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Jewellery Design and Related Products - BA (Hons)

Course Overview

The essential course information

UCAS Code:
W239
Award:
BA (Hons)
Attendance:
Full Time (3 years)
School:
School of Jewellery
Campus:
School of Jewellery

Previously part of:

Birmingham Institute of Art and Design

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This is simply one of the most respected creative courses in the country, offering the freedom to let your inspiration guide you within a unique location in which to absorb the creative flair and business sense of some of the industry’s most entrepreneurial players in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

What's covered in the course?

The course looks to you to create and nurture your individual creative identity by encouraging you to experiment with a variety of materials, processes and techniques. You learn by doing, and design via making.

You become accustomed to questioning concepts, instead of merely accepting them, and are introduced to a design methodology and critical thinking, where an integrated approach to theory and practice helps to contextualise your work and enhances your knowledge of the field.

Employability is embedded throughout the course. During your first year, the Professional Collaboration module introduces aspects of professional practice, and offers you the opportunity to participate in live projects and competitions set by external companies.

The second year explores employability, and setting up a business as a designermaker. You form a company to develop and sell your products to the public in the run-up to Christmas. You also research possible career directions, prepare your professional portfolio and secure work experience as part of our Professional Experience module.

In the third year, you will develop your own personal brief which then acts as a guide for your decisions, the area you wish to pursue, and the materials and process you wish to investigate. Ultimately you design and make your own final collection to exhibit within our Graduate Show and to launch your career.

“Being a student at the School of Jewellery was like being in a huge family. The tutors, the technical staff... everyone was so helpful and supportive throughout the years I was at the School.”

Alice Clarke

Why Choose Us?

  • You are encouraged to develop your own personal philosophy and look beyond horizons – there is no ’house style’, no rigid templates, just pursuit of innovation.
  • You will be based in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, near to our Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre (JIIC) – internationally known for its 'concept-to-prototype’ approach to new product development.
  • The course enables you to design, develop and launch your own highly innovative, contemporary and thought-provoking products.
  • Our School of Jewellery is Europe’s largest institution for training and education across the specialisation.

Gallery

Download the Course Programme Specification

Entry Requirements

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

Typical UK QualificationRequirements 2014/15

At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications and/or experience will be accepted. Applicants will also need a good portfolio.

GCE A Level/ AS Level BBC at A-Level or 280 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 280 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DMM - 280 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 280 UCAS points
BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design Distinction
International Baccalaureate Diploma 28 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 280 UCAS points - Higher Levels
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 280 UCAS points
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.

Unconditional Offers 2014/15

If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for the 2014/15 year, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.

Learn more about unconditional offers >>

Typical EU/Non-EU (International) QualificationsRequirements 2014/15
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 28 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

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

Learn more about BCUIC

How to Apply

Full Time: Apply through UCAS.
UCAS Code: W239.
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 3 years BA (Hons) £9,000 per year
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2014 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £10,500 per year

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 for the Jewellery Design and Related Products course

You may need to purchase materials, small hand tools and pay for professional fees, where appropriate.

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 4 October and Saturday 15 November 2014 (9am - 3pm)

Our Open Days provide 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.

4 October Open Day
15 November Open Day

University Approach to Employability

Birmingham City University is committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Employment Opportunities

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

Career opportunities for graduates of the Jewellery Design and Related Products course exist within the creative industries including artist-jeweller and designer-maker. Our jewellery graduates are gaining international recognition through exhibitions and awards. Some graduates also progress to study a postgraduate research degree in jewellery or design within the School of Jewellery.

Throughout this Jewellery Design course there is a strong emphasis on developing transferable and employability skills. These include skills such as problem solving, clearly communicating and presenting your ideas, working as part of a team, managing your time effectively, developing your personal opinions, critically evaluating your work, plus many more. There are many opportunities to practice these during the Jewellery Design course as we feel they are important life skills to utilise upon graduation.

Your future employability and forthcoming careers in the jewellery industry are important to us, we make sure that this is embedded into your jewellery course and that there are many opportunities for you to consider this during your studies. Each level has a key module which addresses aspects of professional practice and potential employability. We aim to help you to understand the breadth of the jewellery field and related possibilities to help you determine the direction you wish to take upon graduation.

The Jewellery Design and Related Products course is aimed at students who wish to follow a career as designer makers. This is summed up as:

"The term 'studio jeweller' means jewellery produced by individuals, working in their own studio, usually alone, at most with one or two assistants, who deliberately control every aspect of producing a piece of jewellery from original idea to finish piece" Amanda Game, Elizabeth Goring Jewellery Moves.

Further Studies

For further information on jewellery courses at the School of Jewellery call +44(0)121 331 5595 or go directly 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 to our survey went into employment (and/or further study), initially earning an average full-time wage of £18,100. Employers hiring Jewellery Design graduates from the School include Cartier and Goldsmiths, offering 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

The diverse approach of this jewellery design course encourages students to develop their own personal philosophy, and final collections span the breadth of the discipline of Jewellery and Silversmithing, often relating to broader art and design disciplines such as fashion, accessories, theatre, product design and fine art.

This is a design-based jewellery course which gives you the opportunity to be creative and experimental within the jewellery and silversmithing design process, enabling you to design and make highly innovative, contemporary and thought provoking work/object/products.

Primarily you will learn jewellery design through a practical 'hands on' learning experience called 'Experiential Learning'. This means you will be learning by 'doing' and designing jewellery via making. A great emphasis is placed on experimenting with a variety of materials, processes and techniques which enables you to actively engage with and solve three-dimensional problems.

A questioning attitude to jewellery concepts and outcomes is encouraged. Being open minded will help you to embrace the philosophy and aims of this jewellery course, as studies are intended to stretch and challenge your perception of the subject area, enabling you to develop practical jewellery skills alongside intellectual engagement.

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 creative arts and design students were satisfied overall (NSS survey 2013).

The Jewellery Design and Related Products course is design-led and aims to balance your design, thinking and making skills. We believe the development and refinement of your craft skills are actively developed in tandem with your design skills.

You will be introduced to key skills and are encouraged to translate and respond to a variety of jewellery design briefs. This approach means you decide on what techniques, materials and process you wish to explore and therefore you become a specialist in the area of work you wish to pursue. This ultimately means when you graduate you have your own personal methods and ways of working and your own individual style.

You also develop two-dimensional design skills to enable you to clearly think through your ideas and to communicate these to a wider audience. This practical approach to studying jewellery design is strongly underpinned by theory and research into the field and its related disciplines. Our contextual studies modules enable you to gain awareness and knowledge of the jewellery field, alongside helping you to develop your intellectual thinking and academic skills.

A variety of learning and teaching methods are employed on your Jewellery Design and Related Products degree course, such as workshop activities, demonstration and practice, lectures, seminars, critiques, team work, presentations, module briefings, tutorials with staff and Artist in residence, Online learning, self-directed study, study visits, and one-day projects.

Emphasis is placed on self-discovery; for that reason, self-directed study plays a significant role and a motivating attitude and enquiring mind is necessary to be successful.

Graduate work 2011:

Graduate Show 2011

Graduates at New Designers, Business Design Centre, London

Our Creative Community

We like to celebrate our creative community. Please follow the links below for more information about past events, social activities and secret projects:

BA Banquet, February 2011

BA Banquet, November 2010

Good Enough to Eat, Secret Project- May 2011

Cheers! Secret Project, May 2010

Connections- Secret Project, September 2010

What is a Spoon? Secret Project, February 2010

Eggtravaganza! March, 2010

Brilliantly Birmingham, 2009

Bijoux Bionyx, 2008

Brummie Barumba, 2007

Course Modules

Level 4 (Year 1) of this Jewellery Design course introduces you to many aspects of the jewellery discipline. You will be introduced to a variety of techniques, design approaches and methods of working, and will gain knowledge and understanding of the jewellery field. You will be asked the question "What is jewellery and silversmithing?" and will utilise your new design and craft skills in response to a variety of jewellery design briefs. Modules include Introduction to Specialisation, Design for Production, Contextual Study 1 and Live Project.

What is Jewellery and Silversmithing? First year work from 2011 challenge traditional conventions of the discipline:

Photographs of work achieved during Term 2 for the Design for Production module which introduces production techniques and the idea of designing a collection of work.

During term 3 you will participate in our Live Project module. This introduces aspects of professional practice and possible career directions.

Please visit the following links to see some of our collaborations:

Birmingham Children's Hospital Heart Appeal (images courtesy of Birmingham Children's Hospital)
Jacob Kimmie (images courtesy of Jacob Kimmie)
The Furies (images courtesy of Kindle, Furies, Forest Fringe, Alex Brenner)
Watch this Space (images courtesy of Watch This Space)

Level 5 (Year 2) This year of the Jewellery Design course broadens and develops your learning. Employability and transferable skills are at the forefront of our Entrepreneurial Design module, which introduces aspects of setting up a business as a jewellery designer maker. Students form a company to sell their jewellery products to the public for Christmas time. This module gives you the opportunity to experience the many different skills required for launching a jewellery business. Each Jewellery Design student designs and makes a collection of work alongside playing a vital role within the company. These range across fundraising, finding venues to sell, developing a brand, accounts, pricing, publicity, stock control etc.

For further information please visit the following links:

Obscura 2010
‘Obscura’s Opening Night- An Intriguing Success!’
Aura 34 2009

Other modules include Contextual Design, Personal Development 1, Professional Experience and Contextual Study 2.

Level 6 (Year 3) This year of the Jewellery Design and Related Products course consolidates and synthesises your learning experience with particular emphasis on developing your own visual identity and personal approach to jewellery design. You develop your own personal brief which then acts as a guide to your experimental enquiry. This enables you to make decisions, decide the area of jewellery design you wish to pursue, and the materials and process you wish to investigate. Self-discovery and developing transferable skills such as independence, self-reliance, self-motivation, critical evaluation and problem solving - all help you to develop the necessary life skills you will need to start your career in the jewellery industry upon graduation.

Modules include Personal Development 2, Final Essay, Professional Practice and Personal Development 3.

The course concludes with you designing and making your own final jewellery collection for exhibition at our graduate exhibition.

The BA (Hons) Jewellery Design and Related Products team are all active practioners and between them they have a diverse range of expertise across the jewellery discipline and regularly exhibit their work nationally and internationally.

Zoe Robertson (Course Director)

Zoe is also a jewellery designer maker.

More information about Zoe's work.

Sally Collins (Lecturer)

Sally also creates jewellery on the theme of the 'Superfrilly' and exhibits her work internationally.

More information about Sally's work.

Anna Lorenz (Lecturer - part time)

Anna is also a Silversmith/ Jeweller.

More information about Anna's work.

Sian Hindle (Contextual Studies Lecturer)

Sian is also a text based designer/maker.

More information about our jewellery design staff team and their latest work is available on the School of Jewellery website.

Visiting Lecturers

We also have a programme of exciting visiting lecturers, which has included:

Artist in Residence

The School of Jewellery benefits from a rolling programme of Artist in Residences (AIRs) and the BA (Hons) Jewellery Design and Related Products course has 4 AIRs which contribute to your learning experience. They have a diverse range of skills and knowledge to share.

Current AIRs include:

Find out more about previous AIR cohorts from 2011 and 2010.

The School of Jewellery also has a wide variety of people to help you during your studies and benefits from specialist technicians, academic and support staff, who work in the School and on other courses.

Our Jewellery Design and Related Products Graduates

Please find links below which showcase our Jewellery Design graduate successes, featured on their personal websites, exhibitions, awards, competitions and news stories.

Our Jewellery Design Student, Graduates and Staff Exhibitions

Kate Thorley

From creating jewellery for the stars to designing medals for the European Indoor Athletics Championships, Kate Thorley’s degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing has proved to be the key to a range of interesting projects. She returned to the University to work in its Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre for five years, and now runs her own bespoke luxury jewellery company.

I was really into textiles and illustration, and when I was studying those at college I did a six-week course in jewellery and that changed the course of my career completely – I got absolutely obsessed with working with metal and my tutors at college advised me that there were around four places I could study it at degree level. I came to have a look around Birmingham and I thought the place was amazing – there was so much energy and lots of variety in what you could study, so I knew that was the right choice for me.

As I came from quite a rural area, moving to Birmingham was very exciting – physically, it was a very different environment to what I was used to and there was also the opportunity to take part in new activities and meet people from a wide range of backgrounds.

After leaving the School of Jewellery, I went on to work in jewellery manufacturing at Cookson Precious Metals, first on the bench and then as a designer. I helped set up a new department within the company in the UK and at a factory in Mauritius. My highlight from this employment was when I won a prestigious international design competition, ‘Gold Virtuosi 02’ – the Oscars of the jewellery industry – and guest hosted two sell-out shows on the shopping channel QVC. The talented actress Helena Bonham Carter wore my jewellery, which was amazing, and featuring in OK! Magazine was also a bonus.

Furthering my career, I joined the Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre at Birmingham City University from 2004 to 2009 where I headed the design department, working with jewellery and silversmithing companies and designer-makers across the region. It was here that I met my future business partner Zoe Phillips – we instantly became a team, creating an intuitive professional relationship and friendship. We worked on many exciting projects together, including designing the medals for the European Indoor Athletics Championships and trophies for the United Nations’ ‘World Habitat’ awards and Channel 4’s ‘Creative Class’.

In April 2009, Zoe and I left Birmingham City University to become Creative Directors of our own bespoke luxury jewellery company, ‘Nest Creates Ltd’. It was the best decision we could have made and we’re still involved in teaching as well, doing some guest lectures and short courses with the university and working as mentors to people setting up jewellery courses in their first year. We’re still keeping our hand in on the training side while also enjoying the freedom of running our own business which is a great combination for us.

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.

The Jewellery Design and Related Products course is delivered exclusively at the School of Jewellery which is a specialist subject specific facility which provides jewellery course students with an outstanding learning environment. It is Europe's largest institution for training and education across the specialisation.

For further information visit Our Building.

Enquiries

Prospective students for the BA (Hons) Jewellery Design and Related Products course from the UK or EU may enquire online by using the Course Enquiry Form or call +44 (0)121 331 5595.

Prospective students for the BA (Hons) Jewellery Design and Related Products course from non-EU countries may enquire via the International Enquiry Form or call +44 (0)121 331 6714.

Prospectus

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).