Impressive facilities, quality teaching, strong industry networks and practical experience that is second to none – these are the hallmarks of our renowned BSc (Hons) International Spa Management.
Blazing a trail with spa management education
With our location in the vibrant spa, wellness and hospitality town of Buxton, it is no surprise that we were the first university to launch a spa management degree.
For over 500 years, tourists have been coming to sample the healing properties of Buxton’s famed spa water. The town is now building on that legacy with the restoration of its magnificent Crescent as the Peak District’s first five-star thermal spa and wellness hotel.
Against this backdrop, we are fostering the next generation of spa management professionals. Our degree sets the bar high, offering a powerful mix of theoretical knowledge, technical skills and work-related experience.
Prepare for a career in a fast-moving global industry
The spa industry is undergoing remarkable growth worldwide. Between 2013 and 2015 alone, 16,000 more spas opened, creating 230,000 new jobs. The industry now represents a global market worth $98.6 billion*.
To meet an urgent demand for new talent in the sector, our degree is designed in consultation with key employers. You will gain high-level skills in delivering professional spa treatments and first class customer service. At the same time, you will develop management and leadership prowess.
We cover all the trends, values and practices shaping the profession today, drawing on global case studies. You will also join a thriving research community, working with our expert staff on projects which influence the industry’s future direction.
*Global Wellness Institute
Ideally placed for success
Work experience – not only in our own commercial spa but also with other employers – is central to the BSc (Hons) International Spa Management. Placements and summer internships give you the chance to improve your professional skills and benefit from workplace mentoring.
If you are taking the four-year course, a formal industry placement lasting nine to 12 months is compulsory between your second and final year. You normally work as a paid employee. While placements are not compulsory on the three-year course, we support you to gain experience during your vacation in paid or voluntary roles.
A successful placement is often a route into a permanent job. One of our 2016 graduates, Melanie Gullett, spent a summer working at the exclusive Walled Garden Spa at Loch Lomond Golf Club and has now taken up a role there.
Learn in a world-class commercial day spa
Acclaimed by students, clients and professionals alike, our Devonshire Spa offers you unparalleled experience. No other university boasts such a highly rated real-world learning environment. In 2016 it was named ‘Day Spa of the Year’ by Professional Beauty magazine.
Featuring a sauna, aroma steam room hydrotherapy pool, ice fountain, reflexology foot baths and hammam, it is an inspirational setting where you will deliver the full range of spa experiences to commercial standards. You will also learn more about the different functions which go into the running of a top-class spa, such as budgeting, human resource management, facilities management and retailing.
Your course fees cover the cost of a uniform plus the spa products you use in practical classes.
Employer links to open doors for you
We work closely with leading spa and hospitality providers, including Macdonald Hotels, Six Senses Hotel Resort Spas, Center Parcs, Handpicked Hotels, Neilson Active Holidays, and the Dorchester Collection. Such collaborations pave the way to workplace visits, guest lectures and employer-led projects.
Prominent industry figures regularly join networking events hosted on our campus, taking the opportunity to talent spot their future recruits. You will attend our annual Buxton Spa and Wellness Conference as a delegate, making valuable contacts with professionals from around the world.
Our students have also been invited to take part in the World Spa and Wellness Convention held annually in London, undertaking research into best practice and provide summaries of the sessions for delegates.
Premium brands at your fingertips
Ours is the only UK university approved to use and retail the full treatment offering of prestigious international brands ishga, Caudalie and [comfort zone]. We also work closely with Jessica and Mii.
There may even be the chance to work as brand ambassadors at events such as the Professional Beauty show in London. One group delivered ishga treatments in the VIP area at the Women’s Open Golf Championships.
To add to your portfolio, you will complete a first aid course, which is included in your fees. Qualifications in Swedish body massage, waxing, manicure and pedicure may also be available, subject to demand and at additional cost.
A strong professional profile
We keep you up to date with latest industry initiatives through our associations with the UK Spa Association, the International Spa Association (ISPA), Global Wellness Summit (GWS) and the International Centre of Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality Education (THE-ICE).
When you join us, you automatically become a member of hosco, the world’s leading hospitality network offering access to around 30,000 graduate roles, internships and work experience opportunities from over 1,500 employers.
A course to take you far
Our programme of fieldtrips will inspire you. Recent examples include a visit to the Roman Bath Museum and Thermae Spa in Bath and a trip to Champneys to explore a prestige spa from a guest perspective. Your course fees cover the cost of two residential fieldtrips.
Optional fieldtrips to spas and resorts overseas broaden your horizons further still, giving you insights into global trends and deepening your inter-cultural awareness. Our students have travelled as far afield as Iceland, Estonia, Hungary and Andorra.
You could even spend part of your course studying abroad via our Go Places, Go Further scheme. Thanks to our partnerships with universities in other countries, you can explore spa management from fresh perspectives and see more of the world.
The BSc (Hons) International Spa Management equips you with a balance of academic, practical and professional skills. You will learn through lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops and applied practice sessions.
Throughout your studies, you will put theory into practice by working in the University’s Devonshire Spa and other commercial environments. Your connections with employers will also be underpinned by guest lectures, industry days, competitions, challenges and the chance to work with various product brands.
If you choose the four-year course, your industrial placement will take between nine and 12 months. It is structured, relevant and designed to improve your academic performance as well as boosting your employability. Our dedicated and well connected placement team will help you find just the right position to match your career aspirations and professional interests.
Our graduates are also well prepared to contribute to new knowledge and understandings for the benefit of the industry. From the outset of the course, you will build research skills. Your final year culminates in an independent study or project where you will plan, deliver and communicate a substantial investigation into a theme of your choice.
Assessment methods include:
- Essays and reports
- Industry case studies
- Oral presentations
- Academic posters
- Group work
- A sustained piece of independent intellectual study
Concerted efforts are being made to bring greater professionalism to the spa industry. Demand is rising for skilled spa professionals with a strong portfolio of qualifications and practical experience. At the same time, the associated wellness industry is on the cusp of becoming a major area of employment in the UK.
Our BSc (Hons) International Spa Management therefore places you in prime position to seize the opportunities ahead. You could progress to roles such as spa manager, spa operations supervisor or head therapist. There are also opportunities in areas like brand account management, marketing and promotion, training and consultancy. Some graduates decide to launch their own businesses, drawing on the enterprise skills they have developed during their studies.
Graduate success stories
Employers often recruit our students immediately – or even before – they have graduated. Among many success stories from our latest group of graduates:
- Sophie Thorne secured her first role as Spa Manager for the Shrewsbury Club under Imagine Spa Management Services
- Lelia Fiastru became an Account Development Executive for Elemis
- Poppy Robinson took up a position as Spa Manager for Bannatynes
- Ieva Glaveckaite is undertaking a management internship with Four Seasons Hotels in Prague
Take your learning to the next level
Once you have achieved your honours degree, you may also want to consider a postgraduate course, such as our MSc International Spa Management which was the first of its kind in the world. Around 10% of our graduates progress directly to the MSc and others choose to return later to upgrade their qualifications and support their move into more senior roles.
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. You can also take full advantage of the hosco careers network to discover opportunities and share good practice with other professionals.
† Additional information about your studies
3 years, or 4 years with optional placement year
Download programme specification
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.
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.