BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Therapies

Why choose this course?

  • The course has been accredited by the National Council of Psychotherapists (NCP).‌ ‌This accreditation reflects the quality of the course and the excellent employability of our graduates. As a student on this course you will be able to join the NCP as a student member free of charge.
  • In the 2014 National Student Survey, 92% of our students said that they were satisfied with the quality of the course overall.
  • You can choose to specialis‌e in art, dance, drama or music allowing you to personalise this course to your own interests and career aspirations.
  • You'll gain a thorough grounding to go on to study for a masters degree such as our MA Art Therapy, MA Dramatherapy or MA Dance Movement Psychotherapy.
  • This course will open up fantastic opportunities to develop your personal and professional skills, so you can be sure you'll be ready for your first job when you graduate.
  • You can study this course full time or part time to give you the flexibility to study at a time and place to suit you.
  •  In 2011 students voted the course leader University Lecturer of the Year. Our teaching team are focused on helping you to develop the personal and professional skills to prepare you for a career using creativity to support wellbeing.

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Fact file

UCAS code: W191 Art pathway, W590 Dance, W490 Drama, W391 Music

Start date: September

Course length: full time: three years, part time: up to six years.

Campus: Markeaton Street, Britannia Mill, Derby Dance Centre and Kedleston Road, Derby

College: College of Health and Social Care

About this course

The arts can have a huge impact on people’s lives and can be used in a positive and therapeutic way. If you love dance, drama, music or art and think it's played an important part in your own development, and you want to develop your skills so that you can work creatively with others, then this course is for you.

During this course you'll be able to specialise in art, drama, dance or music, so that you can develop your artistic ability. These sessions involve studio, performance and exhibition work. You'll also learn about the potential of creativity and the arts to promote well being and their therapeutic application in various settings such as the community, voluntary, health, education and the corporate sector.

The course involves lots of group work where you can have the chance to reflect on your own personal development, awareness and communication skills. As part of this course, we'll give you a deep insight into leadership, coaching and group processes which will help you in your future career. You'll also study different therapeutic principles and the meaning of health and illness in the context of historical and cultural values.

We've designed fantastic specialist facilities to give you the best experience. There are dedicated art, dance and music studios and we have a new learning theatre based in the city centre if you choose the drama pathway. We've also got strong links with déda - the Derby dance centre.

You'll be assessed in many ways to help develop and vary your skills. These range from essays, reflective journals/diaries, performances, exhibitions, videos and production projects. You'll also get real opportunities to put your skills into practice during your work placements or through community projects.

Throughout the course you'll develop skills which are transferable. Our flexible and creative approach enables you to adapt to varied and changing circumstances. You'll also be studying therapeutic principles and the meaning of health and illness in the context of historical and cultural values.

Every year we hold a degree show to celebrate the work created by our final year students.

We are pleased to announce that our BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Therapies course has been accredited by the National Council of Psychotherapists (NCP). This accreditation reflects the quality of the course and the excellent employability of our graduates. As a student on this course youwill be able to join the NCP as a student member free of charge. Although this does not grant you the license to practice as a psychotherapist, it means that upon successful graduation, you will have the opportunity to apply for full membership with the requirement that you commit to further professional development.

What you will cover

Stage one

You'll study these modules:

And you'll choose one specialist pathway module from the following:

Stage two

You'll study these modules:

And you'll choose two modules from your chosen specialist pathway:

Stage three

You'll study these modules:

And you'll choose one module from your chosen specialist pathway:

Entry requirements

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is required at the point of accepting a place at the University. The Disclosure and Barring Service was established when the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged in 2012 and will now provide the criminal records checking service for this programme.

Our entry requirements are usually 240 UCAS points, of which at least 200 will be from your core A2s (full A levels) or equivalent qualifications such as BTEC Diploma, International Baccalaureate, Scottish Highers etc.

We'll accept up to 40 points towards the total from level 3 qualifications such as AS levels (where those AS levels are not taken on to A2 level), the Extended Project or Music qualifications.

We don't accept points from Key Skills Level 3. If you have any questions about what is or isn't accepted, please contact our Admissions team.

We also accept the Access to HE Diploma.

Your points at level 3 will be in addition to 5 GCSEs at grade C or equivalent level 2 qualifications.

The UCAS tariff points are a guide - we'll also consider all the information that you've included in your application. We'll also want to see that you're enthusiastic and motivated to take this course and that you have the potential to benefit from coming to university.

General undergraduate entry requirements

How to apply

UK/EU students

International students

Information for international applicants

Applying for an undergraduate degree

Fees and finance

2015/16 Fees

This is a resource intensive course.

UK/EU students

  • Full time: £9,000 (each year)
  • £1,125 per module (you usually take 18 of these modules in total)

International students

We are in the process of finalising our international fees for 2015/16. In 2014/15 the fee for this course was £10,725 per year (full time).

These fees apply if you're starting this course between September 2015 and August 2016. We recommend you check fee details with us though, as they can change. Costs can increase each year.

How you will learn

Group work will enable you to reflect on your own personal development, awareness and communication skills. You will gain a deep insight into leadership, coaching and group processes. You will study different therapeutic principles and the meaning of health and illness in the context of historical and cultural values. Our dedicated art, dance and music studios and a learning theatre provide all the facilities you need to excel.

Due to the nature of the programme, a lot of the learning is by taking part and 'doing' (experiential learning) and requires an average of 14 hours attendance every week at Stage 1 falling to an average of 10 hours per week at Stage 3. We use a variety of creative teaching and learning methods and there is a good balance of theory and practice. Some modules are delivered in smaller groups which are complemented by larger lectures.

How you're assessed

Assignments range from reflective essays, video projects, exhibition and performance through to journal article reviews. Everyone completes an Independent Study at Stage 3, which is 6,000 - 8,000 words. 


All students participate in an Environmental Sculpture project and there are trips to various exhibitions, galleries, festivals and performances, some of which are abroad. As part of this course you'll also visit a 'big wood' on the outskirts of Derby and investigate sculptures made from materials out of the wood.

Work placements

Placement, a key part of your learning experience, will develop your skills and help you decide on the right career path for you. There is a placement at Stage three which builds upon the modules Working Creatively with People and Disadvantage at Stages one and two.

Careers and employability

You will gain transferable skills from this course such as effective communication, personal development and leadership skills, which you will be able to apply to a range of different settings. For instance, you may decide to work in community arts, set up your own business or work creatively with people in different settings. You could also take further training to be a teacher, a social worker or arts therapist. You could choose to study our MA Art Therapy, MA Dramatherapy or MA Dance Movement Psychotherapy, which will lead to registration as an arts therapist - an exciting and fulfilling career.

Recent graduate Sarah Paine has set up her own project with fellow graduate Tracey Cullen and they run an innovative project called 'Fun Friday' every week through the community arts organisation, Inspirative Arts, which they both founded. Inspirative Arts developed after Sarah worked with adults with severe learning disabilities during her final year, while on a placement with independent charity Derbyshire Advocacy Service. Read more about their community art project.

Graduate Sarah Dunford was recently selected to exhibit her work at the popular Wirksworth Festival. Read the full story here.

Recent graduate Reuben Francis now works for Cambridgeshire County Council as the Lead Playworker at the new 'Play Pathfinder' funded adventure playground in Wisbech. Read more about Reuben's success.

Sophie Hickmott who is in her final year, was nominated for the University of Derby Student Volunteer of the Year Award 2012 for her placement at Derby dance venue Déda. Over ten weeks, Sophie helped to teach four and five year old children creative movement in Deda's 'Skippers' dance class. Every Saturday morning Sophie helped the children express themselves and to tell stories using dance, something she has been developing during her learning on the Dance Pathway of a Creative Expressive Therapies degree. Read more about Sophie's story here.  

Samantha Gomersall who is in her final year, was crowned Student Volunteer of the Year 2012 for her work at Headway Derby, a charity set up to give help and support to people affected by brain injury. Every Tuesday morning for ten weeks she led workshops for groups at the day centre using art, dance and drama, but also stayed at the centre to volunteer every Tuesday afternoon, and helped out on trips and at parties. Read more about Samantha's story here.  

What our students say

Sarah Steenson, current student
Sarah Steenson volunteers at the Royal Derby Hospital as Arts Co-ordinator and is working with the hospitals art team, Air. She is helping to organise a series of spring music seasons called Nightingale where they use music to help improve staff and patients well being. Read more about Sarah's story.

Grace Goodbean, one of our current students
"The course has shifted my aspirations. Before I might have been looking at jobs as a support worker but now I'm thinking more about how I can influence policy. I can't believe I'm saying that but with the experience I've gained and now the knowledge to back it up, it puts me in a position where I could and should be applying for those higher level opportunities." Read Grace's full story.

Jennifer Stafford-Curtis, graduate

"You have already made a good investment in your future by choosing to study Creative Expressive Therapies at Derby. The key to a good education is to remember that you are in charge of your future and how you will develop as an individual; I can fully recommend Derby as an encouraging, challenging and nurturing place to educate and develop yourself." Read Jennifer's full story.

Abigail Kirchmann, graduate

"I graduated with a 1st class honours degree which I would never thought I could achieve, I believe I did this because of the lecturers I had. They were all amazing." Read Abigail's full story.



Key Information Sets

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Part time

Full time

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Full time

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Full time

Part time