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

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

Alex Cheuk Tsai - 2014 graduate
Bow Sangthong - 2014 Graduate
Francesca Onumah - 2014 graduate
Hayley Beckley - 2014 Graduate
Isobel Watson - 2014 graduate
Natalie Lee - 2014 graduate
Peter Clark - 2014 Graduate
Ruth Conway - 2014 Graduate
Abbie Williams - 2014 Graduates
Chloe Hill - 2014 graduates
Harriet Knight - 2014 Graduates
Isabella Man Liu - 2014 graduate
Lois May Freestone - 2014 graduates
Nati Sarrazin - 2014 graduates
Rae Wu Xiao Wu - 2014 graduate

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 2015/16

If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for the 2015/16 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.
To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:

  • 280 tariff points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBC or above)
  • or
  • be predicted DMM profile at BTEC level

You will also be required to attend an interview.

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 2015 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £9,000 per year
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £11,500 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

Our next University-wide Open Day is on Saturday 20 June 2015. Registration will open Spring 2015 but in the meantime, why not sign up to BCYou! and receive email updates about the University.

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.

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

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

Chloe Hill design Chloe Hill design

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 design process, enabling you to design and make highly innovative, contemporary and thought-provoking work.

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.

Abbie Williams design

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.

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.

Peter Clarke designPeter Clarke design

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 this 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.

Course Modules

Level 4 (Year 1)

Level 4 of this Jewellery Design course introduces you to many aspects of the 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 will utilise your new design and craft skills in response to a variety of jewellery design briefs.

Our Professional Collaboration introduces aspects of professional practice and possible career direction by asking you to respond to a live project brief set by an external company. These are often competition briefs which lead to prizes or work experience with the company. Recently our students have responded to design briefs set by Argos, Just Trade, Barnardos, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Kindle Theatre and Brandaueur

Level 5 (Year 2)

This year is focused around questioning and challenging perceptions, where you explore conceptual ideas via a variety of projects. These experimental projects aim to broaden your thinking and to enable you to experiment with the body, scale, technology and materials. These projects ask you to be open-minded and to question the boundaries of the discipline.

Furthermore employability and transferable skills are at the forefront of our Entrepreneurial Design module, which introduces aspects of setting up a business as a designer maker. Students are asked to form a company to sell their products to the public for Christmas time. This module gives you the opportunity to experience the many different skills required to launch a jewellery business. Each student designs and makes a collection of work alongside playing a vital role within the company.

These skills are enhanced by our professional experience module where students explore the breath of the jewellery industry to identity potential employers to undertake a taster work experience which has seen our students work at Topshop, Kath Libbert, Argos, Diana Porter, Fellows, Sara Priesler and Tatty Devine.

Level 6 (Year 3)

Your final year consolidates and synthesises your learning experience with particular emphasis on developing your own visual identity and personal approach.

You develop your own personal brief which acts as a guide to your experimental enquiry. Theory and practice integrate to underpin your ideas and to inform your thinking in order to bring depth to your practice and for you to critically engage with the field. Your ultimate aim is to design and create a collection of work which is innovative and creative in concept and executed to a high level of professionalism.

Alongside this you will create your professional portfolio and develop your personal brand to promote your work to the public, potential employers, buyers and collectors. Our graduate show celebrates your achievement showcasing your final collection as the culmination of 3 years study at the School of Jewellery helping you to launch your career within the field of Jewellery Design and Related Products.

The School of Jewellery 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. The School also benefits from a rolling programme of Artist in Residences (AIRs) who have a diverse range of skills and knowledge to share with you and contribute to your learning experience.

The BA (Hons) Jewellery Design and Related Products team are all active practitioners and between them they have a diverse range of expertise across the jewellery discipline. The team exhibit their work nationally and internationally as well as contribute to publications, academic papers and conferences.

Zoe Robertson (Course Director)

Zoe Robertson work examples

Zoe is a jewellery artist and practice-based researcher whose work explores the notion of Jewellery and Performance, whereby her design enquiry examines the relationship between wearable objects, the body and space. The jewellery is theatrical in scale and responds to kinaesthetic sensations in which the tactility, sensuality and physicality of the objects is important. She experiments on the edges of the discipline and enjoys working collaboratively, most recently with dance artists and musicians.

More information about Zoe's work

Follow Zoe on Twitter

Sally Collins (Lecturer)

Sally Collins work examples

Enter the world of the Superfrilly; revel in extraneous detail and superfluous fancies, delight in frilly fripperies and ornamented overload and become a frill seeker! Sally’s work explores hyper decorative and excessive ornamentation in jewellery pieces fashioned from miniature metal structures, teeny tiny crochet and characterful fabric forms in sugary sweet pastel tones.

More information about Sally's work

Follow Sally on Instagram: Superfrillylover

Sian Hindle (Lecturer)

Sian Hindle work examples

Sian’s area of research explores the role that jewellery plays in symbolically marking the boundary of the body. By bringing ‘retired’ pieces of jewellery back into circulation, she attempts to render participants’ sense of their own boundaries strange and unstable and to explore the range of embodied responses that emerge.

New knowledge will centre on how challenges to a cohesive and unified body can also result in non-normative performances of self, and contribute to our understanding of the theoretical construct of body boundary. Her practice-based project incorporates methodologies of drawing and making and an exhibition of work, reflecting the findings, will accompany her concluding thesis.

Rachael Colley (Lecturer)

Rachael Colley work examples

Rachael’s practice-based research explores the fleeting and complex nature of human existence, predominantly using jewellery and regalia as modes of expression. Her current research project entitled Spurious Luxus’ seeks to defamiliarise everyday organic materials, to resemble precious gemstones and objects of value. The outcomes intend to undermine traditional symbols of status and class, and to re-present historic social signifiers in a satirical and narrative way.

For more information visit www.rachaelcolley.com

Anna Lorenz (Lecturer - part time)

Anna Lorenz work examples

Anna works freely across the disciplines of Jewellery, Silversmithing and Sculpture. The work is diverse and multi layered, developed through a ‘thoughtful spontaneity’ with a minimalist aesthetic. Her studio practice is process based and the work investigates space, absence and presence and aims to transcend pure materiality to be open for individual interpretations and associations.

The process of cutting and repetition serves as a tool for crossing the boundaries from the material to the immaterial; from the purely aesthetic exploration of form to the notion of reaching personal freedom through creative engagement.

Anna is a part time lecturer on the course and has her studio in the Jewellery Quarter where she works as a self-employed designer/maker.

More information about Anna's work.

Toni Mayner (Lecturer)

Toni Mayner work examples

Toni ‘keeps her mum in a cupboard’ and her current PhD research examines objects as expressions of remembrance, repository of emotions and memories - remembrances embodied with emotive values beyond intrinsic nature, a conduit between an event (loss, bereavement, remembrance) and an individual. Identity and sense of self are key aspects of this examination. A practitioner of traditional craft skills, recently she has extended her work to include craft practice as performance.

www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk (Who’s who in gold and silver)

Jewellery Design and Related Products students Our jewellery graduates are gaining international recognition through exhibitions and awards

Career opportunities for graduates of the Jewellery Design and Related Products course exist within the creative industries including artist-jeweller and designer-maker.

Particular successes have seen our students undertake commissions, residencies and exhibit work at National and International Institutions such as Royal Mint, V&A, Goldsmith Hall, Saatchi Gallery, Sieraad, Inhorgenta and Galerie Marzee.

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

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.

The course creates a vibrant student community by giving you the opportunity to undertake one day projects, pop up exhibitions and events. You’re also able to mix socially with students studying other aspects of the subject discipline.

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).