Our Students

Highlighting some of the key achievements of our student body over the past 12 months

Derby is an increasingly popular choice for students; it was named the 13th best university in the UK for teaching quality in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 and achieved its highest overall league table position (26th) in the Guardian University Guide 2020.

At Derby, we are committed to providing the very best teaching and learning experience for our students to give them the best possible start to the careers.

Awards successes for Derby students

Media Production team at RTS Awards
University of Derby students celebrate their success at the Royal Television Society Awards.

Opportunities are a core element of our academic approach – not only in terms of delivering teaching excellence and applied research, but through a culture of curiosity and drive instilled in our students to create their own.

Each year their hard work and determination is recognised and celebrated through national and international awarding bodies.  

Three business students (Patrick Motley, Blaise Umbagodo and Alberto Tinta) won £5,000 in The UK Space Agency’s SatelLife competition for young people, a competition to come up with ideas on how satellites can improve life on Earth. The prize was awarded for their idea for a tool that would allow improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other unexploded bombs to be identified in warzones, and then use drones and precision satellite positioning to improve the safety of bomb disposal teams.

In April, five journalism students were honoured at the Midlands Media Student Awards, which acknowledges the achievements of next-generation journalists, broadcasters and photographers. A total of 15 Derby journalism and football journalism students were nominated. David Wainwright and Adam Barker won their category outright, while Louis Mitchell, Becky Tombs and Tom Smith were highly commended in their class.

In the summer, Amanda Summers, who is studying for an MA in Education, won the Critical Writing Prize 2019. The annual prize, sponsored by Critical Publishing, is awarded for the best student essay demonstrating a high level of critical thinking.

Amanda won the prize for her essay, ‘Reducing the Gender Pay Gap: Could more women in STEM be the answer?’.

In March, a group of media and film production students triumphed at the Royal Television Society Midlands Awards winning in four categories: 

  • The Drama Award for ‘Writer’s Block’, made by media production graduates Sabrina Bal, Kristen Jennings, Joshua Rout, Kate Seeley, James Fuller and Natalie Afshin Kia
  • The Comedy and Entertainment Award for ‘Meatball’, made by film production students Jack Barrie, Cal Brown, Charlotte Glasgow, Celine Woodburn and Ben Evans
  • The Best Factual film for ‘Swan’s Signature’, made by film production student Joshua Timmins

Meatball also collected the Sir Lenny Henry Award, after the actor and comedian selected it as his personal favourite for this year’s competition.

Working with the community

Our students are regularly involved in projects with the local community and businesses.

Earlier this year, a group of our law students set up the Student Legal Advice Centre to offer free legal advice to members of the public on a range of areas of law.

The Centre, a student-led project instigated by Head of Law, Sue Jennings, has been designed to provide students with clinical legal practice education and deliver free advice to the community.

Law student Ami Popkin said: “The Student Legal Advice Centre is a brilliant opportunity for us to build a healthy working relationship with the Derby community. Having the opportunity to really help people with the issues they are facing is an extremely rewarding experience.

“We have all signed up to work in the Legal Centre because we want to help and we want to make a difference.”

International Travel Awards opportunities

Every year, the Centre for Student Life at the University organises the International Travel Awards for students to experience the culture of other countries while studying.
All students can apply for a place on one trip abroad, with flights, tours and accommodation included.

This year 149 students were given the opportunity to travel to five destinations - Budapest, Iceland, New York, Washington and Rome. While travelling, students took part in various activities including caving in Budapest, hiking a glacier in Iceland, scaling the Empire State Building and discovering the Colosseum. 

Students on this year’s trips commented that their experience was: “such a valuable and memorable opportunity”, “life changing”, “full of fun, culture, history and good food”, and “absolutely amazing from start to finish”.

Graduation ceremonies welcome thousands

Two students at graduation holding comedy glasses and lips saying Grad 19
Students at our summer 2019 Graduation Ceremony at Derby Arena.

The highlight of the year is our Award Ceremonies; an opportunity to bring our students together with their family and friends, and University staff, to celebrate their achievements and success.

This year we welcomed over 4,400 students to their graduation ceremonies, which are held at the stunning Devonshire Dome in Buxton and the impressive Derby Arena.

“Congratulations to all our students who graduated this year. Every year I receive emails from families and guests about how much they enjoyed the ceremonies and how special they felt. I am extremely grateful to everyone involved in making these events so very successful.”

Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor