Learn how to use the arts in a positive and therapeutic way on this innovative course.
- Choose to specialise in art, dance, drama or music so that you build a degree tailored to your personal interests and ambitions
- Develop professional and personal skills for fulfilling careers in a wide range of arts, health, social care and educational settings
- Gain exciting practical experience through ten-week work placements with our partner organisations
- Advance to one of our acclaimed masters degrees if you would like to register and go into practice as an arts therapist.
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 Therapies 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.
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.
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)
- Expressive Drama (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)
- Stories and Characters (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).
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.
- 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.
September 2019 typical entry requirements
|UCAS points||112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)|
|Specific requirements at A-level|
No specific subject requirements
|Specific requirements at GCSE||GCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification|
|Interview / Audition||Yes - see interview details|
Alternative entry qualifications:
- BTEC - DMM
- Access to HE Diploma - 60 credits: 45 at level 3 with a minimum of Dist: 15 Merit: 24 Pass: 6
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.
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.
You could also continue to postgraduate studies if you have ambitions to become an arts therapist, social worker or teacher.
Opportunities for further study
If you would like to register and practice as an arts therapist, we offer exciting masters-level courses to help you achieve your ambitions. With Music Therapy joining our portfolio in 2017, we believe we are the only university in the country to offer such a comprehensive range of postgraduate courses in this field. You can consider the:
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.
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
† Additional information about your studies
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.
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
- Essential equipment for all practical workshops (e.g art materials and tools, musical instruments and drama props)
- DBS check
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- Students may purchase additional resources for placement activities, dependent on the nature of what they choose to deliver
- Students will need their own waterproofs, wellies etc for the environmental sculpture event
- Students may wish to purchase specific props and/or outfits for performances
- Art materials beyond those supplied for specialist teaching e.g. large volumes of clay, large canvases and specialist paint/ brushes, textiles/fabrics - especially for final year work
- Students are expected to fund-raise to finance the production of the booklet supporting their final exhibition or performance, and refreshments for the opening evening
- Students with specialist musical instruments beyond those available in the University
Optional costs not included in your fees
- Students may opt to engage in international trips and activities that are not fully funded, though bursaries may be avaialable
- Optional outings and trips will also require self-funding
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.