Course details

Study options

Full-time: 2 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

48 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level




Start date



Buxton Campus

Course description

With its exciting focus on real-world learning in the workplace, our two-year FdA Culinary Arts is the ideal choice for aspiring professional chefs and restaurant managers who want a fast track route to success.

Please note that for September 2020 the first year of your course will be studied at our Buxton Campus and that all future years of study will be at our Derby Campus. If you are commencing your studies in September 2021 and onwards, you will study the full duration of your course at our Derby campus.

96%overall satisfaction - FdA Professional Culinary Arts**National Student Survey 2019
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

With demand for well qualified chefs and hospitality managers running at an all-time high, our FdA Culinary Arts gives you a strong foothold on the career ladder. In just two years, it equips you with high-level technical skills, in-depth product knowledge and the right professional outlook for success.

Our facilities

If you’re looking to start your degree in September 2020, you’ll study at our Buxton Campus for your first year. During this year you’ll be based in the stunning Grade II* listed Devonshire Dome, which features seven state-of-the-art kitchens, a fine dining restaurant, a bistro and two licensed bars where you will put theory into practice under the expert supervision of our chefs.

From year two of your studies, you’ll transfer and study at our main site in Derby, where we are developing brand-new facilities, meaning you’ll continue to develop your practical skills and knowledge, so when you graduate you’ll have relevant experience you can put into practice straight away.

If you are commencing your studies in September 2021 and onwards, you will study the full duration of your course at our Derby campus.

Learning to the fore

Practical hands-on experience is central to this foundation degree, which is designed in close collaboration with employers. You will undertake work-based learning and integrated work placements to help you apply the theory to real-world scenarios.

Experiencing both the food service and the food production sides of culinary operations, you will also develop invaluable skills in areas such as customer relations, problem-solving, team-working, communication, critical thinking, supervision and leadership.

At the end of the two years, you can choose to leave with a well-respected FdA qualification or – if you have a minimum of a merit profile – can progress to the final stage of our BA (Hons) Professional Culinary Arts.

From the outset of your studies, you will find yourself working in a fast-paced opperational environment. Under the supportive guidance of our chefs, you will develop your culinary repertoire.  

Challenging projects, inspiring events

Throughout the FdA Professional Culinary Arts, you will deliver, supervise and manage fine dining, off-site catering and event catering. 

Real-world projects will see you working with national hotel chains, international corporations and local food producers, breweries and restaurants. Our students have, for example, organised real ale campaigns and devised food heritage trails.

Make valuable contacts on placement

Our networks include Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury hotels, paving the way for you to enjoy professional mentoring, employer-led projects, placements and internships.

A period of work placement is compulsory on the foundation degree and you can undertake this as a paid employee or in a voluntary role. In the past, our students have secured coveted placements with the likes of Gleneagles, Claridge’s and Links House Hotel at Royal Dornoch. There are opportunities for overseas placements too, including with Loews Hotels and Resorts in America. Such experiences often lead to full-time jobs when you graduate.

New insights through fieldtrips

A residential trip is included in the course fees for both years of the foundation degree. Our latest fieldtrip to London took in tours of the Billingsgate and Borough Markets as well as hotels such as Marriott Park Lane and Le Méridien Piccadilly. We have also visited major events like the Food Show in Birmingham.

There are optional international fieldtrips too, with Tuscany, Normandy and Iceland among latest destinations. They give you the chance to explore food, drink and hospitality from a different cultural and sociological viewpoint. On their trip to Florence, our students saw how parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar and authentic pizzas are made, taking in a Tuscan vineyard visit too.  

A winning way with competitions

Can you build on our students’ outstanding performance in national competitions? There are many opportunities to try! Taking part in national events and challenges is a great way to get yourself noticed.

Our students have made their mark in events such as the Country Range Student Chef Challenge, Zest Quest Asia and the Council for Hospitality Management Education (CHME) Young Guns competition. We have even reached the finals of the Toque d’Or, the UK catering industry’s most prestigious competition, three times.  

Professional credentials

We are proud of our strong partnerships with leading professional bodies. Our FdA Professional Culinary Arts is accredited by the Institute of Hospitality, which means your learning experience will be high quality, relevant and up to date. Through the Institute’s Educational Membership Scheme you will also be able to join local branch events.

Our Industry Networking Day is a key date on the calendar, where you can connect with leading figures from the profession. Some of our students have even presented at international conferences, showcasing their knowledge to their academic peers and industry representatives.

When you join us, you will 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 1Year 2Year 2

Code: 4HO526

Professional Skills and Processes

This module aims to provide students with the fundamental skills and the underpinning knowledge in order to produce a range of dishes. Students will develop the skills and knowledge through demonstrations and practical application in order to produce a range of dishes. Practical sessions will also allow for formative assessment from both tutor and peers. Lectures and tutorials will be focused on the development of underpinning knowledge of professional cookery, food hygiene and health and safety, food costing and calculations.
20 Credits

Code: 4HO528

International Cuisine

The interest in, and consumption of, international foods has risen as a result of increased migration and travel. Access to a wide range of international cuisines is available as a result of de-seasonalisation, mass production technologies and media interest. This module seeks to examine the production of both authentic and manufactured international cuisines for production and consumption.
20 Credits

Code: 4HO536

Contemporary Catering Business

This level 4 module aims to provide a foundation to future modules in culinary arts.

This is achieved by enabling students to develop an understanding of:

  • The historical context of the sector
  • The scope and scale of the sector
  • The external environment influencing the sector
  • The ways in which businesses respond to external influences
More information
20 Credits

Code: 4HO537

Nutrition and Wellbeing

With increasing concerns over health and wellbeing, greater health awareness and a growing knowledge of the effects of poor nutrition on society, it is imperative that culinary staff have a sound underpinning knowledge of food values, nutrients, quality standard, sustainability and safety. This module will provide students with a sound understanding of how the body nourishes itself in health and disease by reviewing the digestive system and absorption of nutrients. It will focus on the challenges facing society on poor nutrition and the impacts it is having and addresses the importance of the provision of good quality nutritional food by the culinary and hospitality industry.

Students will be encouraged to research and evaluate the initiatives and growing trends in eating and food choices and will be expected to critically debate the initiatives taken by governments around the world to resolve these issues.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 4HO529

Professional Kitchen Operations 1

This module aims to expose students to the professional practice associated with the kitchen. Students will undertake a period of placement in an appropriate setting in order to develop subject specific and transferable skills necessary to operate effectively within the industry. Students will appraise their placement performance and identify future development requirements.
20 Credits

Code: 5HO524

Advanced Bakery and Pastry Techniques

This module develops students’ core understanding and key technical skills related to the discipline of bakery production. As bakery and pastry currently sits at the forefront of the culinary industry, with its popularity evident though a variety of media outlets such as books and TV cookery shows, it is essential that this module develops the relevant skills needed to be successful within industry. Students will be required to undertake a course of practical and theory sessions in order to develop knowledge and techniques specific to bakery and pastry production. Links will be made from these theory and practical sessions to working within a professional environment.
20 Credits

Code: 5HO530

Food and Fermentation Science

This module develops students’ knowledge and understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological properties of food. This module will also introduce students to the science behind food and cookery. Students will explore the effects of cooking on food and its nutritional properties. Methods of food preservation will also be explained.

Module Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Analyse and evaluate aspects of food science in a commercial kitchen environment
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the biological, chemical and physical changes in foods during storage, preparation and cooking

Module Content

  • Study a range of commodities from different food groups to identify the physical changes that occur during food preparation and cooking
  • Identify quality points of commodities using basic senses of smell, touch, taste, sight and sound (organoleptic assessment) on different food groups as part of their experiential learning
  • Explore the use of fermentation in foods and beverages and key aspects of fermented food production
  • Study ways of controlling and monitoring the quality and safety of fermented foods
  • Experiment with raw ingredients to determine the most appropriate method of cooking to ensure a quality end product
  • Experiment with a range of cookery methods using samples from each food group to determine the effect of heat on food and the interaction of various ingredients
  • Study the impact of preservation on various food groups to understand the changes in taste, texture, appearance, food value and shelf life
  • Study the health benefits and advances in fermentation technology
More information
20 Credits

Code: 5HO531

Larder and Kitchen Skills and Processes

Students will continue to develop their culinary skills and underpinning knowledge gained during the introductory module at level 4. Students will learn aspects of recipe construction, food monitoring and control in order to be able to calculate a range of food costing and gross profit requirements.
20 Credits

Code: 5HO541

Exploring the Meal Experience

The meal experience encompasses a range of different feelings and events that occur when a customer visits a hospitality outlet. A wide range of influences will exist to enhance the experience, from the advertising literature to the volume of the music, and sometimes the last consideration – the food on the plate. It is suggested that customers frequenting a quality restaurant will desire a more in-depth meal experience than when they visit a quick service restaurant or industrial catering outlet. This is not the case as customers will have different needs and wants of the experience and it is vital these variables are given due consideration, not only to attract the target market but for sustainability of the outlet. This module will have a strong practical application of the concepts involved in setting up a potential hospitality business.
20 Credits

Code: 5HO543

Research Skills

Understanding the complexity, dynamic nature and expectations of the current and future consumer is a fundamental function of the service industry. Development trends in this industry continue to evolve highlighting the significance of research and development. The service economy relies on specific managerial and technical skills to design and develop products and services and related business concepts and management models. Developing graduates with a creative capacity, problem solving, research, and analytical skills have never been more important. The experience economy relies on the deployment of particular approaches, methods and techniques in order cope with the intangibility of the products and an inherent customer focus.

This module aims to support students in developing skills for research, which will be pertinent within their relevant service sectors and, where relevant, provide specific guidance for final year and independent study work. The module will consolidate and build upon the knowledge and skills sets developed in the first year, and extend them through the analysis of the different research methodologies used in the service sector.

This module links students to the real world of work as it aims to facilitate the development of research and business development skills. The module therefore provides the motivation and guidance to pursue independent study work. The module will focus on research fundamentals, including the design and development of feasible project proposals and their execution as determined by students’ needs and interests.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 5HO532

Professional Kitchen Operations 2

This module aims to develop students’ employability by exposing them to professional practice associated with the hospitality industry. Students will undertake a period of placement in an appropriate setting in order to develop subject specific and transferable skills necessary to lead and supervise effectively within the hospitality industry. Students will identify and appraise critical aspects of the hospitality setting including but not limited to: individual and group performance and the guest experience.
20 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.

University of Derby student drinking coffee

How you will learn

The FdA Professional Culinary Arts offers an exciting mix of lectures, demonstrations, workshops, tutorials, seminars, applied practice sessions small group exercises and guided study.

How you are assessed

You’ll be assessed in a number of ways including written assignments: essays and reports, practical assessments, oral presentations, posters, industry and problem-based case studies, examinations, individual and group work on the University’s virtual learning environment. 

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

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points48 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-levelN/A
Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
Interview / AuditionN/A

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.

Non-UCAS tariff based Level 3 qualifications from subject related areas may also be considered for entry, eg NVQ/VRQ in Professional Cookery or other related subjects.

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


Our FdA Professional Culinary Arts graduates are highly employable precisely because the course offers such a powerful combination of academic knowledge and hands-on experience.

It means you can look forward to career opportunities in a wide range of settings nationally and internationally. These include cruise ships, clubs, event businesses, hotels, independent and branded restaurants, contract catering, private houses, the armed services and food production enterprises.

You could progress to roles such as chef de partie, pastry chef, assistant kitchen manager, off-site catering chef, production chef or development chef – to name but a few.

Graduate success stories

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

Some of our graduates have also drawn on the entrepreneurial skills they gained during their studies to launch their own hospitality enterprises, including a gastropub and craft brewery, an off-site catering venture and a celebration cake making business.

Take your learning to the next level

A significant proportion of our students choose to ‘top up’ their foundation degree to a full honours degree. This option is open to any FdA graduates who have engaged actively in their studies, have taken part in extra-curricular activities to advance their professional development, and have attained at least a merit classification. Find out more about our BA (Hons) Professional Culinary Arts (Top up).

Once you have your honours degree you can also 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.

This 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.

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† Additional information about your studies

Please note that for September 2020 the first year of your course will be studied at our Buxton Campus and that all future years of study will be at our Derby Campus. If you are commencing your studies in September 2021 and onwards, you will study the full duration of your course at our Derby campus.

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

Optional 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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5thfor Hospitality, Events & Tourism**The Guardian University Guide 2020