University of Derby

For the further education centre established in 2000, see Derby College.
University of Derby
Former names
Derby College, Derby College of Art and Technology, Derbyshire College of Higher Education
Motto Latin: Experientia docet
Motto in English
Experience is the best teacher
Type Public
Established 1992 – gained University Status
1851 – Teacher Training College
Chancellor Peregrine Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire
Vice-Chancellor Professor Kathryn Mitchell[1]
Chairman of Council Chris Hughes
Students 15,935 HE (2014/15)[2]
Undergraduates 13,155 (2014/15)[2]
Postgraduates 2,780 (2014/15)[2]
Other students
4,650 FE[3]
Location Derby, 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
Campus Urban
Colours Burgundy & sky blue

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.


University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Early years

Over the years, two dozen bodies have contributed to the university's formation. The first of these was founded in 1851 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

Former Derby Art College on Green Lane, Derby

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

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

University of Derby's Britannia Mill

In 1992 the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 allowed the Derbyshire College of Higher Education became 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 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.

University of Derby’s Chancellor, Duke of Devonshire Peregrine Cavendish

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

St Helena's building at the new Chesterfield Campus

The former St Helena's Grammar School was bought by the University of Derby in 2014. Work is currently ongoing to convert the school into the University’s new campus in the town, replacing existing premises in the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce building.

The new campus is due to open in autumn 2016,[7][8] and will house 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

The Devonshire Dome in Buxton
Inside the Devonshire Dome

The main site is on Kedleston Road, Allestree in the north-west of Derby close to the A38 opposite Markeaton Park. The university also has a campus in Buxton, Derbyshire, known as the Devonshire Campus, a grade II* listed 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 by Prince Charles in February 2006. 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. Courses are also run at the Britannia Mill site in Derby and the Chesterfield Centre for Health Education.

The university offers a variety of resources and facilities to its students, including computing laboratories, a spa (Buxton), two computer games development suites, a lifelike hospital teaching environment with robot patients, a well-stocked Learning Resource Centre (opened in 1997) at the Kedleston Road site, a restaurant run by culinary students, 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

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.[9]

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.


Please note this structure is out of date, faculties are no longer used and the new colleges are grouped differently.

Faculty of Business, Computing and Law

School of Computing and Mathematics

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.[10] The school has research specialities in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Network Security, Software Engineering and strategic information systems.

School of Law and Criminology

The School of Law and Criminology provides study options in criminology, 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.[11] In the 2008 Guardian Law league table, Derby was joint first in teaching and value added.[12]

Notable research holdings include the private papers of Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice and the travaux preparatoires of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi.[13][14] The school provides considerable support for pro bono legal work in the community.[15] Its work in criminology has a similar feel in that it encourages justice and diversity in the Criminal Justice System.

The Derby Business School

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.

Faculty of Arts, Design and Technology

Derby Theatre Auditorium
Derby Theatre entrance

School of Humanities

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 Evening 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.

School of Art and Design

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 for business in September 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.[16]

School of Technology

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.[17][18]

Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences

School of Education

The School 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.

School of Health

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.[19]

School of Science

The School of Science covers biology, chemistry, ecology, forensic science, psychology, geology and geography. These subject options entail short courses up to doctoral work.

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.[20]

Britannia Mill, Mackworth Road

School of Social Care and Therapeutic Practice

This branch of the Faculty of Education, Health & Sciences administers the subjects of Applied Social and Community Studies, Applied Mental Health Studies, Occupational Therapy, Therapeutic Arts 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.[21]

School of Culture and Lifestyle

The School of Culture and Lifestyle supports courses in outdoor activities management, countryside management, 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.[22]

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.[23]

Academic profile

(2017, national)
The Guardian[25]
(2017, national)
Times/Sunday Times[26]
(2017, national)

Student life

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,[27] 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[28] Goldie Lookin Chain,[29] Zane Lowe and The Sugababes.[30] On numerous occasions it has been seen on the BBC's Bargain Hunt as a regular host of Jaguar Antiques Fair.[31]

It also includes a range of catering facilities provided by Chartwells. Five minutes' walk away (via the pedestrian entrance near the Clinical Skills Suite)[32] is the Park Farm shopping area of Allestree with more reasonable prices. They are linked to the university by a bus-service (UniBus)[33] which runs throughout the day and evening, starting at Derby Midland railway station.

The University of Derby Students' Union 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.[34]


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 town.[35] They are:

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

Students' Union

The University of Derby students' union (UDSU) is the representative organisation for students at the university, and is based at the "Students' Union Quarter" at the Kedleston Road site.[36]

Notable alumni


  1. Ashworth, Pat (2015-11-13). "Kathryn Mitchell - the University of Derby's new Vice-Chancellor". Derbyshire Life and Countryside. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  2. 1 2 3 "2014/15 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (XLSX). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  3. "Table 0a – All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2009/10" (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  5. Britannia Mill,, 2008
  6. Devonshire Campus,, 2008
  7. Chesterfield Campus,, 2016
  8. St Helena's Campus - University of Derby,, 2016
  9. University of Derby (Buxton) pamphlet, available at the university.
  11. University of Derby, NSS 2007. Retrieved on 5 November 2007.
  12. University Guide 2008, Guardian Unlimited, University Guide 2008: Law. Retrieved on 5 November 2007.
  24. "University League Table 2017". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  25. "University league tables 2017". The Guardian. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  26. "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2017". Times Newspapers. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  27. "Montague Creative".
  28. Ben Martin. "MayBall 06". Archived from the original on 15 August 2006.
  29. "Main: Bloc Stage". Archived from the original on 7 April 2005.
  30. "MayBall08: Acts". Archived from the original on 30 April 2008.
  33. "Travelling to Derby by bus".
  35. "Our halls".
  36. "UDSU Online: Your Union". University of Derby Students' Union. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2008.
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