Horology - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
W723
Attendance:
Full Time (3 years)
Starting:
September 2019
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Discover new designs and materials, discuss the theory behind clocks and watches, and develop specialist skills with our Horology degree, one of the only courses of its kind.

You will enhance your skills of servicing and restoration to industry standard, as well as using Computer Aided Design (CAD) and rapid prototyping to explore different methods and designs.

What's covered in the course?

Our unique undergraduate Horology course will enable you to study clocks and watches, both mechanical and electronic, as well as assessing the art and science of time measurement.

Combining traditional craftsmanship with the latest technology, this course looks at the theory of horology, as well as providing you with valuable practical skills. You’ll examine the history of timekeeping, how clocks and watches work, and how they are designed, providing you with the restoration skills that are in demand within the industry.

The course uses industry-standard software, such as the Solidworks CAD package, to teach design and technical drawing skills, as well as both traditional and modern niche skills of repair, conservation and restoration. Our workshops give you access to timing and testing equipment, as well as machine tools, including advanced five-axis milling and engine turning equipment.

Our reputation and staff connections mean that our professional links are outstanding. We have unique industry partnerships with luxury goods brands, such as Cartier Richemont (UK), who own the brands IWC, Panerai, Piaget, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Baume et Mercier and Montblanc.

We also boast a partnership with Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), and have recently joined forces with established UK brand Christopher Ward. All these offer work placements, one-to-one mentoring and the chance to develop technical skills in a commercial environment.

You’ll study at our internationally-renowned School of Jewellery, in the heart of Birmingham’s famous working Jewellery Quarter. Our Vittoria Street building mixes the modern with the classical, and includes workshops, a specialist library, an atrium gallery and exhibition space.

Why Choose Us?

  • Our outstanding industry links include Swatch, Rolex, Christopher Ward, Time In Hand, Richard Higgins Conservation and the British Museum.
  • You will be supported by experienced staff and visiting tutors, who inspire through example and share their expertise in practice, research and design techniques.
  • We boast unique partnerships with luxury goods brands LVMH and CartierUK, part of the Richemont group, give you the chance to undertake placements, mentoring and develop technical expertise in a commercial setting.
  • You will have the opportunity to gain the professional accreditation of the British Horological Institute.
  • We have a strong employability record, with all of our students getting offers of work often within days of graduating.
  • Founded in 1890, our internationally-renowned School of Jewellery is the largest in Europe, located in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter.

To welcome all new home and EU undergraduate degree students starting in 2018 or 2019, we're giving at least £150 worth of credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials. Even better, it doesn’t have to be repaid. Terms and conditions apply.

Find out more

This course is open to International students

School of Jewellery

Discover the School of Jewellery

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Philippe Patek
  • Swatch
  • Cartier

And in jobs such as:

  • Watch technician
  • Clockmaker/restorer
  • Museum curator

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Essential Requirements
Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements
GCE A Level/ AS Level BBC at A-Level or 112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A-Levels
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2. Must be in a relevant subject pathway
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) D*D* or combined with other Level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DMM - 112 UCAS points
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) D* or combined with other Level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design Distinction
International Baccalaureate Diploma

Obtain a minimum of 28 points overall. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 14 points or above from three higher level subjects and alongside other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 112 UCAS Tariff Points.

Irish Leaving Certificate Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in four Higher level subjects.
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher Achieve a minimum of 112 tariff points. Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades CCD. Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of CD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of CC in two Highers). Where only Highers have been taken a minimum of (BBCCC) are required.
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) Grade Pass plus grades CC at A-Level (or equivalent qualifications) combined with 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Extra information for EU/International students
Essential
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2018/19
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).

In addition to the above, applicants will also need:

English Group A - Grade 4 or above
OR
English Group B and Ab Initio - Grade 5

Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

International Students

Entry requirements here

 

International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

If your application is shortlisted you will be invited to attend an interview. This will give us the opportunity to ensure a good fit between you and the course in terms of your interests and aspirations.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 3 years £12,300 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

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

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

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Portfolio Guidance

It is important to note that you are not required to create a portfolio as part of your application. However, bringing one along with you to your interview would be useful as a point of reference, not only to show your Horological interest but to act as a window into your mind and your ability.

Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips and advice on putting your portfolio together.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

View additional costs for this course

Additional costs

The additional costs listed at the bottom of the page are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

Worried about personal statements?

Worried about personal statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

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

Year one

During your first year, you will be introduced to a broad range of horological studies, theory and technical skills, building a sound base for further study in years two and three.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):
Introduction to Horology
20 credits

Horology is often described as an “Art and a Science”. This module is an introduction to the story of horology and its part in global civilisation from the pre-historic to the modern era and will help you contextualise your practice.

This module will provide fundamental “knowledge and understanding” of the principles of horology through a series of lectures, exercises, and assignments which will help you begin to develop your skill of critical analysis, essential for you future studies.

Download the full module specification

Production Techniques
40 credits

Professional horologists have a highly developed sense of precision and accuracy. This module is designed to develop your craft skills in design, manufacture and fabrication whilst acquiring an appreciation for the “pursuit of excellence” expected by the horological industry.

Through practice, investigation and evaluation you will develop your technical ability which will increase your employability. This module will also help you to develop key transferrable project management qualities ranging from personal motivation and scheduling skills to risk management and project recovery.

Download the full module specification

Specialist Horological Skills
40 credits

The purpose of this employability driven module is to develop professional attributes, and subject related skills. You will develop the practical and professional skills which you will need in your future employment. Course content will be delivered at Practice-led, knowledge-applied teaching sessions, with emphasis on the link between theory practice.

Download the full module specification

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:

CAD for Bespoke Production
20 credits

In this module, you will learn how to use Computer Aided Design (CAD) as a tool for supporting and supplementing traditional bench skills. This module will introduce you to the very basics, quickly building up your skills and allowing you to design and develop sophisticated 3D digital models which are suitable for production through the myriad of new technologies becoming increasing available in Computer Aided Manufacture.

Download the full module specification

Introduction to Gemmology
20 credits

The science of gemmology is inextricably linked with jewellery, and an understanding of gemstones is essential for anyone involved in the manufacturing, repairing, buying or selling of fine jewellery. Today’s professional gemmologists face constant challenges as advances in synthetic gemstones and gemstone treatments become ever more sophisticated.

Download the full module specification

 
Please note list of optional modules is indicative only. Students’ choice will not be guaranteed for optional modules but a fair and transparent process will be adopted and shared with students.

Year two

During your second year, you will be introduced to further theoretical study of horological mechanisms, and advanced design and technical skills.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):
Commercial Servicing Skills
40 credits

In line with the program philosophy of pursuing excellence, this module will enable you to develop the practical & professional skills alongside the knowledge & understanding required to become a professional horologist, by practicing and mastering skill based competencies and requirements of the global industry and so enhance your employability potential.

Download the full module specification

Advanced Production Techniques
40 credits

This module will introduce you to various techniques and processes that have particular relevance to the production and/or finishing of horological components, whilst enhancing your knowledge and understanding, the module will also develop the key transferable skill of acquiring new competencies Traditional and emerging technologies will be explored through a series of exercises, enhancing workshop skill based practise and so employability.

Download the full module specification

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Commercial Awareness
20 credits

This module will introduce you to various techniques and processes that have particular relevance to the production of a Business Plan, a key planning tool both in terms of understanding or developing a business but also with relevance to day to day life skills.

Download the full module specification

Luxury Jewellery Branding
20 credits

This module allows you to start thinking about the idea of luxury and how it can be defined. You will consider the luxury sector of the market and explore the global significance of luxury jewellery brands. You will consider the significance of brand heritage and observe visual merchandising and customer behaviour associated with British luxury culture.

Download the full module specification

Live Project
20 credits

This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by an external client/ agency, in consultation with your supervisor, and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation.

It is an opportunity for you to engage in a professional manner with an aspect of your subject area, which contributes to the development of employability skills within the supportive infrastructure of the University. Where appropriate, the project may involve interdisciplinary collaboration with students from other courses. In this way, it reflects the collaborative, flexible nature of employment within the Creative Industries.

Download the full module specification

Work placement
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and ADM Careers+.

Download the full module specification

 
Please note list of optional modules is indicative only. Students’ choice will not be guaranteed for optional modules but a fair and transparent process will be adopted and shared with students.

Year three

During your final year, you will be introduced to further theoretical study of horological mechanisms, and advanced design and technical skills. Greater employability skills are developed, alongside the production of a 'masterpiece' that will summarise and demonstrate your knowledge and skills acquisition.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
Major Project
60 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.

Download the full module specification

Employment Skills
60 credits

This module will enable you to further develop the practical & professional skills required to become a professional horologist, by practicing and mastering complex skill based competencies required by the global industry, and so enhance your employability potential.

Download the full module specification

Studied full-time over three years, the course is practice-led, with the majority of your assessment via coursework. You will also undertake exams, some of a practical nature to align with industry experience.

Taught by practising horologists, you’ll study 10 modules, enabling you to secure a degree-level Horology qualification, as well as providing you with the specialist skills that the horology industry actively seeks.

In your first year, we will guide you through a series of exercises that will develop your practical competency, as well as the understanding of the evolution of horology mechanisms. You will also develop CAD design skills to assist you with your projects.

The second year of the course builds on your knowledge and skillset by gradually increasing the complexity of servicing and manufacturing techniques.

For your final year, you will produce a student ‘masterpiece’ that will showcase the skills you’ve learnt across the Horology course. This will help you unite your theoretical understanding in a physical object, as well as enabling you to build a portfolio of restoration and repairs, showcasing your skills.

Teaching and learning activities

All of our students bring a wealth of experience to the course, with all year groups working in a shared workshop environment to develop key communication and groupwork skills.

Individual projects begin with the acquisition of essential competencies in the first and second years of the course and culminate in range from bespoke designed timepieces in the final year.

You will work on practical projects that are all horologically themed, and you’ll be encouraged to explore different design and production techniques while maintaining the essential qualities of horological production.


Student work

Horology students Students have produced numerous prize-winning pieces of work. For example, Rosie Kirk and James Harris have had their work exhibited at the Science Museum in London. 

Rosie went on to win a Young Talent Prize at Baselword 2016 for her clock, which she made during her final year. 

James Harris’s created an 8 day timepiece with tourbillion.

Accreditation

The British Horological Institute (BHI), the body that represents UK Hhorologists alongside the British Watch and Clockmakers Guild, has acknowledged the significance of the degree education and will now confer professional membership status on Birmingham City University CU graduates in Horology a minimum of a 2.2, provided they can meet the BHI standards for servicing.

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further study

We are currently designing an MA pathway for Horology for those that wish to continue their studies in the subject, and hope to have this in place for 2017-18. 

Horology Feature Box Image

Showcase your work to the industry

We have an excellent relationship with key members from industry who visit the show on a yearly basis, awarding prizes and giving students an excellent opportunity to create key contacts for your career.

Read more 

Trip and visits

We undertake numerous trips throughout the year to significant horological exhibitions, particular sites of horological interest and to specialist employers, gaining insight into the real world of employment. Importantly, we are very open to suggestions! Previous destinations have included The Great Clock of Westminster, the British Museum, the Museum of the History of Science, Cartier workshops, Sinclair Harding and the LVMH Service Centre.

Enhancing Employability skills

The course is not just about the acquisition of a set of specialist skills; we also develop key transferable skills, all of which will enhance your employability prospects.

With a degree-level qualification, you’ll be able to enter the employment market at graduate level, with essential skills in communication, presentation and problem solving.

The course is delivered through a variety of formats, including e-learning, formal lectures, tutorials and self- directed studies. One-to-one staff contact and group work enables the free exchange of knowledge and experience. 

Placements

Following extensive negotiations we are delighted to state that the servicing centres run by LVMH, Cartier UK and Christopher Ward all offer opportunities for our Horology students to gain work experience.

Student stories - Rosie Kirk

Third year Horology student Rosie Kirk is specialising in clock repair. She did a summer placement at London’s British Museum and hopes to one day own her own clock restoration business.

"I think the inner-workings of clocks are beautiful," said Rosie. "My time at the British Museum was fascinating, I even got to help with the conservation of some of the clocks, which is such a delicate process."

Student stories - Andrew Law

Andrew Law completed a seven-week placement with Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, which services TAG Heuer watches. "It was an amazing experience. They let us experience every aspect of the workshop. I found it really inspiring."

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Links to Industry

Our course was designed in close collaboration with the BHI, with the Service Centres run by Cartier UK, LVMH and through constant ongoing conversations with specialist restoration and manufacturing businesses, like Sinclair Harding, as well as the Clock Clinic in Putney, where the owner, an alumni of the University, regularly appears on ‘Antiques Roadshow’. 


Graduate stories

Rebecca and Craig Struthers

Rebecca and Craig Struthers

During their time at the University, husband and wife Craig and Rebecca started their own watchmaking company, called Struthers London, using traditional skills to create 21st century designs. Rebecca said:

Rebecca and Craig went on to Master's courses with the School of Art before securing a prestigious contract with Morgan Motor Company to make bespoke watches. They have recently been named as Alumni of the Year.

Firewalking

BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

A wide range of employment is available in the horological world. Graduates go on to positions with major watch brand servicing centres, small bespoke restoration businesses, museums and specialist auction houses.

Our Graduates

We are proud of our graduates’ achievements. Our graduates work with Richard Mille, Omega, Roger Smith and the British Museum, all using their degrees and their knowledge to full potential.

Horology - symposium

Mini-symposium

As part of the School of Jewellery Employability Week, Horology students across all years were given the opportunity to take part in a mini symposium focused on the role of conservation in modern horology.

Read more 

Student stories – Thomas Mason

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

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.

The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.

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

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

An international subject

Horology is an international subject, our graduates have gone on to work all over the world.  Our students have come from as far afield as the Far East, or as close as Northern Europe. We try to support students from all over the world and even recently received applications from Western Samoa and Alaska.

Jewellery facilities gallery image

Our Facilities

The School of Jewellery's Vittoria Street building is inspirational and functional. A blend of traditional historic and cutting-edge contemporary, it is light, spacious and extremely well-resourced.

An extensive refurbishment programme integrated the Victorian Gothic building of 1863 with the adjacent 1912 extension and a site further down the road. The architects’ success in doing so resulted in awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Civic Trust.

Horology students also have dedicated areas, as well as the latest CAD equipment. The School’s main computer suite includes CAD design software and Adobe Creative Suite, and you’ll have access to a specialist library.

Our Centre for Design and Digital Manufacturing (CDDM) situated within the heart of the School of Jewellery offers expertise in computer-aided design and manufacturing, rapid prototyping, and has a state-of-the-art precious metal laser sintering facility.

Workshop - Jewellery
Half Gas Air Torch - Jewellery
HND - Jewellery
Studio Space - Jewellery
Process Area - Jewellery
BA Space - Jewellery
BA Space - Jewellery
Horology clock - Jewellery
Horology Watch - Jewellery
Horology Watch - Jewellery
We offer state-of-the-art 3D printing and programmes.
Basement - Jewellery
Off hand grinder - Jewellery
Materials - Jewellery
Laser Cutter - Jewellery
Handworking Tools - Jewellery
Silversmithing - Jewellery
Lagun - Jewellery
Rose engine - Jewellery
Lecture Theatre - Jewellery

Meet our staff

The Head of Horology, Jeremy Hobbins, has been a practising horologist for 25 years, is a professional member of the BHI and was selected by Watch Pro magazine for their top 100 Watchmakers Award twice in the three-year history of the awards.

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Jeremy Hobbins

Jeremy Hobbins

Deputy Head of School & Programme Leader

Originally graduating with a Business background, Jeremy transferred his skills into the horology world following his study of HND Horology at the School of Jewellery.

Jeremy worked as a professional horologist for others, and himself, for 20 years before returning to the School to share his love of the subject and train a new generation of horologists.

Jeremy created the BA (Hons) Horology course to develop the horological education and training offered by Birmingham City University. The course was developed following close collaboration with the British Horological Institute and various leading industry partners.

Read Jeremy's full profile