Our postgraduate degree in Jewellery and Related Products is a highly respected, innovative course, which develops your creative potential and in-depth knowledge of theories, processes and techniques.
Students on our course demonstrate understanding, and a critical awareness of current issues and/or new insights.
Our graduates are shaping the world, achieving things they never imagined.
Drew Markou gives you his top tips on how to get ahead in jewellery, silversmithing and succeed in your chosen career.
The focus of this course is very much on developing your entrepreneurial spirit and helping you become the designer you want to be.
You will use a variety of materials, manufacturing techniques and processes.
The scope for design is very broad and builds on knowledge in the area of personal ornaments, body signification and decorative metal objects.
There are affinities with industrial design, fashion design, fine art and sculpture and content is often informed by philosophy, conceptualisation and critical theory.
Project-based activities will develop creative, design and making skills and enhance your professional skills. You will develop concepts and products, analyse problems and reflect on the relationships between personal objectives, cultural values, market identities, prototyping techniques and new technologies.
You will demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to your own research and advanced creative activity, alongside exhibiting originality in the application of knowledge.
You will demonstrate your practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in our discipline and create innovative new designs in jewellery and related products.
The course is based at our internationally renowned School of Jewellery, in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. The historical facade of our Vittoria Street building conceals a contemporary environment including workshops, a specialist library, an atrium gallery and exhibition space.
"On the MA course, we are constantly questioning why we make decisions, this has allowed us to have a better, deeper understanding of what we are developing. The course allows us to have a deeper understanding of our own work." Fanmiao Tang, MA Jewellery and Related Products student
Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 26 April 2017, between 3 and 8pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,280 available for postgraduate study.
A good degree in Art and Design or recognised equivalent subject (degrees in business related and other theoretical subjects without evidence of advanced creative practice are not recognised as equivalent subjects).
A study proposal that indicates development potential supported by evidence of high level creative work.
International students must hold a qualification recognised as graduate status and agreed by the Academic Registrar. They must also have appropriate English language skills.
Candidates may be admitted without a first degree via APEL/APL subject to agreement of the Academic Registrar, eg high level of educational, industrial, or professional experience.
IELTS 6.0 with 5.5 min in all bands.
|MA||Sep 2017||FT||1 year||£6,900|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.
|MA||Sep 2017||FT||1 year||£12,000|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.
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.
Initial selection is made from evidence given on the application form and the submission of a portfolio/CD-Rom showing recent work and indicating possible future developments.
The applicant should be able to provide evidence of experience as detailed below:
Design is not a simplistic step by step process, however it can be broken down "into the following elements: Analysis, Research, Concepts, Development Evaluation.
This stage is quite likely to be done in conjunction with the Research element, the one feeding the other. Ask yourself what the brief is actually about. Is there only one obvious answer? Are there likely to be many answers or interpretations? What are your immediate responses? Perhaps you might care to write down a list of pros and cons. Quite possibly after this, on further reflection, your reactions and interpretation of the brief will change; it is very likely to do so once you begin to undertake some research. Above all, have an enquiring and lively attitude to it all.
a) Search for relevant examples in response to the brief. These may be directly related to the brief. Find exciting examples of other designers work. Always keep a reference of where you found the information and who the designer is. Notes relating to materials, finishes, mechanisms are also important Some honest personal observations give research a point - what have you learnt from the research? Present what you have found in a visually stimulating manner. Start to build up a visual reference library of ideas/shapes/forms etc.
b) Technical researches - read and digest. Be selective. Choose relevant points, and summarise the information which you feel will be useful for that particular brief.
Recognise and respond to what you would like to achieve and what is required by a brief. Set realistic limits. Concepts often develop after some research has been carried out; you may spot an area of potential that has been untapped until now.
It is important that you explore a number of ideas in order to be selective - remember that you are selecting the idea with most development potential. These ideas will be in the form of sketches or may still be in the research phase, eg when exploring an articulating piece of body adornment, there are a number of areas you could look at - armour, natural forms such as insects, skeletons, the tailoring of clothing etc. Lateral thinking is required - word association exercises are often useful. You may find it useful to analyse the brief by brainstorming diagrams - do this and write everything down. This can help to narrow down a brief and force you to question exactly what is required. Keep these as a reference to come back to if you find yourself going round in circles. They can be used as a quick way of rationalising and visually/verbally explaining the project to someone else.
This is also more formally known as synthesis. You should be pulling a number of ideas together in a recognisable form e.g. a drawing or a soft model. As synthesis begins, ideas will probably be confused, disorganised and over complex. It is via drawing and modelling that you are able to organise and re-organise thoughts quickly and easily. At this stage your ideas do not necessarily need to be recognisable as '"products" ¬ - they may still be abstract. Recognise when you can move forward more quickly via drawing or modelling. Try to advance your work into 3D modelling or in drawing form by acknowledging how junctions of materials work. Expand and extend your drawing work into details - which can quickly lead you to rationalise your design. Drawings can deceive - get into 3D as soon as possible - spend time manipulating the materials.
Keep an open mind so that modifications can be incorporated into your work through the interaction that occurs between you the designer/maker, and the material. You may discover some aspect you had not previously considered.
This comes at the completion of a project. Be as objective as you can. Refer back to the original brief and your research notes. Does your solution answer the brief? Is it innovative, visually interesting, economic, viable, dangerous, successful, unsuccessful? Of course nothing in design is ever quite as black-and-white as that but be as honest with yourself as you can. By recognising faults you can improve on weaknesses and build up strengths.
Should you be interested in applying you need to send the finished application form and a portfolio showing your work (this could be in a CD-Rom format, using PowerPoint). The application should provide evidence of academic, visual and practical experience.
Our MA in Jewellery, Silversmithing and Related Product emphasizes the individual and so your portfolio should visualize your unique way of how you generate and process ideas, and your aims and objectives of what you want to achieve in this one year of advanced and self-directed studies.
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:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
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.
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.
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our pdf application form instead.
On receipt of your application form, your application will be considered and you may be called for interview. After interview, if you are considered suitable for the course you will receive an offer of a place.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?
At Postgraduate Certificate level, you’ll apply concept origination and development techniques, market and other research skills to develop individual design projects.
Research and Applied Practice
This module asks you to reflect on your previous experiences in order to develop and evaluate an initial project proposal. This proposal will be examined by conducting research across a range of methods, enabling you to survey your chosen field and provide the theoretical framework to underpin your creative practice.
At Postgraduate Diploma level, students you’ll use new and/or unfamiliar technologies and skills, project planning techniques, prototyping, and strategic thinking to further develop your individual design strategy.
This helps you decide the direction of personal and professional objectives and studio practice.
This module helps you to establish personal design methodologies to navigate through a developmental stage, thus providing you with the necessary skills to respond to complex situations with in-depth problem solving This will establish a secure grounding for future employment in your chosen specialism. It also provides a firm foundation for your final module.
Specialist Research Enquiry
In this module you will identify an area of interest and negotiating an appropriate strategy will provide a framework for your enquiry. A range of discipline specific approaches will be explored, and you will be encouraged to consider the contribution these methodologies can make to your own practice.
At Master of Arts level, you will use your accumulated contextual information for a Major Design Study, which supports your professional planning and career aspirations.
This module is an opportunity for you to develop skills which will contribute to the acquisition of key Birmingha City University graduate attributes; creative problem solvers, enterprising, professional and work ready and global outlook. In the context of the creative and cultural industries, and at this academic level, this means an ability to:
The course is delivered through a variety of formats including: self-directed studio time, e-learning, formal lectures, tutorials and workshop activities. Staff contact and group work will enable the free exchange of knowledge and experience through discussion and practical exercises.
Alongside a staff team of professional, practising artists and designers, you will also engage with professional practitioners who are Artists In Residence, study visits and other live projects. The School can offer support through a variety of interdisciplinary methodologies and techniques through its specialist staff and technical support team. Practice-led, knowledge-based learning enables key skill based competencies to be individually developed, building in complexity throughout the duration of the course.
You will then apply the skills you learn to the development of your own self-directed and self-motivated design project. The project will allow you to explore and appreciate the potential of your design abilities, and your emerging knowledge and understanding in a professional context, while building a portfolio of work which will reflect a high level of professional accomplishment and leadership in the field.
You are supported to work individually, and in group settings, to develop interpersonal communication and collaborative skills. You will continue to develop your reflective practice which helps to develop self-confidence and the responsible and methodical approaches required by the industry, the art and design ‘world’ and other culture of entrepreneurship.
You will study 5 days a week, Monday to Friday.
The School of Jewellery is open from 8am to 8pm in term time. A daily study attendance of between 5-7 hours is expected.
Studies include structured, project based learning activities which develop creative, design and making skills, research and investigative abilities, evaluation and independent learning to an advanced level. It includes individual and group tutorials, tutor-led and student-led seminars, lectures, and workshops as well as report writing and project work.
The school hosts exhibitions and private views such as our ‘East meets West’ alumni exhibition with graduates now working in China, our ‘Junk: rubbish-to-gold' exhibition, funded by the Arts Council England, with performance interventions by graduates and practitioners.
In addition staff achieved research successes such as Zoe Robertson’s solo show FlockOmania hosted by The Parkside Gallery, Birmingham City University, and Jo Pond’s solo touring show at the prestigious Contemporary Applied Arts Gallery in London and Atta Gallery in Bangkok, Thailand.
Our programme ‘Talking Practice’ invites guest lectures and symposia such as Art Medals: history, philosophy and practice and Beyond Jewellery: Performing the Body. Members of the staff team give external academic lectures, for example Prof. Jivan Astfalck at I am the Dream at the Freud Museum London and Dauvit Alexander delivered a lecture on new technology at the Society of Jewellery Historians.
We offer a wide range of postgraduate courses, all of which involve innovative research and provide vocationally valuable experience.
You may wish to continue your academic career and apply for a PhD.
Students take part in a trip to Munich for Schmuck, the biggest and most famous international contemporary Jewellery event of the year. Jewellers travel from all parts of Europe, America, South America and Australia to be part of it.
Nuala Clooney, who is now an Artist in Residence for the School of Jewellery, said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for students to experience the contemporary jewellery world. They get to see work that we normally look at in books or on websites. They get to see what other graduates and students are up to, make contacts, wear a piece of their own jewellery and test it, talk about it amongst experts in the field.
The atmosphere is a friendly and exciting one, which will and does - shake up students to think about their own making practice more. They come back inspired and fired up from being exposed to other people in the field.
MA Jewellery and related products alumni are selected for the prestigious TALENTE competition in Munich, Germany. TALENTE is a highly competitive international exhibition for under-30 new artists and designer in the applied arts.
Graduate, Wen-Miao Yeh, won the ITAMI 2015 prize for best material exploration in Itami, Japan.
Graduate work was also selected to exhibit at LOOT 2012 at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York and graduate, Katherine Richmond, was commissioned to make new work for the permanent collection.
In 2013, the San-Francisco based gallery Velvet-da-Vinci dedicated an entire exhibition to MA Jewellery and Related Products alumni work called ‘Magic City’ and the director of Craftspace in Birmingham, wrote the introduction essay to the catalogue.
Self-employed jewellery designer-maker
Drew Markou is a self-employed artist and jewellery designer-maker. Since graduating, Drew has gone on to wow crowds at the RHS BBC Gardeners' World Live show, where his design was named 'Most Creative Small Garden', winning a Silver Gilt award.
Our course philosophy encourages your individual enquiry and innovation. Modules are structured to enable progressive identification of assessable outcomes throughout, and require research based engagement with creative practice to enable you to make choices, solve problems and define your individual direction. This practice progressively leads to ownership, independence and employability. We incorporate activities, which involve you as active learner.
We embrace a high, professional level of excellence appropriate to the industry and area of focus for each student. Excellence is demonstrated in artistic integrity, a self-directed and ambitious design project at Master of Art level. Professional practice and employability skills are demonstrated in team projects and by accessing external audience appreciation. In all of our activities we celebrate and foster innovation and entrepreneurial enterprise in an international context.
MA Jewellery and Related Products graduate outcomes are of high profile and are leading in the field, as is widely evidenced in the successes our graduates. They represent Birmingham City University’s graduate qualities of being professional and work ready, they are creative problem solvers, enterprising and have a global outlook.
The MA in Jewellery and Related Products course has built particularly strong links to galleries, arts agencies and professional bodies, which support the creative industries and provide relevant real world experience, support and advice.
The course is proud to have professional links which include: Craftspace Birmingham, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG), Midland’s Art Centre (mac), Jewellery Quarter Museum, British Crafts Council, AXIS, The South Square Trust, Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, Handwerkskammer Munich, Germany, and the international e-platforms and web-hubs: Klimt04 (Spain), Kitandcaboodle (Germany), Crafthaus (USA), Art Jewelry Forum (USA).
Drew Markou is a self-employed artist and jewellery designer-maker whose work is exhibited internationally. Since graduating, Drew has gone on to wow crowds at the RHS BBC Gardeners' World Live show, where his design was named 'Most Creative Small Garden', winning a Silver Gilt award.
He said: “For me my MA was a milestone in achieving a higher level of education and thinking about the way in which I work. It was vital for me to gain a greater understanding about my own art and design work as well as a greater understanding of the context and industries in which it fitted.”
Lucy Harvey completed a commission for the National Glass Centre in collaboration with recycling company, Nulife Glass. The work explored the alchemical processes used by Nulife in separating lead and glass from cathode ray tubes found inside old TVs.
She has showcased her artefacts and jewellery collection at various exhibitions and fairs.
Farrah Al-Dujaili is a British Art Jeweller. She set up her own workshop to continue her practice. Her work has been exhibited internationally in shows including ‘Talente’ and ’25 Years of Galerie Louise Smit’. Farrah was also the recipient of the Art Jewelry Forum ‘Emerging Artist’ award and subsequently had her work exhibited at SOFA New York in 2012.
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.
Many graduates of the postgraduate jewellery, silversmithing and related products course become successful designer makers and artists. They generate and facilitate industrial, design-orientated and artistic change through the creation of innovative products and objects; lead product development and initiate technology transfer.
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 international reputation and outstanding location in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter attracts students from all over the world. Our course is particularly popular with students from the Far East who want to study advanced design techniques from top professionals.
Many of our very successful international students returned to their home countries to set-up their own businesses and design studios. Some work in shared studio collectives and work through an international network of galleries and design shops. Others work as sole-owners designing and making bespoke pieces of jewellery of their own designs.
For example one graduate opened a very impressive space in Chongqing in China, a combination of designer gallery and lifestyle meeting place. Another opened her own gallery and studio in Copenhagen.
Some of our alumni have been able, on return from their MA studies, to compete for prestigious teaching jobs, including at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, and the China Academy of Art.
"After releasing my first jewellery collection in a small home-studio I decided I wanted to engage in further exploration and study of all possibilities of jewellery design.
"I found out about the School of Jewellery online and after extensive research was really attracted by the idea of studying in a well known university abroad.
"Through the images and explanations on the MA description online I saw the possibility of opening my practice to a practical engagement between other areas of design such as industrial design, fashion, fine arts and intellectual content that I had not yet applied to jewellery, such as, philosophy, conceptualisation or critical theory.
"Until then I had never imagined that jewellery wouldn’t 'need' to be a wearable object! Coming to the School of Jewellery was altogether a big challenge, a mind blowing surprise and a great opportunity to let go of old boundaries and explore the new and unexpected field of 'related products'.
"I've joined the team of Artists in Residence at the school, working directly with new MA Students. I have also started my small business where I develop a range of wearable jewellery applying both my jewellery background and the contemporary concepts.
"Since 2013 I’ve joined exhibitions in England and internationally. And have been recently awarded Artistar Jewels 2015 – Best Goldsmith Craftsman Award, and the first prize at Arts & Crafts Design Award – 2014."
Atushi is now a jewellery designer maker. She said: "I found my way into the western education and now a Contemporary Jewellery Maker, Designer and Artist; looking to create my niche, whilst straddling both my loves: contemporary and 'fine' high-end jewellery."
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.
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.
The Basement contains machinery and equipment that requires higher levels of supervision. As well as conventional tool room machines such as lathes and milling machines, this area includes rooms for casting and electro-plating, and a tool and material store.
Our atrium area is a lively exhibition space with a frequently changing range of shows and displays.
Horology students also have dedicated areas, as well as the latest CAD equipment. You’ll also have access to specialist equipment, a subject specialist library, seminar rooms and lecture theatre.
Studio Workshops provide cut-out work benches with lights and gas torches plus design work stations.
Process workshops contain larger soldering hearths under extraction hoods with pickling and cleaning facilities. These workshops also have polishing machines and other bench mounted powered equipment. Each studio workshop has access to one of the process workshops.
Our gemmology students are based in new, state-of-the-art premises at 1 Moreton Street in the Jewellery Quarter with access to the highest specification of equipment available for gemmological education within the UK. You'll use diamond-testing equipment at Assay Office Birmingham's AnchorCert Gem Laboratory.
The MA Course Director Prof. Jivan Astfalck, who has an international profile as an artist, academic and jeweller, has acted as academic advisor and lead essay author to the Chinese publication (in English) .
Other staff have achieved research successes such as Zoe Robertson’s solo show FlockOmania, which was performed in Coventry, Birmingham and Berlin and has a strong web presence.
Award winning jewellery artist Zoe Robertson’s current studio practice explores themes relating to jewellery within performance. She creates theatrically sized jewellery, experiments on the edges of the discipline and enjoys working collaboratively. She is co-founder of The Dual Works, an artist studio based in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter, and her work is exhibited within an international arena
The interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of her works moves beyond jewellery and into the fields of performance, sound, and dance as seen in her latest solo exhibition flockOmania. Her cross-disciplinary approach enables her to create experiential and immersive environments which invite audience interaction and participation.