Horology - BA (Hons)

Course Overview

The essential course information

UCAS Code:
BA (Hons)
Full Time (3 years)
School of Jewellery
School of Jewellery

Previously part of:

Birmingham Institute of Art and Design

This course is the only one of its kind, designed to train and create employable students in horology, tailored to meet the growing global demand for watchmakers and clockmakers, qualified to the industry standard.

What's covered in the course?

Horology is the art and science of time measurement, and the study of devices, both mechanical and electronic, used to show the passing of time.

The academic structure of this new course is designed to allow you to simultaneously gain the qualifications of the British Horological Institute at the highest professional level, and also to secure a degree-level academic qualification.

While focusing on the delivery of well-established traditional and modern niche skills of repair, conservation and restoration required for watch making, there will be elements of your study that embed transferable employability skills through Business, CAD, and Critical Studies modules.

The introduction of reflective and evaluative practice will form a fundamental thread throughout, culminating in the production of a ‘masterpiece’ that showcases your skills acquisition across the course.

A stimulating and dynamic environment develops not only your proficiency, but also your entrepreneurial mindset.

“My time spent studying provided me with an excellent foundation skillset and knowledge that I was able to build upon professionally in an Haute Horology brand service department.”

Thomas Mason

Why Choose Us?

  • You will enjoy a unique and prestigious learning environment. Founded in 1890, our internationally renowned School of Jewellery is the largest institution of its kind in Europe.
  • You will be based in Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter, where an estimated 40 per cent of British jewellery is made today – providing premium exposure to industry practice with an excellent source of industry contacts.
  • We maintain close links with companies such as Cartier in London, Rolex, Christopher Ward, Time In Hand, Richard Higgins Conservation and the British Museum.
  • You will be supported by experienced staff and visiting tutors who share their expertise in practice, research and design techniques, and inspire through example.
  • You will have the opportunity to undertake the professionally-accredited qualifications of the British Horological Institute.


Download the Course Programme Specification

Entry Requirements

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

Typical UK QualificationRequirements 2015/16

In addition to qualifications, 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) 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 2015/16
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: W723.
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

You will 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

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

You will have the choice of entering the service industries for modern watch and clock servicing, antique clock and watch restoration, retail sales or self employment.

At the UK Cartier service centre, 50 per cent of specialist service staff are our graduates.

Students in the recent years have found employment with global watch brand leaders such as Patek Philippe, Cartier, Rolex, Swatch, Tag Heuer, and Richard Mille, and significant specialist restoration/repair businesses such as Robert Loomes & Co., Time in Hand and Steven Hale Watch Restoration. As well as setting up one's own repair business, employment destinations exist away from the bench with auction houses like Fellows Auction House in Birmingham, and Bonhams of London.

Further Studies

For further information on courses Tel: +44 (0)121 331 5595 or go direct 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 either employment and/or further study. The average full-time salary was £18,100.

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

Bring the theory of mechanical timekeeping to life on this degree course through workshop practice and measured drawing, and explore complex automatic watches, chronographs and calendar watches.

Within a unique, stimulating and dynamic environment, the School of Jewellery's Horology department embraces the School of Jewellery philosophy of the pursuit of excellence, creating an environment where Horology degree students can acquire the education and skill set necessary to meet the growing demands of the horological world and begin a process of lifelong learning.

Through a well-established learning and teaching strategy of enquiry, investigation and analysis, the Horology degree course encourages innovation and intellectual engagement within a supportive atmosphere. Students will develop their practical and critical thinking skills, through cognitive interaction with the subject, alongside the growth of their personal and professional identity.

Underpinned by the core values surrounding employability and the student experience, the Horology course curriculum is designed to deliver both traditional horology skills and encourage the exploration and use of developing horology technologies to meet modern standards while introducing a broader range of studies to prepare for vocational practice that will allow the student the choice and opportunity to specialise within the diverse world of horology with confidence.

Learning experience

The academic structure of the new horology course is designed, via 15 modules, to allow students to simultaneously gain the qualifications of the British Horological Institute at the highest professional level, and secure a degree level academic horology qualification. While following the delivery of well-established traditional and modern niche skills of repair, conservation and restoration required for watch and clock making, there will be elements that embed transferable employability skills through Business, CAD and Critical Studies Modules.

The introduction of reflective and evaluative practice will form a fundamental thread throughout, culminating in the production of a student 'Masterpiece' that showcases the skills acquisition across the horology course.

We provide a precise, practical approach to the study, design and production of timekeeping devices, offering traditional and modern techniques relevant to watch/clock making and restoration.

You will design, construct and/or restore significant horological mechanisms using fine hand and machining skills.

You will also benefit from the experience of practising professional horologists and colleagues in a shared learning environment.

"As soon as I finished the course I started working for a major watch brand in their servicing department and am really using the skills I learned on the course; in fact people ask me how things work!"
Thomas Mason BA (Hons) Horology

Our Facilities

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

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

The building has attracted many visitors, architects and educators from across the world.

Studio Workshops provide cut-out work benches with lights and gas torches plus design work stations. Students can use these rooms between 8am and 8pm (5pm on Fridays), independent of staff supervision.

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.

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.

Also available:
  • areas specifically dedicated to horology and gemmology
  • CAD/CAM equipment
  • a subject specialist library
  • seminar rooms and lecture theatre
  • atrium area is a lively exhibition space with a frequently changing range of shows and displays


Prospective students from the UK or EU may enquire online by using the Course Enquiry Form or call +44 (0)121 331 5595.

Prospective students from non-EU countries may enquire via the International Enquiry Form or call +44 (0)121 331 6714.


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).