Undergraduate Course

Creative Expressive Arts and Health Practice

MArts (Hons)

Course details

Study options

Full-time: 4 years, Part-time: 7 years

UK fee

£9,250 per year (2023/24)

International fee

£14,900 per year (2023/24)

UCAS points

112-120 (September 2024 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



MArts (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road and Britannia Mill, Derby Campus

Course description

Learn how to use the arts as a tool to work with others in a positive and therapeutic way on this innovative course.

The course will give you the opportunity to develop a range of specific and transferable skills that are applicable in a wide range of settings where you will work with people using the arts; or in contexts where engaging with people is a focus; whether this is in employment or further study. You will learn with and from tutors who are experienced practitioners and researchers in the field; as well as our community partners, who will offer a real-world experience, helping you to develop your employability.

Through this integrated masters course you’ll progress towards autonomous working as a professional, as you undertake an individual piece of extended scholarship and a challenging, in-depth project in community. Both are supported through tutorials with academic members of staff at the University.

Your independent work in these areas will be underpinned by in-depth exploration of how approaches to research and research skills are applied in a range of contexts for arts and health practice. Additionally, you will develop skills in applying creative approaches in coaching and mentoring others and facilitating as well as participating in reflective practice.

Take a tour of our facilities

Go beyond the classroom with the latest equipment, technology and study spaces to bring your learning to life. Have a look around our Therapeutic Arts facilities in our Virtual Open Day tour.

View Therapeutic Arts - virtual tour video transcript

If the arts have played a vital role in your own personal development, why not harness your creativity to make a difference in other people’s lives? 

This programme offers you opportunities to develop your skills and express yourself in the art form of your choice through specialist studio sessions, performances and exhibition work. Playful exploration of all art forms will empower you in applying the arts as a tool when working with others to promote physical and emotional wellbeing.

We explore how the arts and creativity can be applied therapeutically in community, voluntary, health, educational, and corporate settings. We also look at different therapeutic principles and the meanings of health and illness in the context of historical, societal, and cultural values, and the role of the arts in meeting personal and community goals and needs.

Real-world learning in action

At every level of study, we offer exciting opportunities for you to put your skills into practice – and make more informed decisions about your future career path – through work placements and community projects.

Thanks to our thriving partnerships, you will have opportunities to work in our local community at every stage of study, with an extended period of placement at Level 7. You could gain experience with arts groups, hospitals, hospices, schools, charities, or organisations supporting adults and children with disabilities. This is a fantastic opportunity to work creatively using multiple art forms to make a difference to the lives of your participants.

Many of our students take part in collaborative projects in the wider community and have devised and led drama sessions for prison inmates; run creative arts workshops for people with brain injuries; and toured schools with programmes aimed at tackling bullying and peer pressure.

Gain ‘career-ready’ skills

You will undertake a substantial amount of groupwork where you can reflect on your own personal development, awareness, and communication skills. You will also also gain experience of leadership, coaching, and group processes which will be invaluable in your future career.

There are opportunities for you to learn with, and from, students from other disciplines. This will prepare you to work in a multi-professional and multi-disciplinary teams after graduation, and ensure the best possible outcomes for your clients and service users.

An inspiring study experience

You will hone your skills in our superb facilities, including dedicated art, dance, drama, and music studios for therapeutic arts.

We offer guest lectures by leading professionals in the field, and you will also take part in environmental, site-specific arts workshops, as part of the ‘Big Wood’ project, based on the outskirts of Derby, to help you think beyond studio spaces.

Pursue your personal interests

Your course will culminate in an Independent study which allows you to explore areas of your own choosing within the applied arts & health subject area, whilst also offering a platform to demonstrate your academic and/or creative talents to potential employers.

This will be a piece of empirical research (where you gather and analyse data) where you might choose to focus on a topic of interest in the community or to conduct a personal Body of Work.  

Dancers in colourful costumes perform abstract movements

Mindfulness movement

Senior Lecturer Dave Home travelled around the work enriching lives beyond the classroom.

Follow Dave's journeyFollow Dave's journey

What you will study

You'll study modules such as:

  • The Healthy Practitioner
  • Effective Communication
  • Human Development and Play
  • Working Creatively with Groups
  • Arts, Culture and Wellbeing
  • The Creative Self
  • The Developing Practitioner
  • Concept of Self
  • Working Creatively with People 2
  • Interpersonal Development
  • Wellbeing and Society
  • Groupwork in Community Placement
  • The Emerging Practitioner
  • The Professional Self
  • Creative Mentoring and Reflective Practice
  • Researching, Monitoring and Evaulating Practice 
  • Advanced Arts and Health Practice
  • The Professional Practitioner 
  • Arts and Health Independent Scholarship

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.

Kedleston Road, Derby Campus entrance

Undergraduate Open Days

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 Undergraduate Open DayBook your Undergraduate Open Day

How you will learn

The course balances classroom-based theory with practical sessions involving studio, performance and exhibition work. The focus is on developing your transferable skills so that you can adapt to varied and changing circumstances. 

Our diverse range of teaching and learning strategies are all intended to support you as a learner in developing your skills and understanding of the potential of the arts and creativity in promoting human lifelong development, health and wellbeing. Additionally, these approaches encourage you to refine and further develop your expertise as an artist, whilst applying and offering critical consideration of relevant theories.

The taught components of the curriculum are designed to allow you to take responsibility for your own learning; with self-awareness and reflection as central to your development. You are invited to participate in a range of learning activities that help you to develop your academic and practical skills, which you will then apply in a real-world context, working in community settings in placements. You are encouraged throughout to recognise and promote your skills and strengths, as well as exploring areas that you wish to develop. A diverse range of activities is on offer, to enable you in developing the wide range of skills, knowledge and understanding that you will need in order to adapt to the changing landscape of practice.

Throughout the course, you have access to guidance and advice from a personal tutor and will also benefit from academic skills sessions.

How you are assessed

You’ll be assessed in many ways to help you develop a compelling variety of skills. These include essays, exhibitions, performances, reflective journals and diaries, videos and production projects.

You will complete two extended pieces of critical writing. There is an option of reflective writing or a professional discussion, plus a critical report along with a research proposal.

We support you to view assessment as an additional learning opportunity, with assessments that are selected to reflect real-world practice and ensure you have adequate learning in working with people to be a safe and effective practitioner.

Who you will meet

You'll learn from highly experienced teachers who are committed to your success. All specialists in their field, they include active researchers, authors and industry practitioners with outstanding professional networks. We pride ourselves on offering a supportive and engaging learning environment.

The team includes Programme Leader, Dr James Williams and Dr Clive Holmwood.

The team also includes Keziah Smith, a qualified Art Psychotherapist who lectures on the MA Art Therapy and BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing programmes. Keziah has worked in a variety of settings including for the NHS within CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) and within specialist residential services with young people who have experienced significant trauma and those that care for them. More recently Keziah has set up mental health support within schools, working therapeutically with both young people and school based staff, as well as providing training, consultation and supervision.

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

Dr James Williams
Programme leader

James Williams is a Senior Lecturer in Therapeutic Arts (Music) teaching composition, improvisation, and performance. James is the Programme Leader for BA (Hons) CET and previously lectured in Music Composition for four years at the University of Hertfordshire where he taught music theory and perspectives on electroacoustic and electronic composition.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

2024 entry

These are the typical qualification requirements for September 2024 entry. Contextual offers may apply to students who meet certain criteria.

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112-120
A LevelBBB-BBC (No subject specific requirements at A-level or equivalent, however applicants need to demonstrate proficiency in the arts)
T LevelMerit
GCSEAt least five GCSEs (or equivalent) including English at grade 4/C or above
Access to HEPass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 with a minimum of Distinction: 15, Merit: 24, Pass: 6

Offers will be made initially based on your application, including predicted grades and/or grades you have already achieved. You may be given the opportunity, within your offer letter, to submit a portfolio. If you submit a strong portfolio we will make you an unconditional offer, to reflect the quality of your work and your potential.

Additional entry requirements

English language requirements

IELTS: 6.0 (with at least 5.5 in each skills area)

Fees and funding



£9,250 per year

£1,155 per 20 credit module


£14,900 per year


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

Additional costs and optional extras



£9,250 per year

£1,155 per 20 credit module


£14,900 per year


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

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

UK students

If you are in Year 13 and applying for a full-time undergraduate course (including our joint honours courses), we recommend that you apply through UCAS.

Apply through UCAS

If you are applying to study part-time, or already have your qualifications, or wish to join at Year 2 or 3, you should apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University


You’ll develop transferable skills which enable you to work creatively with people in a range of different settings, drawing on your knowledge of art, dance, drama or music.

Graduates from our BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing course have gone on to work in community arts, voluntary organisations, health, education and the corporate sector. Some have set up their own businesses.

Ongoing careers support

Our Careers and Employment Service will provide you with help, guidance and support from day one of your course – and for up to three years after you’ve completed your studies.

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

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.

The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.

Included in your fees
Mandatory costs not 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.

Discover Uni

This is a new course so the data displayed via Discover Uni is for students studying in another subject area.


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