A combination of creative design skills and practical workshops on our Jewellery and Silversmithing HND will help you become a successful designer and manufacturer.
Based in the heart of Birmingham’s thriving Jewellery Quarter, you’ll benefit from unrivalled expertise and facilities. Our course is renowned for its strong industry connections and excellent skills tuition.
That’s why our graduates go on to work for companies like Tiffany & Co, Goldsmiths, Fei Liu and Weston Beamor, or set up their own successful businesses.
If you’re looking to start this course in 2017, it's important to know that the content and structure are undergoing a substantial review and are likely to be different to what is outlined here. We’ll publish more detailed information about the changes over the next few months. If you’re starting in 2016, the course content/structure won’t be affected by the review.
Our graduates are shaping the world, achieving things they never imagined.
Andrew Howard gives you his top tips on how to get ahead in Jewellery and Silversmithing and succeed in your chosen career.
Our course will immerse you in the world of jewellery and silversmithing as you create pieces in precious and non-precious metals. You produce pieces by hand and by mechanical means, with a particular focus on manipulating metal.
The practical, design led nature of the course gives you plenty of opportunity for hands on workshop experience to hone your skills. You’ll develop practical experience of materials and tools alongside techniques in drawing and model making to develop your design processes.
You’ll have access to the latest equipment such as laser welders and 2D and 3D CAD software packages, as well as casting and plating workshops.
Dedicated staff with professional experience will offer advice, support and industry contacts. You’ll be encouraged to enter national and international competitions and have fantastic opportunities to work on live projects with industry.
Field trips and study visits add colour and relevance to your studies and support an understanding of commercial jewellery manufacturing environments.
You’ll study at our internationally-renowned School of Jewellery, in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter, where much of today’s jewellery is still made. The historical facade of our Vittoria Street building conceals a contemporary environment including workshops, a specialist library, an atrium gallery and exhibition space.
“The course allowed me to gain confidence in hand skills whilst exploring many new technologies. I am now able to create individual designs combining several techniques and have progressed on to the top-up degree Design for Industry where I can build greater expertise in CAD and laser technology.” Liz Rollo
Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 8 October 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.
Please note: we are currently reviewing our entire course provision for 2017/18. Details will be included in your registration email.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good portfolio.
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2016/17|
|GCE A Level/ AS Level||DD at A-Level or 120 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 1 A-Level|
|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)||MP - 120 UCAS points|
|BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years)||PPP - 120 UCAS points|
|BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years)||D - 120 UCAS points|
|BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design||Pass|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||24 points overall|
|Irish Leaving Certificate||120 UCAS points - Higher Levels|
|Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher||120 UCAS points- two Advanced Highers grade DD|
|Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options)||120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points|
|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.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2016/17|
|IELTS||Non English speakers require IELTS 6.0|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||24 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.
UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.
From A/AS Level with a minimum of 1 A Level
|HND||Sep 2016||FT||2 years||£6,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|HND||Sep 2017||FT||2 years||£6,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|HND||Sep 2016||FT||2 years||£12,000 per year|
|HND||Sep 2017||FT||2 years||£12,000 per year|
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.
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.
There are three ways to apply:
You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.
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.
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.
We invite all eligible applicants to the HND Jewellery and Silversmithing course for interview. Overseas applicants are advised to provide a digital portfolio where the opportunity to attend an interview in person is not possible. We accept four digital formats of portfolio:
Uploading either a PDF or PowerPoint document
Please include a minimum of 12 images and a statement about the work including your name and the course you have applied for. Moving image work may be included but should be in either QuickTime or mpeg format.
We accept portfolios created on blogger.com. Go to the site and create a profile. Upload a minimum of 12 images and a statement about the work including your name and the course you have applied for. Moving image pieces can also be embedded in the blog.
The file size must be below 2MB and must be generated as a PowerPoint or PDF document. Please include a minimum of 12 images and a statement about the work including your name and the course you have applied for.
Portfolios on a CD
Ensure files are mac and pc compatible, and organize files logically, ideally in a PowerPoint presentation. Include a minimum of 12 images and a statement about the work including your name and the course you have applied for. Moving image work may be included but should be in either QuickTime or mpeg format.
Your Portfolio should include work which indicates the following:
A few tips to consider
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 specific courses. 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.
Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It 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.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
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.
You’ll be given an introduction to the industry and the tools, materials and processes used. The course is based around traditional techniques and projects, with hands-on workshops.
Each project involves a new jewellery or silversmithing technique or process. You’ll work on both large and small scale metalwork and related design processes.
Demonstrations from experts, as well as field trips, will help you understand the techniques and processes and gain networking opportunities.
Industry Studies 1
This module gives you an overview of the different strands that form the jewellery and related trades:
Lectures and set texts will provide insights into the past, present and future of the field and workshops will promote the development of your research and presentation skills.
Field trips will allow you to explore the breadth of the jewellery industry and allied trades, with a particular focus on primary research and documentation.
Introduction to Small-Scale Metalwork
This module gives you the essential skills and knowledge of processes related to the production of small-scale metal forms. It introduces you to a range of tools and equipment required for hand techniques and encourages a creative approach.
The module engages you in design; involving idea generation, enabling you to create design proposals and methods of communicating your ideas in a variety of forms.
This module gives you an introduction to the key elements of traditional jewellery, incorporating techniques related to the use of gemstones and the construction of different stone settings styles specific to the industry.
Demonstrations of technical jewellery processes are an important part of learning new skills. Experienced jewellery practitioners are often used to carry out these demonstrations and are digitally recorded to create useful learning resources for our electronic learning site, Moodle.
Introduction to Large-Scale Metalwork
The module gives you essential skills and basic knowledge of processes related to the production of Large-scale metal forms. It introduces a range of tools, processes and equipment related to Silversmithing and encourages a creative approach.
The module engages you in design; involving idea generation to create design proposals and effective methods of communicating ideas in a variety of forms.
The module gives you an introduction to the casting process, developing essential skills for commercial reproduction methods for small-scale objects within the jewellery industry. Your design process is further developed and is informed by commercial and process constraints.
Specialists Techniques 1
This module will enable you to generate a variety of outcomes considered to be core industry essentials, therefore generating a knowledge and understanding of the specialist materials and tools.
It will provide practical experience and will develop your traditional skills in the metalworking techniques and processes, associated with the Jewellery & Silversmithing industry.y industry. Your design process is further developed and is informed by commercial and process constraints.
You’ll develop your skills in CAD work and build up your professional portfolio. This year also develops your advanced jewellery skills relating to traditional diamond mounting and diamond grading.
A live project forms a compulsory part of your studies this year. Birmingham-based precious metal casting and rapid-prototyping company, Weston Beamor submit a brief to create jewellery and give you the chance to gain recognition, prizes and valuable work experience.
Awards are presented at a prestigious trade fair in Birmingham providing great publicity and networking opportunities.
This module explores techniques used to create colour in the production of jewellery and silverware and provides an understanding of laser welding and the anodising and colouring of Aluminium. It introduces the software ‘Illustrator’ as a drawing tool to be used in conjunction with laser processes.
The module embraces the outsourcing of services and builds knowledge of the costs involved in these processes, while setting realistic deadlines for the design and production of a commercially viable product.
This module develops commercial awareness through participation in a ‘live’ competition in conjunction with a manufacturing company and it is linked to an International Trade Fair.
The aim is to use 2D CAD as a visualisation tool and & 3D CAD as a design tool, to enable you to present professional visuals. You will also develop an understanding of the New Product Development Process (NPD) used in the industry.
Industry Studies 2
Building on the overview of the industry provided by Industry Studies 1, this module invites you to reflect on your intended position within the industry post-graduation, and to engage in a cycle of experiential learning to ensure you capitalise on the opportunities available once you have completed your studies.
The module considers the scope and responsibility of key roles within the commercial context and the fundamentals of retailing, through a series of visits, case studies or mentoring relationships. It aims to develop a level of competence and an understanding of the importance of self-promotion, presentation and professionalism.
Design Development and Realisation
The module is an opportunity to identify your personal direction and explore areas of special interest. It encourages you to creatively explore and experiment with materials and processes and to analyse results; to research and investigate identified target markets; to design and develop ideas in a commercial context and to present proposals in a professional manner.
This module will provide a self-directed opportunity to demonstrate motivation and the ability to plan and work independently, in readiness for individual career aspirations, employment or progression to another course. The outcomes of this module should demonstrate a high level of technical competence and professionalism through the realisation of design proposals. It aims to develop confidence and independence, and promote personal achievement through products suitable for exhibition.
Specialist Techniques 2
This module will generate a variety of outcomes considered to be advanced core industry essentials, therefore enabling you to gain knowledge and understanding of specialist materials and tools. It will provide further practical experience and develop traditional skills in metalworking techniques and processes, which are associated with the Jewellery & Silversmithing industry.
This practice-based course will introduce you to techniques and processes associated with the traditions of the jewellery industry, enabling you to construct pieces in both precious and non-precious metals.
The knowledge and skills of jewellery-making are developed through ‘hands on’ experience in the workshop and you will benefit from demonstrations given by experienced practitioners in the field. These practical experiences help you to decide on your preferred scale of working, whether jewellery or silversmithing.
Our uniquely well-equipped studio workshops offer a range of equipment from traditional Victorian fly-presses to cutting-edge laser-welding and advanced CAD CAM technologies, enabling you to not only learn about the traditional techniques of the bench jeweller but to enhance those skills with the most contemporary processes through projects which incorporate new jewellery technology, including lasers, Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture.
The course is assessed via coursework and you will undertake practical and written modules. Alongside workshop practice and demonstrations you’ll learn through a mix of lectures, seminars, critiques, team work, presentations, tutorials, online learning, and self directed study.
A design focus encourages you to be creative within structured projects. Each project involves a new technique or process. Ideas are developed and problems solved through drawing, model making and practical experience of materials, tools and techniques.
The practical focus of the course is balanced with personal research to develop intellectual thinking.
|51||Time in lectures, seminars and similar||MidnightBlue|
|49||Time in independent study||RoyalBlue|
|20||Submissions of practical course work||#fece5a|
Student Daisy Grice tells us why she loves studying the HND Jewellery and Silversmithing at the School of Jewellery. She says: "It's so full of energy and you can really tell that people here have a passion for what they do."
Graduates from the HND can apply for the BA (Hons) Jewellery and Silversmithing – Design for Industry top-up degree course. There’s no automatic progression but strong candidates from the course have a high success rate.
If you wish to push the boundaries of jewellery and silversmithing, challenge traditional conventions, and create experimental objects in materials other than metal we suggest you visit our BA (Hons) Jewellery Design and Related Products course.
The 2015 Weston Beamor Design Competition presented a brief for our students to design an engagement ring and matching wedding band. Lucy Whitehouse’s unusual vintage style creations got her noticed and she won a £500 cash prize and a work placement with the company.
Our course has an excellent reputation for highly employable graduates with knowledge of the processes and commercial awareness to help them succeed.
You’ll develop good communication skills through sketching, 3D models, technical drawing, photographs, written and verbal presentations. This variety of media will enable you to demonstrate your creativity and personal characteristics.
You’ll also have skills in wax carving, tool making and metalwork and be proficient in laser welding and colouring technology. The course also gives you knowledge and understanding of the casting process.
Instruction in 2D and 3D CAD software programmes helps jewellery students to build a professional portfolio. This is used for a mock interview and is excellent preparation for employment within the industry.
Your practical and commercial understanding will be complemented by essential networking, communication and presentation skills that are required in a competitive industry.
By working on live briefs you’ll learn how to generate a range of potential ideas and apply this to the production of creative work.
You’ll also develop a range of transferable skills, such as how to communicate ideas and solve problems, as well as developing negotiation and planning skills.
Hilary Ogden graduated in 2015 and has set up her own workshop in the garage at home. She's now starting to sell her jewellery from her business 'His, Hers, Ours Jewellery'. "The course gave me the confidence to set up my own business because it made you feel like you could make stuff that would sell."
Although we don’t offer a formal placement year as part of this course, our students are offered a range of opportunities thanks to the outstanding industry links our respected staff have nurtured.
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.
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.
We have an excellent success rate for graduate employment. A variety of career opportunities exist within the jewellery and silversmithing industry including: bench work, designer, CAD designer/technician, independent designer/manufacturer, production technician and in retail and marketing.
Our graduates work for commercial and specialist companies including GETi in the Jewellery Quarter, Fei Lui (who is also a graduate from the School), Fattorini, Goldsmiths and Castle Galleries, part of the Halcyon Group, one of the largest and most prestigious art groups in the world.
Many of our graduates also set up their own successful jewellery and silversmithing businesses, or work freelance and take deign commissions.
Graduate Kevin Grey is a relative newcomer to the silversmithing trade but is already enjoying a successful career. He retrained with us after 25 years in the automotive industry.
Kevin sells bespoke pieces through his website and via a gallery in New York, where many of his buyers are based, and has ambitions for further international expansion in the future. After graduation, Kevin also took up a Residency at the School of Jewellery, sharing his skills and knowledge with other students.
He was awarded the prestigious Goldsmiths Company Award at the Design & Crafts Council Awards.
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:
Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.
The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.
So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.
Overall measures: ranked positions
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.
Our staff are experts in their field and support students on their journey through their chosen course into professional life.
Work experience with Blue John Jewellers in Derbyshire cultivated Kate’s interest in jewellery, but until completing a six-week module on the Art Foundation course at Chesterfield Tech, Kate had not discovering metalsmithing. She studied BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design, specialising in Silversmithing and Jewellery at School of Jewellery, Birmingham.
Her formative career took place in Birmingham’s manufacturing Jewellery Quarter, and she continued working with the industry and designer makers when she joined Birmingham City University’s Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre. Kate’s designs have been sold in multiple retailers on the High Street, and had sell out shows on the QVC shopping channel. She has collaborated with companies to create viable design solutions and prestigious international awards, worked in manufacturing overseas, taught short courses at BCU and at BIFA University in Thailand. Kate also won the World Gold Council’s Gold Virtuosi competition. In 2009, Kate set up her own jewellery design and consultancy business.
Born and bred in the Peak District, Derbyshire, Kate moved to Birmingham 20 years ago. Now a mother of two, she lives on the outskirts of the city finding a balance between city and country life. Kate is employed as a part-time lecturer at School of Jewellery and conjointly runs her own design business.