Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: Up to 6 years

UK fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

112 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code

W191 Art, W590 Dance, W490 Drama, W391 Music

Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Markeaton Street, Derby Campus
Kedleston Road and Britannia Mill, Derby Campus

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

Course description

Learn how to use the arts in a positive and therapeutic way on this innovative course.

Rachel Hoare, BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Therapies, tells us about her experience on the course and her final work at The Big Show 2015

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? Our pioneering BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing shows you how.

Select your pathway to success

This is the only course of its kind in the UK to offer four distinct pathways in art, dance, drama and music. It gives you the chance to develop your skills and express yourself in the art form of your choice through specialist studio sessions, performances and exhibition work.

At the same time, you’ll learn about the huge potential of the arts to promote physical and emotional wellbeing. We explore how creativity can be applied therapeutically in community, voluntary, health, education and corporate settings. We also look at different therapeutic principles and the meanings of health and illness in the context of historical and cultural values.

Real world learning in action

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.

In stage three of the course, you’ll undertake a ten-week placement. Thanks to our thriving partnerships, you could gain experience with arts groups, hospitals, hospices, schools, charities or organisations supporting adults and children with disabilities. Some students broaden their experience by focussing on a different art form on placement – so dancers might work in art organisations and vice versa.

Many of our students take part in collaborative projects in the wider community. They have, for instance, 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’ll undertake a substantial amount of group work where you can reflect on your own personal development, awareness and communication skills. You’ll 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 team after graduation and ensure the best possible outcomes for your clients and service users.

Following your undergraduate degree, if you want to take your passion for the arts further, you will be able to apply for one of our specialist post graduate courses. Our Art Therapy, Dramatherapy, Dance Movement Psychotherapy and Music Therapy courses allow you to deepen your knowledge and become a specialist in your field.

An inspiring study experience

You will hone your skills in our superb facilities, including dedicated art, dance, drama and music studios for therapeutic arts on the top floor of our Britannia Mill site. Our dance students can also extend their repertoire at Déda, the only dedicated dance house in the region.

We offer guest lectures by leading professionals in the field and you’ll also take part in environmental sculpture workshops, visiting Big Wood on the outskirts of Derby to help you think beyond the studio space.

Pursue your personal interests

Your course will culminate in an independent study which allows you to explore themes of your own choosing and gives you a platform to showcase your talent to potential employers.

It could take the form of a dissertation or a research project with a literature review. Alternatively you could deliver a body of work featuring a drama, dance or music performance or an art exhibition, together with supportive written work.

Our students cover a vast array of subjects for this project. Recent examples have explored whether graffiti is vandalism or art, how parents affect a child’s creativity, and whether hang-sound sculptures can be used as a therapeutic tool.

What you will study

You'll study modules such as:

  • Human Development and Creativity‌
  • Effective Interaction‌
  • Expression and the Arts‌
  • Working Creatively with People 1‌
  • Skills for success

And you'll choose one specialist pathway module from the following:

  • Visual Art‌ (Art Pathway)
  • Dance Making: Physicality, Choreography and Technique‌ (Dance Pathway)
  • Stories and Characters (Drama Pathway)
  • Music and Musicianship 1‌ (Music Pathway)
  • Wellbeing and Society
  • Inter-personal Development‌
  • Working Creatively with People 2‌

And you'll take two modules from your chosen specialist pathway:

  • Visual Art 2‌ (Art Pathway)
  • Image of Self‌ (Art Pathway)
  • Dance Making: Choreography as Creative Story‌ (Dance Pathway)
  • Expressive Drama (Drama Pathway)
  • Music and Musicianship 2‌ (Music Pathway)
  • Performance‌ (Music, Dance and Drama Pathways)
  • Working Creatively on Placement‌
  • Independent scholarship

And you'll take one module from your chosen specialist pathway:

  • Statement as Image‌ (Art Pathway)
  • Dance Production‌ (Dance Pathway)
  • Dramatic Body and Applied Drama 4 (Drama Pathway)
  • Music and Musicianship 3‌ (Music Pathway).

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 Creative Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing

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 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. Placements are a key part of your learning experience too.

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.

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:

Dr James Williams

James is the Programme Leader for this programme, and Senior Lecturer in Therapeutic Arts (Music) teaching composition, improvisation and performance. James studied music at the University of Bristol and at the University of Edinburgh before moving to the University of Wolverhampton to read for a PhD funded by a Dean's doctoral scholarship award. His research interests focus on an anthropology of music, investigating the behavioural, social, creative and collaborative processes behind music-making. His research rests on ethnomusicological methodologies and socio-cultural modes of music analysis, exploring notational, improvisational, and electronic/electroacoustic technological practices in music. James's post-doctoral research explores digital musicology and ethnographies of online music-based social media. Themes include virals, memes, politics and online behaviour/culture.

Dr Clive Holmwood

Our Admissions Tutor is a registered dramatherapist who has worked in a broad range of clinical and non-clinical settings. Clive is an active researcher who publishes widely, most recently as co-editor of The International Handbook of Dramatherapy and as author of Drama Education and Dramatherapy: the space between disciplines based on his doctoral research.

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
IELTS6.5 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionYes - see interview details


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.

An Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service certificate cleared by the University is required for this course. We will contact you with information on how to complete this once you have applied. More information.

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*

£1,155 per module*


£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 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
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


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.

Our graduates 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.

Programme leader

Dr James Williams

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, 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

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.

Minimum numbers

Please note that this course is subject to minimum numbers in order to run.

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