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Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Buxton Campus

Course description

Keen to take the next step in your culinary career? We offer an exciting opportunity to ‘top up’ your existing qualification to a full honours degree in the space of just a year.

Please note that this course will be based at our Buxton Campus until September 2022. From September 2022 anyone who applies for this degree will be taught at our main site in Derby.

5thfor Hospitality, Events & Tourism**The Guardian University Guide 2020
Culinary Arts Graduate Rosie Maguire, talks about her experience at the University of Derby, and her career since graduation

View Graduate case study - Rosie Maguire video transcript

The BA (Hons) Professional Culinary Arts (Top up) is ideal if you already have an appropriate foundation degree or HND with at least a merit grade profile. It leads to a highly regarded degree which will raise your professional status and give fresh momentum to your career plans.

A superb learning environment

You will refine your skills in the magnificent grade II* listed Devonshire Dome at our Buxton campus. A prestige events venue, it includes seven high specification kitchens, a fine dining restaurant, a bistro and two licensed bars.

This is an inspiring setting to bring a new dimension to your culinary art. The Dome Restaurant received the highest possible rating in the AA College Rosette scheme, with our students applauded for their enthusiasm.  

Our facilities are designed to meet the latest professional standards. We have, for instance, invested in a new induction powered training kitchen, reflecting the increased use of induction power over gas in the industry. We also have mobile equipment for off-site events and pop-up restaurants.

Make invaluable industry contacts

You will be enthused and motivated by our thriving employer partnerships with organisations such as Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury hotels. One of the highlights of the year is our Industry Networking Day where you can make new connections which will serve you well in future.

Real-world projects will broaden your expertise. Our students have worked with national hotel chains, international corporations and the local food producers, breweries and restaurants which lure countless visitors to the nearby Peak District National Park.

You will also be able to participate in masterclasses delivered by visiting experts. 

Challenge yourself in prestigious competitions

You can showcase your culinary artistry in renowned competitions. Our students have shone in high-pressured challenges under the watchful eye of leading industry figures. They have reached the finals of the Toque d’Or three times and excelled in other events such as the Country Range Student Chef Challenge, Zest Quest Asia, Hotelympia and the Tabasco Student Street Food Brunch Challenge.

Taking part in such competitions tests your front-of-house and back-of-house skills as well as your knowledge of food provenance, sustainability, costings and menu development – all of which are covered on your course.

A degree with professional credibility

Our BA (Hons) Professional Culinary Arts (Top up) is accredited by the Institute of Hospitality, which lends credibility to your qualification and ensures your learning is up to date and relevant. You will have access to the Institute’s Educational Membership Scheme and can join local branch events.

When you join us, you will also automatically become a member of hosco, with access to around 30,000 graduate roles, internships and work experience opportunities from over 1,500 employers. 

What you will study

Year 1Year 1

Code: 6HO524

Contemporary Issues in Culinary Arts

Students will develop and acquire a wide range of technical and transferable skills during their undergraduate degree programme in Culinary Arts. It is essential that students recognise and contextualise the academic and applied learning involved in their personal development that will underpin their technical abilities. Relying on technical skills will not be enough in a competitive industry and it is vital that students promote themselves in their future career to their best advantage.

This module will focus on the current and future trends in employment in Culinary Arts that encourages critical thinking on the issues that have contributed to the evolution of the industry. Students will research and debate the nature of the Culinary Arts Industry, evaluate the opportunities available to them and reflect on the development of their own individual skills. This will support them in articulating ideas and will engage students in personal reflection and critical analysis on their own skill set and knowledge to evaluate their future career path.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6HO531

Innovative Food and Technology

This module reflects the need for a thorough understanding of the preparation, handling and cooking of a diverse range of kitchen products, and the subsequent production. The module will allow students to engage in innovative, technological and experimental cooking, techniques and processes relevant to contemporary culinary industry and standards.
20 Credits

Code: 6HO805

Managing the Customer Experience

This module, builds on the skills, knowledge and understanding developed at level 5. This module aims to further develop students’ understanding of the complex relationship between the needs and expectations of internal and external customers.. It also aims to develop students’ reflective practice as effective operational managers, as well as their ability to critically analyse and evaluate systems for improving customer satisfaction. The hospitality industry requires the development of such skills and knowledge to ensure that future managers are capable of entering the industry at supervisory or management level. Students will be provided with opportunities to develop relevant skills and knowledge through application of theoretical concepts in Realistic Working Environments.

A Realistic Working Environment (RWE) is a professional learning environment in which students develop and apply their professional practical skills at operational, supervisory and managerial levels, as appropriate. RWEs include learning environments that realistically simulate hospitality operations, as well as commercial hospitality operations within the university and external hospitality operations within partner organisations.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6HO527

Patisserie and Confectionery

Students achieving the intermediate module at level 5 will continue to widen and diversify their skills and knowledge Students will have developed confidence and strong motivation in a kitchen environment whilst being able to work independently or as a team member. This module reflects the need for a thorough understanding of the preparation, handling and cooking of a diverse range of kitchen products, and the subsequent production.
20 Credits

Code: 6HO990

Independent Study in Culinary Arts

This module is the culmination of all students study on the programme. The independent study offers students the opportunity to demonstrate their professional knowledge and skills, as well as enabling them to develop and demonstrate their research and critical thinking skills within the context of culinary arts. Students are encouraged to develop a substantial individual project for sustained, in depth study in an independent, enquiring manner. Students will be expected to present a creative body of work, which expresses and forms the basis of their professional potential in the culinary industry. In negotiation with an independent study supervisor, students will be expected to work with originality, initiative and confidence, and further develop competencies in research, critical analysis and organisation in order to be defined as a professional culinary practitioner.
40 Credits

Code: 6SZ502

Independent Study

Studying in higher education provides a rich and diverse range of skills which you can use to problem solve the fundamental challenges inherent within your chosen subject area. This module acts as a conduit to flex those academic and industry study / project skills obtained throughout an undergraduate degree study. Project research in services provides an opportunity for you to instigate and/or engage in a pure and applied research project related to your subject area discipline.

You will have the opportunity to either develop a pure research project from a self-selected topic of interest, or to successfully ‘bid’ for a research project, provided by the academic team through themes currently being researched within the department of hotel, resort and spa management. Project research in services requires you to use every skill you have acquired, with the aim of extending the systematic and coherent body of knowledge; helping to stamp your authority on your area of interest, and potentially your future career path.

More information
40 Credits

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

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Register your interest for a future Open Day and we'll be in touch as soon as we are able to welcome you on campus.

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How you will learn

The BA (Hons) Professional Culinary Arts (Top up) equips you with advanced technical knowledge as well as a deeper understanding of your market, food philosophy, and brand awareness.

You will learn through practical demonstrations, lectures and tutorials, along with hands-on practical experience in our commercial facilities.

Other work-related learning experiences on the course include guest lectures, conferences, industry days, fieldtrips, networking events, competitions, challenges and employer-led industry projects.


You will be assessed in a number of ways including:

Personal academic tutoring

Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.

Find out more about personal academic tutoring

Who will teach you

Chris Jones standing outside Buxton Dome

Chris Jones
Programme leader

As Course Director for Culinary Arts and Food Development, Chris Jones manages the curriculum and student experience within the culinary discipline in the Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements

Entry requirements

You need to have an HND or Foundation degree in a relevant subject.

Relevant subjectsN/A

When you apply, please send us a transcript of the modules you have already studied so that we can make sure that the HND or Foundation degree is compatible with the top-up programme.

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.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*



£14,045 per year


* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

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

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

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.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

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


As a BA (Hons) Professional Culinary Arts graduate, you will be equipped with all the real world experience that today’s employers expect. Leading names in the industry seek out our graduates because they are professional, talented and ‘work-ready’.

Our graduates typically secure progressive careers in kitchen, restaurant and hotel management. They are now succeeding in senior roles everywhere  from large international hotel chains to Michelin-starred properties, independent restaurants and conference venues.

On completing this course, you could take up positions such as food and beverage supervisor, commis chef, commis pastry chef, chef de partie, graduate trainee restaurant manager, sales executive, licensed retail manager or contract catering manager – to name just a few.

Graduate success stories

Our graduates are now excelling in world-renowned Michelin-starred restaurants and kitchens. Their destinations include:

Take your learning to the next level

You can consider progressing to postgraduate studies in related subjects, including our own MSc International Hospitality Management which prepares you not only for senior management but also for roles in academia and research.

Ongoing careers support

We’re committed to improving your employability at every stage of your studies. Our teaching staff join forces with the Careers and Employment Service to deliver workshops on subjects such as networking, CV writing and effective use of social media.

The support continues once you’ve graduated too: you are entitled to further help and guidance for up to three years after leaving the University. This includes signposting towards internships which you can undertake on completion of your degree and which often lead to job offers. 

You can also take full advantage of the hosco careers network to discover opportunities and share good practice with other professionals

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

January start is available for Stage 3 entry only.

From September 2022 anyone who applies for this degree will be taught at our main site in Derby.

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, excellent 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

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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