Blog post

How to expand your learning both in and out of the University

At the University of Derby, you'll find an exciting range of opportunities within and outside of your studies for you to develop your current interests, boost your employability and career prospects, and make the most of your student life.

By Christina Vassell - 4 January 2019


There are many opportunities for you to enhance your studies through the University. Library services such as Study Skills offered at the University of Derby can help you to improve citing and referencing and develop academic writing skills, IT literacy and much more. All of which will enable you to have transferable skills in order to achieve successful grades in your assignments whether it is coursework, exams or work-based learning.

Another way to expand your learning outside of the University is studying abroad. Studying abroad will place your subject and degree in an international context and will allow you to experience the wealth of cultures outside of the UK in other nations and institutions. It is also a great way to create a transatlantic portfolio of work and studies that can boost your skill set, CV and employability.

As part of the #GoPlacesGoFurther initiative, the University of Derby offers its students the chance to participate in both the Erasmus and International Travel Awards schemes to equip students with global learning and opportunities for students to create worldwide networks.


Getting involved with academic research is a great way to learn beyond your undergraduate course and pursue a topic that you're passionate about in-depth, which will in-turn broaden your skill set and enrich your CV.

One way to improve your critical acumen as a student is through the University of Derby's Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme (URSS). Open to undergraduates in their second year, the scheme offers students the opportunity to take part in a fully funded and supported research project with a bursary of £2,000 per project.

If you're not a second year student there are other ways for you to engage with research outside of the University by submitting research papers to both national and international conferences. Every year there are thousands of conferences across a variety of subjects that call for the submission of research papers. Each approved submission grants the academic a place to present their findings to the faculty and attendees of the conference. It is a great way to intellectually exchange ideas with other like-minded academics and learn more about your subject in question.


If presenting research at a conference sounds too daunting then you can still take part by attending. There are many public lectures within the academic community and your field of study hosted by the University of Derby amongst other local, regional and national institutions that allow you to gauge the contemporary issues and debates surrounding topics of your interest.

To find an events calendar of upcoming events and conferences, check out the websites of specific institutions as well as platforms such as Eventbrite, which advertise the latest events in your local area and allow you to purchase tickets or register your place beforehand.

Work placements

Apart from learning knowledge, it is also important to practise your skills in real life situations to improve your character and employability through participating in work placements. If you're not sure on where to source work opportunities or need some advice on how to make your application stand out, the Careers and Employment Service at the University of Derby can offer you a helping hand.

The Careers and Employment Service run a variety of events and schemes in partnership with the University such as Derby's Internship Programme and the Employer Mentoring Scheme, as well as providing one-to-one tutorials with students that allow you to learn and practise professionalism with industry experts and staff, and who can help you find the right work placement for you in your chosen career based on your skills and personal interests.


During your time as a student, it is also important to create strong networks with other students, faculty members and industry professionals alike to expand your horizon.

One way to network is by joining societies that align with your interests, or could even be completely new territory, to engage with extra-curricular activities and meet new people. The University of Derby currently boasts over 60 societies ranging from Anime to Law and UNICEF on campus and more, all of which have their own social engagements that cater to the needs of their members.

If you enjoy being challenged - intellectually, socially, and personally - there are also opportunities for students to become members of their society's committee. That said, there are a number of institutions and members around the UK that are open to the public to join and students are often entitled to a discounted membership.

About the author

Christina Vassell
Student Ambassador, Joint Honours English with Media Studies Graduate

Having achieved a bachelor’s degree in English with Media Studies, Christine is now a student representative at the University, working on projects such as the Student Attainment Gap Research and Student Experience.