Gemmology - HND

Course Overview

The essential course information

UCAS Code:
Full Time (2 years)
School of Jewellery
Birmingham Institute of Art & Design
School of Jewellery
Course Graphic - Gemmology HND

Gemmology is the study and identification of gem materials, ranging from natural and synthetic gemstones through to imitation.

This highly practical Gemmology HND course takes place within a fully equipped gem lab at the School of Jewellery, enabling you to carry out a range of standard gemmological tests used in the identification of gemstones.

Alongside the core subject of Gemmology runs a series of associated subjects such as jewellery design and production, which complement the subject. As a result you will acquire a combination of skills which are highly sought after in the jewellery trade.

In addition to the HND qualification, this Gemmology course offers you the opportunity to achieve the highly sought after, internationally recognised Gemmology Diploma (FGA) and Diamond Grading Diploma (DGA) awarded by the Gemmological Association in London.

Key Facts

  • Fascinating opportunity to put gem materials under the microscope, from natural and synthetic gemstones through to imitation.
  • A highly practical Gemmology course; a fully equipped gem lab enables you to carry out a range of standard gemmological tests used in the identification of gemstones.
  • Runs alongside a series of complementary subjects such as jewellery design and production, giving you a blend of skills the jewellery trade values.
  • Besides the HND, you can achieve the internationally recognised Gemmology Diploma (FGA) and Diamond Grading Diploma (DGA) awarded by the Gemmological Association in London.
  • A unique and prestigious learning environment - founded in 1890, the internationally renowned School of Jewellery is the largest school of its kind in Europe.
  • The School of Jewellery is based in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter where an estimated 40 per cent of jewellery is made in Britain today - giving you premium exposure to industry practice.

Why Choose Us?

  • We are proud of the excellent student satisfaction scores at Birmingham City University, reflecting our excellent teaching and commitment to putting students at the heart of everything we do - 98 per cent of our Materials and Minerals Technology students were satisfied overall (NSS survey 2013).
  • Explore basic crystallography, the physical and optical properties of gemstones, identification of gemstones, and their uses in jewellery.
  • Also includes an introduction to gemmological equipment and a diamond grading course.
  • In the second year, you follow the Diploma in Gemmology course as set out by the Gemmological Association.
  • Chance to compile a comprehensive reference of gemstones invaluable for your gemmological career.
  • An award-winning building is home to workshops and design studios for all types of precious metals and gems, as well as teaching, library and exhibition space.
  • You’re supported by experienced staff and visiting tutors who share their expertise in gemmology practice, research and design techniques, and inspire through example.
  • Almost 80 per cent of respondents to the National Student Survey praised the enthusiasm of Creative Arts and Design staff, and the clear way they explained their subject.
  • School of Jewellery is part of Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD) - one of the UK’s largest and most prestigious institutes of art, architecture and design education.
  • In the latest Research Assessment Exercise, a total of 60 per cent of BIAD research was judged to be of ‘world-leading’ or internationally excellent quality.
  • The Times Good University Guide 2010 ranks our Art and Design research in the UK’s top 10 – the highest-ranked institution outside London.

Download the Course Programme Specification

Entry Requirements

A good portfolio, plus one of the following:

  • 120 Tariff Points
  • BTEC National Diploma with 120 points (equivalent to PPP)
  • Level 3 Diploma in Foundation Studies (Art and Design)
  • International Baccalaureate with 24 points
  • Equivalent qualification(s) or experience
  • Demonstration and evidence of a sound academic ability

Application Details

Full Time: Apply through UCAS.
UCAS Code: 067W.
Apply via UCAS

Non-EU (International) students:. There are three ways for international students to apply: direct to the University, through a country representative or through UCAS. Please read our guidance on how to apply.

UCAS Information

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2014 FT 2 years HND £6,000 per year
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2014 FT 2 years HND £10,100

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

Additional fees are applicable for Gemmological Association examinations.

Financial Options and Advice

We have deliberately tried to set fees that reflect the cost of course delivery in order to help our students avoid debt.

Full-time students won't have to pay for tuition fees until after their studies - there are government tuition fee loans available. If you are a full-time student, after leaving university you will start to pay back your loan once you are earning over £21,000 a year, at a rate of nine per cent on any income above £21,000. So if you were earning £25,000, you would pay back nine per cent of £4,000, or £30 per month.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis offers key facts on fees, loans and grants:

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

International Students

International Students at BCU

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK. Our reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally–recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Open Days

Saturday 14 June 2014 (9am - 3pm)

Open Day Courses Tab June2014

Our Open Day provides you with the perfect opportunity to visit the University and discover just what we have to offer.

You can learn more about our courses, great teaching and links with leading employers – as well as our £260 million investment in facilities.

There is a non-stop programme of events and activities running throughout the day, so we recommend that you arrive at 9am to ensure you get the most out of the day.

Who is it for?

The day will cover all levels of study but is predominantly for undergraduate courses.

bcyou icon registerRegister to attend the Open Day

University Approach to Employability

Expertly woven into our curriculum and work experience opportunities, and underpinned by a diligent approach to career preparation and the close involvement of professional bodies, the University views employment as one of the principal rewards for a student's ambition, application and academic achievement. It's why the University is one of the country's top 30 universities* for placing students in graduate-level employment.

Our close links with business and the professions mean that our courses are always relevant, up-to-date and meet the exact needs of the current marketplace. Wherever possible, we involve employers in planning the curriculum, while many of our lecturers come from and maintain their links with industry, ensuring they are up to speed with the latest developments.

Employability will be an integral outcome of your studies.

* Sunday Times University Guide 2012

Employment Opportunities

Our graduates work for companies such as Cartier, H&M, Domino and Bicknells.

Career prospects for graduates of the HND Gemmology course are offered by:

  • Wholesale and retail coloured gemstone and diamond buyers
  • Diamond graders
  • Valuers
  • Auction houses
  • Jewellery designers
  • Jewellery manufacturers
  • Retailers.

Further Studies

For further information on courses Tel: +44(0)121 331 5595 or go direct to the courses section of the website.

Full Time

About KIS data

From September 2012, all universities and colleges are publishing standardised information for all undergraduate courses in the form of a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS data is designed to meet the needs of prospective students and allow for informed decision-making when choosing a university course.

Putting our students first

We pride ourselves on our student satisfaction levels which have risen from 73 per cent to 83 per cent between 2010 and 2012. Our dedication to improving the student experience is illustrated by our award-winning student engagement, our close links with business and industry and our £180 million investment in new facilities.

Employability facts

90.8 per cent of leavers from the School of Jewellery who responded went into either employment and/or further study. The average full-time salary was £18,100. Cartier and Goldsmiths were just some of the companies hiring graduates from the School, in positions such as watchmaker and diamond specialist.

Working with your Students’ Union

Improving student satisfaction is a priority commitment shared by both Birmingham City University and its Students’ Union. In its strategic planning, the Union has pledged to be more accessible, more relevant and provide more opportunity to engage with a diverse student community.

The Students’ Union is already a key stakeholder in supporting an excellent teaching experience at Birmingham City University, through joint projects such as the Extra Mile Teaching Awards and the Student Rep scheme, which allows students to share their ideas on how they are taught.

As Birmingham City University moves towards a two campus strategy where it can better support enhanced learning and student support facilities across a two-mile radius, the Students’ Union will also be better able to implement its commitment to improve communication and engage with its valued student membership.

Course Structure

In your first year on the HND Gemmology course you'll cover aspects such as basic crystallography, the physical and optical properties of gemstones, identification of gemstones, discussion of their fashioning and uses in jewellery, an introduction to gemmological equipment and a diamond grading course. These give you plenty of opportunity to put your gem testing skills to use.

In the second year you’ll follow the Diploma in Gemmology course as set out by the Gemmological Association, taking your skills learnt in the first year to an advanced level. You’ll also compile a comprehensive reference of gemstones to assist in your gemmological careers, subsequent to completing the course.

Active encouragement is given at each level to undertake the professional examinations of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, leading to the internationally recognised FGA and DGA awards.

"We particularly liked the diamond grading classes and the opportunity to handle so many different varieties of gemstones."
Edward Feeder and Maxwell Burden HND Gemmology

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. It’s no surprise that the Complete University Guide placed us in the UK top 10 for spending on facilities in both 2012 and 2013.


Prospective students from the UK or EU
  • Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to a range of questions about our courses and studying here.
  • If you need further help, you can contact the Course Enquiries Team online by using the Course Enquiry Form.
  • Alternatively, call us on +44 (0)121 331 5595.
Prospective students from non-EU countries
  • International enquirers from non-EU countries may enquire via the International Enquiry Form.
  • Alternatively, call us +44 (0)121 331 6714.


For an overview of our undergraduate courses and a range of other information order a printed Prospectus or download a PDF of our Prospectus (16Mb).