Professional Course

Certificate of Credit in Clay Drying and Firing

Course details

Course code


Course level

Level 5

Course credits

20 credits

Next course date

January, September


1 year part time


Distance learning, Enterprise Centre

Course description

This programme, comprises of one module, and is less intensive than the University Diploma in Clay Studies (three modules). Successful completion of this programme, will exempt the learner from Module one of the University Diploma in Clay Studies. Experience has shown that this single module programme may be more suitable for learners with limited experience, or who have not studied for some time.

The programme has been designed to appeal to a wide audience, such as:

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 Clay Drying and Firing process and the context in which it operates, including global and environmental influences
  3. Enables a learner to develop their intellectual breadth and be able to make integrative links across the various areas of their organisations
  4. Increases capacity to learn, both on the programme and as independent lifelong learners following completion of the programme
  5. Provides an academically rigorous and challenging programme of study aligned with the QAA Qualification Framework enhancing critical and reflective practice
  6. Provides flexible learning opportunities in a diverse environment that widens participation

Structure, certificates and assessment

Clay Drying and Firing Module

This module provides the learner with an underpinning knowledge of the techniques used to dry and then fire clay products. It will cover the areas of practical and scientific knowledge required to perform at the appropriate level within the clay technology industry and provide the knowledge and understanding of the drying and firing processes that produce different types of clay products and the influence of drying and firing techniques on their characteristics.

It will consider the methods used to prepare (set) dried and formed clay products before they are fired and an understanding of different methods of removing moisture, including the rate of drying and associated process controls. It includes the study of the range of techniques and equipment used to fire clay products, including the chemistry and economics of firing; the economic operation of kilns; statistical process control techniques; and safe operation in a way that complies with pollution controls. The module will offer an awareness of the published product Standards that define the characteristics of finished clay products, including the control of product conformity and an understanding of the methods used to stack and pack finished clay products in a way that is appropriate to the method used to deliver it to the customer. The module also examines the management of customer requirements, including quality management systems and an awareness of environmental aspects.

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 following criteria apply for entry:

While the 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 and EU students

International students

*These fees apply if you are 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

UK students

Apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University

Contact us

General 01332 591066 (option 6)
Programme Leader: John Austin +44 7584 777 661

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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