Professional Course

University Diploma in Asphalt and Pavement Studies

Course details

Course code


Course level

Level 5

Course credits

60 credits

Next course date



Typically 1 year part time

Course description

The distinctive nature of this programme is represented by the flexibility of its design and delivery. Its construction and innovative modes of delivery recognise the diverse and dispersed nature of not only the industry itself, but the potential student body it will serve. Due to the geographical spread of the industry, manufacturing sites and offices are often remote and isolated. Technical and operational staff very often spend a significant proportion of their time working outdoors, can be transient (with seasonal working activities sometimes playing a part) and they may also find that they are suddenly re-located, in some cases abroad. The provision offered within this programme of study, has had to evolve to meet the needs of such learners: taking advantage not only of traditional teaching and learning techniques, but utilising the most advanced learning technology for teaching, learning, supervision and assessment.

Key Characteristics

The programme enables the following opportunities:

  1. Equips learners for shortfall in international, national and local development needs
  2. Develops the learner’s knowledge and understanding of the Mineral Products sector and the context in which they operate, including global and environmental influences
  3. Prepares individuals to be operationally effective in management positions in the Mineral Products industry by providing them with the tools to achieve this, a strong theoretical base and a range of skills relevant to today’s business practice
  4. Enables a learner to develop their intellectual breadth and be able to make integrative links across the various areas of their organisations
  5. Develops knowledge and skills to enable a leader/manager to be responsive to change
  6. Increases capacity to learn, both on the programme and as independent lifelong learners following completion of the programme
  7. To act as a role model, with responsibility for those in senior positions
  8. Provides an academically rigorous and challenging programme of study aligned with the QAA Qualification Framework enhancing critical and reflective practice.
  9. Provides flexible learning opportunities in a diverse environment that widens participation.
Centre for Mineral Products

View Centre for Mineral Products video transcript

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Structure, certificates and assessment

Mixtures of aggregates and bitumen are used in several ways by the construction industry, particularly in highway and airfield pavements, in footpaths and other paved areas.

This module introduces the concept of asphalt pavements and develops knowledge of the technology, standards, specifications, and other requirements that apply to bituminous mixtures specifically.

In addition, the module will develop knowledge of the technology and principles of designing and testing bituminous mixtures, and of the specific processes and knowledge required to produce, transport, and place the mixtures.

The module also provides knowledge of the techniques used to manage product quality to satisfy the needs of the customer and introduces health, safety and environmental aspects associated with asphalt production.

The module develops an understanding of specialist asphalt mixtures through a discussion of their specialist applications.

The production of specialist binders, such as emulsions and polymer modified binders is described and their fundamental properties and associated test methods are introduced. Sustainability is introduced and considers the needs, resources, and implications of trends before reviewing sustainability in the context of business models commonly associated with the paving industry (circular economy, sustainable products etc).

Finally, sustainability in the context of asphalt mixtures will be considered using environmental product declarations, life cycle assessments and various foot printing techniques (carbon, greenhouse gas etc). Furthermore, recycling and the use of alternative mixtures in asphalt will be covered along with cement and unbound mixtures for roads and their place and function within an asphalt pavement. Innovations in asphalt are discussed and considered using case studies from industry and provides a fundamental understanding of innovation origin, management, and application.

Contracts are fundamental to commercial activity.

The asphalt industry is a part of the Construction industry which has developed its own forms of contract designed to service the type of exchange with which it is engaged. This module provides the student with an appropriate background to this topic so that they understand the impact and consequences of The Contract on their daily activities.

The module also covers techniques of estimation and organisation which underpin the procurement and execution of work by a contractor. The law relevant to the establishment, operation, and maintenance of roads, and as it relates to statutory undertakers, is covered as is the specific construction design and management safety regulations.

This module develops the operational, business and financial knowledge and skills necessary to achieve the effective management of a mineral products facility.

This includes an understanding of the human implications of running a successful business. The module also recognises the importance of communication (written and none written skills), people and values in developing a positive workplace culture.

Furthermore, the concepts and principles of asset management are introduced to develop skills in relation to performance measurement and monitoring. To meet with modern day challenges students are also provided with the fundamentals of building a sustainable business and the concept of cyber security. Additionally, for apprentices this module supports and develops completion of the e-portfolio required for End Point Assessment purposes.

This module brings together the learner’s knowledge of the industry gained from the programme and asks them to offer a detailed discussion of a problematic area and locate it within the wider context of current academic and professional thinking as presented in the literature and within the context of the area of the Mineral Product industry in which they work.

Learners will be expected to demonstrate the ability to diagnose an organisational issue, to present this issue in a coherent manner, and to draw conclusions from their reading, personal analysis and workplace experience.

*Module is not available until September 2023*

How you will learn

The programme is influenced by the principles of work-based learning. As such a flexible range of teaching and learning methodologies are used relevant to particular groups or practices. For example:

At undergraduate level, the emphasis is on fostering independent learning, whilst providing a supporting environment in which to study at higher level. One of the key aims of any undergraduate programme is to produce an independent learner capable of properly managing their time and resources to identify issues, decide how to collect and analyse evidence and reach reasoned evidence based conclusions, and to subsequently present this information via various methods of communication (written and oral).

Indicative methods of assessment include activities such as:

These indicative approaches will be used to test attainment of knowledge and understanding as well as skills and capabilities thereby promoting ‘deep learning’.

Entry requirements

The programme has been designed to appeal to a wide audience.

  1. Operational managers, assistant managers and supervisors within the industry who have significant experience but limited qualifications, who wish to improve their level of competence within the industry.
  2. Graduate employees who already possess a degree in a related subject (e.g. mining engineering or geology), but who need to specialise in the sector.
  3. Employees from industry suppliers/manufacturers who would like to gain knowledge of the sector in order to better serve their specific industry clients.
  4. Consultants who would like to gain knowledge in a wider sense within the mineral products environment in order to support the service that they provide.

The following broad criteria applying for entry:

While the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that learners meet entry requirements and acceptance on to programmes rests with the University of Derby, employers typically nominate the majority of learners expected onto this programme. The prior experience of learners is a key factor in programme design and development as such employers, potential learners, professional bodies, and key stakeholders have been consulted during the programme development stage.

Fees and funding

UK/EU students

International students

Optional modules

* These fees apply if you’re starting this course between September 2023 and August 2024. We recommend you check fee details with us though, as they can change.

How to apply

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University

Who will teach you

Programme leader

Helen Bailey

Contact us

Asphalt and Pavement Studies  01332 591066 (option 6)
Programme Leader: Helen Bailey 01332 597958 

If you want to find out more about studying a short course, please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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