Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: 6 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year (2019/20)

International fee

£13,250 per year (2019/20)

UCAS points

112 (September 2019 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Markeaton Street and Britannia Mill Studios

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

Course description

New for September 2019: As part of our commitment to improving student experience we are continually enhancing and reviewing our courses. Changes are being made to this course to reflect the evolving nature of the industry and to keep the course in line with industry standards. Curriculum changes proposed will ensure that we equip our graduates with the prerequisite skills and subject knowledge to be successful in their careers. To find out more get in touch with our programme leaders or attend an open day. This webpage will be updated as changes are made to the programme.

Discover your artistic potential on a course at the forefront of contemporary practice.

Arts at Derby has been ranked in the Top 20 in The Guardian University Guide 2019. Join us to work with leading artists and educators in developing your creativity through, experimentation with media and materials to emerge as a confident practising artist. You will develop your personal creative voice in our outstanding modern studios, working within and across a wide range of artistic disciplines. Our tutors are highly respected and internationally renowned artists, researchers and educators who will inspire and enthuse you. We will equip you with the professional skills to fulfil your ambitions as a practising artist or to pursue careers in fields ranging from community arts to curation. 

Interactive sculpture in Ilam Park

All students engage in creating conceptually challenging art that pushes the boundaries of personal expression.  What makes our programme unique is the emphasis we place on ‘making’ skills in developing a studio practice regardless of the discipline engaged in. A key strength of the programme is having an intake of 30 students per year in order to ensure we have a close-knit community of art students that can be fully supported. It is because of this close support that we have excellent retention, high numbers of good degrees, and positive student feedback.

We feature in the top 15 in the 2016 Guardian subject league tables for art and have achieved over 90% satisfaction for 4 consecutive years. This is based on criteria such as students’ satisfaction with course content, teaching and feedback as well as the employment track record of our graduates. Our graduates are in work or further study within six months of completing this course (HESA 2016). 

A significant part of this course is spent in our modern studios where you explore personal themes and experiment with different working methods, materials and processes. We provide you with your own dedicated and permanent studio space from which you will work throughout your time on the course.  

The wide-ranging facilities on offer encourage you to explore a variety of paths in your artistic practice – everything from painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and installation to sound, film and video, digital media and performance. You have access to resources such as our industry standard Apple Mac suite, a large printmaking studio, darkrooms, music studios, and workshops for large-scale projects involving plaster, ceramics, wood and metal.  

We offer an outstanding specialist Art and Design Library, a bureau for professional fine art printing, and a digital media equipment centre from which you can borrow industry-level video, film and photography equipment.

Visiting Professor Yan Wang gives a demonstration of Chinese portrait painting with BA Fine Art student Richard as a model.


All art and design courses are based at our Markeaton Street site where modern, purpose built studios and labs provide a modern creative space for our arts students. Markeaton Street encompasses Chandos Pole Street (home to our Fashion and Textiles courses) and Britannia Mill (home to Fine Arts). Students on any of our theatre related courses also get to study at Derby Theatre, and Dance students study at Deda.

Markeaton Street is a 15 minute walk from Kedleston Road, and is serviced by regular free site shuttle buses. 

Explore our facilities through 360 views:

Markeaton Street

Britannia Mill

Fine Art student Richard Lapthorn
Richard Lapthorn, BA (Hons) Fine Art

'The Fine Art Studios are a bustling creative environment. Each of us is given a space directly appropriate for our artistic needs. I am painting murals, so I have a wall to myself. Being a close knit community, everyone knows everyone, and if you’re ever in need of assistance, there is always a friendly face around. All the tutors have an abundance of interests and talents to help any student, and they’re always in the studios. We have brilliant facilities and work spaces. There are also workshops in everything from analogue photography to casting in bronze. Furthermore, there is the opportunity to study abroad during your time at Derby, and as a student who took this opportunity and studied in Germany, I highly recommend it.' - Richard Lapthorn, BA (Hons) Fine Art

What you will study

You will study modules such as:

At this stage, you will learn more about the ethos and philosophy of fine art practice, especially allied to studio work.  

  • Introduction to Studio Practice
  • Primary Practice
  • Extended Contexts
  • Concepts and Practices

There is a greater emphasis on experimentation and work that helps you develop your individual personal voice.  

  • Developing Practice
  • Advanced Practice
  • Extended Contexts 2
  • Methods and Readings

At this stage, the focus is on a substantial amount of independent study. 

  • Proposed Study
  • Independent Practice
  • Professional Practice Advanced
  • Critical Inquiry
Students welcoming guests to a Buxton Open Day

Find out more at an Open Day

There’s still time to visit us before the UCAS deadline. Come to our Open Day on 9 January to find out if studying Fine Art at Derby is right for you. Meet our expert teaching team, tour our first-class facilities and see where you could be living.

Book your place at our January Open Day Book your place at our January Open Day

How you will learn

One of the strengths of Fine Art at Derby is the limit on the number of places, which enables us to focus on the needs of each individual in a smaller cohort where everyone is devoted to working as an artist.  ‌

You learn through studio workshops, group and individual tutorials, seminars and lectures. These are supported by a vibrant and diverse programme of visiting artists who will update you on latest developments within the cultural industries.

Each year of the course, you will have the chance to visit a cultural centre in Europe or the USA, as well as national galleries and museums. You could also undertake site-specific projects, including residentials, in the nearby Derbyshire Peak District. 

Thanks to our strong external links, we run a series of projects which take you out of the studio environment to respond to sites and situations you might not otherwise encounter. Recent examples include working on site-specific sculptures for the National Trust at Ilam Park; art interventions inspired by the collections at Derby Museum and Art Gallery; creation of installation art at Yorkshire Sculpture Park; and large-scale sculptural work on behalf of Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust.  

Throughout the course, there is ample opportunity to exhibit your work or take part in prestigious competitions. Our students are regularly offered artist residencies at home and abroad and have gained coveted places at events such as the Students’ International Biennale.

The culmination of your degree will be a major public exhibition where you can showcase your work to influential figures from the art world, prospective employers and the wider public.  

You will be assessed on your studio work through exhibitions, formal presentations of developmental and resolved work, and your contributions to individual tutorials, group critiques and seminars. There will be some assignments and essay work to submit for your theoretical studies.   

Degree Show

Every year students from the School of Arts celebrate their time at University by showcasing their work at an end of year Degree Show at Markeaton Street and across the City of Derby. The Show usually runs throughout June and is a fantastic opportunity for potential employers, friends, family, industry and members of the public to see exciting creations by the next generation of artists, designers, creators and makers from Derby. The Show takes the form of:

For a glimpse of last year’s Degree Show take a look at our flickr photo album.

Entry requirements

September 2019 typical entry requirements

UCAS points112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
Interview / AuditionYes - see interview details

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

a young woman lying on a hill writing in a notebook

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Fees and funding

2019/20 Fees


£9,250 per year

£1,155 per module


£13,250 per year


Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

Apply by 15 January to start in September

Need help applying? Find out how we can help you with your UCAS application

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


We will nurture your artistic and creative independence, ensuring that you graduate as a self-motivated, resourceful and versatile fine art practitioner. Many of our students go on to become long-term practising artists – undertaking residencies, opening studios, exhibiting nationally and internationally, and lecturing.  

The skills you develop will be valuable across the creative economy so – apart from furthering your development as a practising artist – you could progress to careers in areas such as curatorship, art therapy, community arts or teaching. 

If you would like to set up your own creative business, look no further than our incubation unit – Banks Mill – which offers studio workspace and business development activities. You’ll become part of a vibrant and thriving community of artists, designers and makers. 

Our graduates also regularly choose to advance their knowledge on Masters programmes nationally and internationally, including the MA Fine Art at Derby.  

Fine Artist Paul Cummins is a University of Derby graduate who has gone on to curate one of the most memorable WWI exhibitions, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.

Programme leader

Carl Robinson

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

Contact us Contact us

† Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, state-of-the-art facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees


Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.


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