Year Zero explained

Rodger Brown, Programme Leader for Year Zero Art & Design at the University of Derby, takes us through what a Year Zero is, answering the most frequently asked questions and explaining how beneficial undertaking one can be for anyone pursuing a career in a creative industry.

Whilst employment in the UK creative industries is growing at four times the rate of the UK workforce as a whole, we know that more and more schools and colleges are cutting back on their creative arts subjects so there are fewer opportunities for young people to study art subjects at A-level. The arts Year Zero means you don’t have to miss out on studying an arts degree just because you couldn’t or didn’t study arts at A-level.

What is Year Zero?

Think of it as a one-year bridging course to get you up to the right academic standards to take a degree. It’s designed for students who have the ability to take a degree but not the right qualifications. The great thing at the University of Derby is that Year Zero students are fully integrated into university life and the student community from day one. Our progression rates onto the full degree are high; we work hard to ensure every student reaches their full potential.

A fall-back plan

With A-level and BTEC results days fast approaching the arts Year Zero is a great fall-back option for those who are concerned they won’t get the grades but are keen to study an arts degree with us.

A passion for the arts

At the University of Derby we are looking for talented creative artists – people with a passion and a skill in the arts. The arts Year Zero is one of the largest and most comprehensive programmes of its kind in the Midlands. It provides a smooth transition to wide range of art degree courses and offers a year in which to gain the fundamental knowledge, critical awareness and practical skills which are essential for all arts degree students. Our emphasis is on building your confidence and developing your creative potential. Students are supported by a dedicated team of professional creative staff, and are taught in stimulating studio environments where they you can explore and experiment with materials, processes and ideas.

Will studying an Arts Year Zero mean I am behind other students?

Not at all – many arts Year Zero students out-perform students who take the traditional degree. Many go on to get firsts, are brilliant ambassadors for the University.

What are the alternatives to a Year Zero?

You could study an Access to Higher Education Diploma at Buxton and Leek College which is part of the University of Derby. You will study at Leek School of Arts and after one year will be awarded the nationally recognised, Access to Higher Education Diploma which means you can then to apply to an arts course at the University of Derby.

However if your heart is set on coming to the University of Derby and studying a particular arts course, the Year Zero is ideal. You can join Derby’s School of Arts at the same time as your friends, and graduate with a high value degree.

What are the downsides?

The only downside is that you will be studying for four years, instead of three and so will have an extra year’s tuition fees and living costs to cover. However, the same student finance package applies to the arts Year Zero as the standard three-year degree so you’ll be able to apply for the usual loans and grants.

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