective sector-related talents. In March 1981, the college held its first graduation ceremony with formal academic caps and gowns with only six degrees (out of 156 courses) being ratified by the CNAA. Previous to this, the college's degrees were awarded in a ceremony at the University of Nottingham.

The Matlock College of Education, a traditional Church of England teacher training college formed in 1946 at Rockside Hall (now a country hotel), combined with Lonsdale in 1983 to create the Derbyshire College of Higher Education, when the Matlock College was having financial difficulties when funding for teacher training was scaled down when school numbers had dropped. In 1985, this college at Matlock was scaled down significantly and closed in 1986. In 1991 the Southern Derbyshire School of Occupational Therapy united with the college. The Southern Derbyshire School of Radiography did the same in 1992.

Transformation to university[edit]

In 1992 the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 allowed the Derbyshire College of Higher Education to become the only school of higher education in the country to be upgraded directly to a university.[4] On 31 October 1992, the T block (science subjects, which lies to the north of the North Tower) was opened by Princess Alice, then the Chancellor of the University.

In January 1994, Britannia Mill[5] (a renovated mill) opened, at a cost of £10m. On 4 March 1994, the B block (business and management subjects, which lies north of the East Tower) was opened by the Conservative MP, Tim Boswell.

Later in autumn 1994, the Atrium was built. In November 1997, the Learning Centre (now renamed ‘University Library’) was officially opened, having been built on a former car park. The University of Derby was fully invested, and in 1998 welcomed a synthesis of efforts with the High Peak College of Further Education, Buxton on Harpur Hill – a synthesis to eventually be amalgamated as the Devonshire Campus[6] of the University of Derby Buxton, Derby's second campus, based at the Devonshire Dome.

In October 2008, Peregrine Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire was appointed as the third Chancellor of the University.

In August 2012 the university merged with Leek College. The merger has created Buxton & Leek College, a further education college operated by The University of Derby which is based in Leek in Staffordshire and the university campus in Buxton.

New Chesterfield campus[edit]

The former St Helena's Grammar School was bought by the University of Derby in 2014 and converted into the university's new campus in the town, replacing existing premises in the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce building. The new campus opened in October 2016,[7][8][9] housing the University’s nationally recognised Adult Nursing degrees and Mentoring in Practice modules. These courses are accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

These courses will continue the University's training work in collaboration with Chesterfield Royal Hospital, and the new campus will feature a mock ward with “sim” or simulated patients to provide real-world experience for undergraduates.

Locations and facilities[edit]

The Devonshire Dome in Buxton
Inside the Devonshire Dome

The university's main campus is sited on Kedleston Road, Allestree, in the north-west of Derby, close to the A38 and opposite Markeaton Park. It also has a campus in Buxton, Derbyshire, known as the Devonshire Campus, located within the grade II* listed Devonshire Dome building which dominates the local landscape, and has a dome which is over 145 ft (44 m) in diameter, bigger than that of St Paul's Cathedral in London. It was formally opened as a University Campus by Prince Charles in February 2006[10]. A contemporary-styled building for Arts, Design and Technology students on Markeaton Street in Derby was formally opened in early November 2007 by Richard Branson[11]. Courses are also run at the Britannia Mill site in Derby[12] and at the St Helena’s Campus in Chesterfield, which was opened in October 2016[13]. A campus also exists in Leek which is part of Buxton & Leek College (which is part of the University of Derby Group)[14] This campus mainly runs Further Education courses, but also runs some degree programmes validated by the University of Derby.

The university offers a variety of resources and facilities to its students, including computing laboratories, an internationally award winning spa at the Buxton Campus[15][16], wo computer games development suites, a lifelike hospital teaching environment, ‘clinical skills suite’, at the Chesterfield Campus[17], a library service with five libraries across the campuses[18], a fine dining restaurant run by Culinary and Hospitality students at the Buxton Campus[19], a university bus system, conference and/or colloquium settings, multi-functional lecture theatres, art and culture venues, concert venues, recording studios, sport centres, sport halls, fitness suites, outdoor pitches, student union bars and cafes, meditation/prayer rooms, natural/park environments, and frequent exhibitions by local, national and international organisations, businesses and product vendors.

University of Derby Buxton[edit]

This campus is located in the Grade II* listed 18th century former stable block, the Devonshire Dome. In 1854, the 6th Duke of Devonshire donated the land, part of his stables and some of the funds for conversion to a hospital and gardens for charity patients seeking treatment at the baths in Buxton. His architect, Henry Currey, directed the work. The ironwork dome (1881, once the world's largest, with a diameter of 44.2 metres (145 ft)), a clocktower (1882) and a surgical ward (1897) were built as expansions to the hospital, which was run by the NHS after 1948. The University of Derby purchased the then-derelict hospital from the NHS in 2001, and moved operations here from the Harpur Hill campus in 2005.[20]

The campus is also the location of Buxton & Leek College, created in August 2012 when the university merged with Leek College. Buxton & Leek College primarily offers further education courses, and has a second campus in Leek, Staffordshire.


College of Arts, Humanities and Education[edit]

School of Arts[edit]

Film and video, fine art, photography, graphic design, fashion studies, and textile design were initially based at Kedleston Road before moving to the Britannia Mill site. They are now at the Markeaton site. The new site opened in 2007 and comprises new studio and teaching facilities including two performance auditoria, a TV studio, extensive computing suites and an Apple Mac training centre. Subjects available within the school include MPhil and PhD specialities.

Entrepreneurial students have the opportunity to establish themselves through the university's Banks Mill Studios, a building of 38 workspace studios that houses a community of artists, designers and makers that receive subsidised rent, business support, one-to-one mentoring, signposting and a workshop programme.[21]

Department of Humanities[edit]

The School of Humanities provides courses in English, American Studies, general humanities, Film and Television Studies, History, Theatre, Creative Writing, Media Studies and Media Production. A full choice of subjects up to research opportunities including (MA incorporating PG Cert/PG Dip) and specialist MPhil and PhD are available.

The school has working relationships with US colleges and universities, the publishing industry and practising writers, cultural institutions such as Derby Museum and Art Gallery, media institutions such as BBC Radio Derby and the Derby Telegraph, heritage sites such as Kedleston Hall, Haddon Hall, Chatsworth and the Derwent Valley Heritage Corridor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 2009, the university bought the lease to Derby Playhouse and renamed it as Derby Theatre. The Theatre Arts degree programme is accommodated in the theatre.

Institute of Education[edit]

The Institute of Education provides for the study of FdA, FdSc, BEd, PGCE, MA, Ed.D, and PhD courses.

The university's BEd (Hons) course is a 3/4-year course, consisting of school placements in mainstream schools and special schools and lectures and workshops on the main university campus. In addition, the school offers several other foundation, undergraduate, professional and postgraduate options up to the doctoral level including: (MA incorporating PG Cert/PG Dip in Guidance Studies), Graduate Teacher Programme, Online (MA), MA Education (incorporating PG Cert and PG Dip), Education (EdD), MPhil and PhD specialities.

College of Engineering and Technology[edit]

Department of Electronics, Computing and Mathematics[edit]

The school supervises undergraduate through doctoral studies in areas that include BSc degrees in computer forensics, security, computer games, networks, the Internet, information technology, software development, computer programming and mathematics, and master's degrees and pre-masters courses in advanced computer systems, enterprise computing, computer forensics and security. Short courses in a variety of practical computing subjects are also available. Derby is CISCO accredited and CISCO (CCNA) is a small part of the BSc (Hons) Computer Networks and Security course. The school has industry standard game labs and recently had three teams in the final eight of the UK stage of the Imagine Cup.[22] The school has research specialities in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Network Security, Software Engineering and strategic information systems.

Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Built Environment[edit]

Markeaton Street, Inner Lawn Detail

Courses in architectural conservation, construction management, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, electrical engineering, electronics, motorsport technology, music technology, popular music, live event technology and product design are taught at the School of Technology. Previously housed at Kedleston Road, the school has now moved, along with the School of Humanities and the School of Art and Design, to the new £21 million Markeaton site, an eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable site with workshops, auditoria, studios, a student shop, a café, an Apple centre and a print bureau.[23][24]

College of Business, Law and Social Sciences[edit]

Derby Business School[edit]

The Derby Business School offers academic programmes at undergraduate, postgraduate level. Subjects covered include leadership, organisational studies, change management, supply chain, logistics, international business, marketing, and accounting and finance. Specific areas therein are available for study at the foundational up to the doctoral level. The school also offers executive education through leadership development and other professional course offerings.

The school has affiliations with The Association of Business Schools, the European Foundation for Management Development, The Chartered Institute of Marketing, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply, Institute of Leadership and Management, and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.

In January 2014, the Derby Business School launched the first of its professional doctorates, a Doctorate in Professional Practice, a part-time doctoral programme for working professionals; students graduating successfully will be awarded the title of Doctor. A Doctorate in Business Administration will also be delivered in 2014.

The Derby Business School hosts three Centres of Excellence, the Centre for Supply Chain and Improvement, Centre for Enterprise, and Centre for Leadership Development.

Derby Management School[edit]

Derby Law School[edit]

The Law School provides study options in general law, business law, international law, social and public law, commercial law, arts and media law and legal studies. There is also the opportunity to pursue the MPhil or PhD degree.

The National Student Survey recently rated Derby's law course number one in four categories including overall.[25] In the 2008 Guardian Law league table, Derby was joint first in teaching and value added.[26]

Notable research holdings include the private papers of Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice and the travaux preparatoires of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi.[27][28] The school provides considerable support for pro bono legal work in the community.[29]

Department of Criminology and Social Sciences[edit]

The Department offers courses in subject areas including Criminology, policing, international relations and sociology.

Its work in criminology has a similar to the Law School in that it encourages justice and diversity in the Criminal Justice System.

International Policing and Justice Institute[edit]

The International Policing and Justice Institute is part of the College, however, draws upon experience and knowledge of other departments to help provide policing and investigative courses and research.

College of Health and Social Care[edit]

School of Allied Health and Social Care[edit]

This branch of the Faculty of Education, Health & Sciences administers the subjects of Applied Social and Community Studies, Applied Mental Health Studies, Occupational Therapy, Creative Arts Therapy and Complementary Medicines. The range of courses offer the chance to study from the foundation to the doctoral award.

The school is active locally, regionally and nationally in areas such as youth justice, asylum and immigration, community development, social inclusion, child protection, crime and policing, alcohol and drug use, bullying and bereavement studies. The school also operates a complementary therapies clinic which offers, among other things, shiatsu, reflexology, aromatherapy massage and Swedish massage.[30]

School of Nursing and Professional Practice[edit]

Ranging from foundation degrees to doctorate degrees, the School of Health houses many prospects for study; pharmacy, nursing, clinical skills and radiography. The school runs a clinical suite which has radiographic imaging equipment, bone density measuring equipment, six bed training ward, counselling rooms, a clinical treatment room with 20 bays, a video linked anatomical modelling laboratory, a computerised mannequin for simulating complex medical and emergency conditions and a primary care centre which includes GP consulting rooms. In April 2008 the school won the Partnership with the NHS award.[31]

College of Life and Natural Sciences[edit]

School of Human Sciences[edit]

Covers areas such as sport science, outdoor leadership and psychology.

School of Environmental Sciences[edit]

Fieldwork is integral to courses and there are opportunities to do fieldwork locally via the Peak District, Derby, Nottingham and the rural areas around them, or overseas via Western Europe, Africa and Asia.

Recent awards students have earned include; The Human Kinetic Award, the Top Biosciences Student Award, the Best Forensic Project Student Award, the Best Forensic Chemist Student Award, the Usherwood Award and the Achievement in Biosciences Prize from Oxford University Press.[32]

Britannia Mill, Mackworth Road

Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism[edit]

The Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism supports courses in culinary arts, tourism, service sector management, spa management, events management, hairdressing and salon management, hospitality management, hotel management, recreation, sports coaching, sports psychology, sports therapy and martial arts.

The school runs a fine dining restaurant called the Dome and has practice and competition kitchens with plasma screens throughout for the demonstration of culinary techniques.[33]

The school offers the only honours course in international spa management within the United Kingdom and has recently opened their newly refurbished spa facilities at the Devonshire campus to support the curriculum. Students also have opportunities to visit spas in Eastern Europe and Malta as part of the programme. On select courses, students can study up to the doctoral level.[34]

Academic profile[edit]

The University of Derby was awarded Gold status in the TEF ratings ( which acknowledged its teaching excellence.

Global rankings
THE (2019)[35]801–1000
National rankings
Complete (2019)[36]89
Guardian (2019)[37]29
Times / Sunday Times (2019)[38]81
British Government assessment
Teaching Excellence Framework[39]Gold

Student life[edit]

The Atrium, Kedleston Road

The Atrium, built in 1994, is a large concourse at the Kedleston Road site, which includes a branch of Blackwell's (formerly Waterstone's and Dillons) bookshop, the student union shop (Keddies), private accommodation office, Student Employment Agency office, Montagues hairdressers,[40] Natwest and Lloyds TSB cash machines.

The atrium is used regularly for university, student union and private events. These include the university's annual carol service, freshers' fairs, student radio broadcasts and sports events. Previously, the atrium has been the main venue of students' union balls, playing host to acts including Pendulum[41] Goldie Lookin Chain,[42] Zane Lowe and The Sugababes.[43] On numerous occasions it has been seen on BBC One's Bargain Hunt as a regular host of Jaguar Antiques Fair.[44]

It also includes a range of catering facilities provided by Chartwells. Five minutes' walk away (via the pedestrian entrance near the Clinical Skills Suite)[45] is the Park Farm shopping area of Allestree which features a range of retail outlets. They are linked to the university by a bus-service (UniBus)[46] which runs throughout the day and evening, starting at Derby railway station.

The Union of Students also provides social space and catering facilities for students within its 'Union Quarter'. The Union Quarter includes licensed bar and live entertainment venue, The Academy, Blends coffee house as well as an additional cash point and the university's only gender neutral toilets.[47]


The residences for Derby students are based in the "student quarter" between the Kedleston Road, Markeaton Street and Britannia Mill sites and the centre of Derby.[48] They are:

  • Agard Court on Agard Street
  • Sir Peter Hilton Court on Agard Street
  • Nunnery Court on Nuns Street
  • Princess Alice Court on Bridge Street
  • Cathedral Court on Cathedral Road
  • St Christopher's Court on Ashbourne Road
  • Peak Court, with entrances on Lodge Lane and Bridge Street
  • Flamsteed Court on Kedleston Old Road

Buxton students have one hall of residence, High Peak Halls.

It formerly owned halls of residence on Lonsdale Place, and Peet Street. The latter was controversially sold to G4S, becoming an asylum seeker reception centre.[49]

Students' Union[edit]

The Union of Students (students' union) is the representative organisation for students at the university, and is based at the "Students' Union Quarter" at the Kedleston Road site.[50]

Notable alumni[edit]


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External links[edit]