Derby, University of

 

Overall ranking: 103rd out of 124 in the Complete University Guide for 2014.

History: Roots date back to 1851. Before it became a university in 1992 it was the Derbyshire College of Higher Education. It was one of only a couple of colleges of higher education to gain university status in 1992. Merged with the former High Peak College of further education in Buxton in 1998.

Address: The main site, Kedleston Road, is on a hill less than 10 minutes from the city centre and there's also a stunning campus in Buxton.

Ambience: Derby has a 'university quarter' with three main teaching sites - Kedleston Road, Britannia Mill and its new £21m Markeaton Street (for art, design and technology students). Having spent around £75m on its facilities in the last few years, Derby has never looked so good. University accommodation is also nearby, and all the sites are a few minutes from the centre of Derby - officially the 'safest city in the East Midlands'.

Who's the boss? Professor John Coyne, an economist and business guru who has been vice-chancellor since August 2004.

Prospectus: 08701 202 330 or order one here.

UCAS code: D39.

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Entry tariffs have risen significantly for 2012 and most degree courses typically ask for 280-320 UCAS entry points. The average last year was 270 UCAS points. If you're not qualified, Derby also offers foundation degrees which can lead to a degree.

Vital statistics: Around 20,000 students including 14,000 undergrads (full and part-time); overseas and professional students; and about 3,000 further education students on non-degree courses. Vocational courses are the name of Derby's game - business, law, education, design and technology-related courses are strong points. The Buxton campus, 30 miles from Derby, dates back to the 18th century. Being a spa town at the heart of the Peak District it is the ideal place to study spa management, health and beauty and outdoor recreation.

Added value: 'Education with the personal touch’ - small classes, friendly feel and personal tutor system. Through volunteering and placement schemes and its Derby Award in leadership, graduates can add value to their CVs to boost their employability. Over £100m spent on new facilities in recent years, including a £23m campus in Buxton, a £700,000 all-weather pitch, a new £8m business centre and a £450,000 gym. The Britannia Mill opened in November 2012, following a five year £6m project to renovate the 1912 textile mill into a learning space for hundreds. Great legal training facilities including a courtroom, crime scene house, forensic labs and a Crown Court.

Teaching: 62nd out of 124 in the Complete University Guide.

Research: 89th out of 124 in the Research Assessment Exercise.

Graduate prospects: 113th out of 124 with 50.6 per cent finding graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? Derby guarantees a place in halls for first years. Rooms are priced between £92.89 and £115 per week. Package includes free broadband, calls within halls, 24-hour repair service and security. Optional extras include a car parking permit, and bike and canoe storage (the latter at Buxton).

Cheap to live there? Indeed. Private rentals are as wallet-friendly as the university's rooms, at just £75 per week on average (shared house). With the Unibus only £1.70 a trip and similarly good value gym membership, Derby is excellent value for money.

Transport links: Ten minutes from the M1 and on the main line north from St Pancras by train. East Midlands airport nearby. A specially designed and subsidised university ‘Unibus’ service links teaching sites, university residences, private housing areas, bus and railway stations and the city centre.

Fees: The university charges £7,700 per year for classroom-based courses, ranging to £9,000 for a PGCE. Four fee bands offer value for money and include any elements or equipment that are essential to the course e.g. the biology fee includes a dissection kit, lab coat and field trip.

Bursaries: Bursaries of £1,000 for students coming from Buxton College and Leek College. National Scholarship Programme awards of £3,000 are offered to those with high UCAS tariff points of 301 and above (or who are disabled, a care leaver, or from a low-participation post-code), who come from households with an income below £25,000.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Dynamic students' union, with the £500,000 award-winning Academy Bar (opened in 2006) designed by Derby students and featuring plasma screens, pool tables and a DJ booth. Outdoor deck overlooks the new all weather sports pitches and tennis courts. Clubs in Derby city centre run packed student nights. Big nights on campus include the May Ball.

Price of a pint: The union is unbeatable for food and drink deals, but Derby's not too pricey either.

Sporting reputation: Average- 66th in the current BUCS league out of nearly 150 universities and colleges.

Notable societies: Ever wanted to try pole-dancing? Now's your chance with the Derby Treefrogs. For self-confessed 'geeky fun', join the Comic Book, Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Roleplaying group. Or if you're more DJ than nerd, learn to spin discs with DJ and Mix Society. Yes, there's also a Glee Club.

Glittering alumni: Kevin Gratton, head chef at Le Caprice; Silvana Franca, celebrity chef; John Stobart, famous maritime artist; Arnold Machin, designer of the Queen's Head that appears on all British stamps; Agrina Mussa, Her Excellency High Commissioner to South Africa for Malawi; Roger Baker, former chief constable of Essex; John Blakemore, photographer/lecturer who won the Fox Talbot prize.

Alternative prospectus: See how current students rate various aspects of their university experience at Derby on What Uni? here.

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