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.

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.

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 in the magnificent surroundings of the grade II* listed Devonshire Dome at our Buxton campus.

The Dome is a popular venue for dining and events, featuring a fine dining restaurant, a bistro and two licensed bars. We have seven state-of-the-art kitchens – including a induction powered kitchen reflecting latest industry trends – plus mobile equipment for off-site events and pop-up restaurants.

Challenging projects, inspiring events

Throughout the FdA Professional Culinary Arts, you will deliver, supervise and manage fine dining, off-site catering and event catering. One of the highlights of the year is the Buxton graduation ceremony where you will work alongside our Events and Hospitality students to plan, host and cater for guests.

Other real-world projects will see you working with national hotel chains, international corporations and Peak District 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

To complete the FdA Professional Culinary Arts, you'll study modules such as: 

  • Academic Study Skills
  • Contemporary Catering Business
  • Skills and Processes 1
  • International Cuisine
  • Nutrition and Wellbeing
  • Professional Kitchen Operations 1
  • Research Skills
  • Advanced Bakery and Pastry Techniques
  • Food and fermentation Science
  • Exploring the Meal Experience
  • Larder and Kitchen Skills and Processes 2
  • Professional Kitchen Operations 2

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.

Smiling girl with scarf sitting in cafe with cup of coffee

Find out more about Professional Culinary Arts

The best way to find out if studying at Derby is right for you is to experience an Open Day. Get a feel for the city and campus, tour our first-class facilities and see where you could be living.

Book your Open DayBook your Open Day

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. 

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

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. 

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, based at the University of Derby's Buxton Campus.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

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

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.


You might also like

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