Horology - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
W723
Attendance:
Full Time (3 years)
Starting:
September 2015
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Please choose how and when you would like to attend the course...

See the UCAS website for help and guidance with your application.

Places on this course are available through Clearing

Our Clearing hotline (0121 331 6777) is open. You can also contact us with your results on our web form.

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

Taught by industry experts with professional experience, you’ll have the opportunity to simultaneously gain Professional Membership from the British Horological Institute.

The skills of our graduates are highly sought after. That’s why they secure roles with prestigious companies such as Cartier, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), Omega, Swatch and the British Museum.

What's covered in the course?

Horology is the art and science of time measurement, and the study of clocks and watches, both mechanical and electronic.

Our unique undergraduate course combines traditional craftsmanship with the latest technology. It looks at the theory of horology with the practical skills to back this up.

You’ll examine the history of time keeping, how clocks and watches work and how they are designed. The course gives you the techniques for clock and watch restoration which are in demand in the industry.

The course uses industry standard software including the Solidworks CAD package to teach design and technical drawing skills alongside traditional and modern niche skills of repair, conservation and restoration. Our workshops give you access to timing and testing equipment and machine tools including advanced five-axis milling and Engine Turning Equipment.

Our reputation and staff connections mean that our professional links are outstanding and our graduates are highly employable.

We have unique industry partnerships with luxury goods brands such as Cartier (UK), and Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH). Cartier (UK) is part of the Richemont Group that owns the brands IWC, Panerai, Piaget, Jaeger le Coultre, Baume & Mercier, Montblanc amongst others and LVMH Watch & Jewellery UK has a portfolio including the likes of TAG Heuer, Zenith and Bulgari. More recently we have joined forces with Christopher Ward, an established UK brand. All these offer work placements, one-to-one mentoring and the chance to develop technical skills in a commercial environment.

You’ll study at our internationally-renowned School of Jewellery, in the heart of Birmingham’s famous working Jewellery Quarter. The historical facade of our Vittoria Street building conceals a contemporary environment including workshops, a specialist library, an atrium gallery and exhibition space.

“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?

  • Our outstanding industry links include Swatch, 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.
  • Unique partnerships with luxury goods brands Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) Watch & Jewellery UK and Cartier Richemont UK, gives you the chance to undertake placements, mentoring and develop technical expertise in a commercial setting.
  • You will have the opportunity to gain the professional accreditation of the British Horological Institute.
  • Founded in 1890, our internationally-renowned School of Jewellery is the largest in Europe, located in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. An estimated 40 per cent of British jewellery is still made there today and there are several stores that sell clocks and watches to industry.
Visit our open day

Visit our next Open Day

Our next University-wide Open Days are:

  • Saturday 3 October 2015
  • Saturday 14 November 2015
Book now for 3 October
Book now for 14 November

This course is open to International students

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • H Samuels
  • Cartier
  • Rolex

And in jobs such as:

  • Founder of own business
  • Branch Manager

Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements for Clearing 2015

240 points (or equivalent) are required for this course in Clearing.

Use the UCAS Tariff Tables to work out your points.

Our Clearing hotline (0121 331 6777) is open.

Alternative options

If you do not have 240 UCAS points, you may like to look at our HND Jewellery and Silversmithing.

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

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2015 FT 3 years £9,000 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2015 FT 3 years £11,500 per year Apply via UCAS

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

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.

Find additional costs for your course

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

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.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

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.

3) Through UCAS

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.

Your personal statement

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:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

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.

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

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.

Year one

During your first year, you will be introduced to a broad range of horological studies, theory and technical skills, building a sound base for further study in years two and three.

Modules explained:
Contextual Studies 1
15 credits

A series of lectures on the history and evolution of horological mechanisms.

Design Drawing 1
15 credits

An introduction to engineering drawing to latest standards using traditional (pencil) and digital techniques, to produce design drawings of individual components through to complex escapement drawings.

Horological Theoretical Studies
30 credits

An introduction to principle constructs underlying simple horological mechanisms and escapements. This module covers their evolution, design and operation.

Professional Practice 1
30 credits

Service and portfolio presentation of a variety of simple mechanisms.

Applied Studies 1
30 credits

A series of practical projects making items out of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, assessed for accuracy and finish, followed by more advance projects as you progress.

Year two

During your second year, you will be introduced to further theoretical study of horological mechanisms, and advanced design and technical skills.

Modules explained:
Contextual Studies 2
15 credits

Further exploration and in-depth evaluation of a chosen topic, relevant to your discipline culminating in a written piece demonstrating academic ability and written communication.

Manufacturing and Finishing Techniques
15 credits

This module explores various production and repair techniques, both traditional and modern, alongside advanced surface finishing skills.

Advanced Horological Theoretical Studies 1
15 credits

Further study of complex horological component design and development including complex escapement design and evaluation.

Professional Practice 2
15 credits

Development and evidencing of analytical and problem solving skills associated with horological repair and servicing via portfolio presenting relevant research, appraisal, approach and outcome.

Applied Studies 2
30 credits

A series of more complex practical projects designed to develop critical thinking, production and finishing techniques.

Specialist Studies 1
30 credits

This is your design proposal for the final year 'Masterpiece', uniting the skills and techniques developed across all other modules.

Year three

During your final year, you will be introduced to further theoretical study of horological mechanisms, and advanced design and technical skills. Greater employability skills are developed, alongside the production of a 'masterpiece' that will summarise and demonstrate your knowledge/skills acquisition.

Modules explained:
Commercial Awareness
15 credits

An introduction to a range of skills necessary for vocational practice, designed to increase employability and potential career progression.

Horological Theoretical Studies 2
15 credits

Further study of complex horological component design and development. More complex escapement design and evaluation.

Professional Practice 3
30 credits

Development and evidencing of analytical and problem solving skills associated with the repair and servicing of clocks or watches via portfolio presentation evidencing relevant research, appraisal, approach and outcome with greater emphasis on conservation, repair and restoration techniques.

Specialist Studies 2
60 credits

You will produce your 'masterpiece' during this module - a significant horological mechanism that will showcase your combined workshop and employability skills. The mastery of practical/technical and project management skills, alongside a critically reflective and self-evaluative report professionally presented via a variety of media.

The majority of your assessment is via coursework but you will also undertake exams.

The course is designed to deliver traditional horology skills and explore developing horology technologies to meet modern standards, while preparing for vocational practice.

Taught by practising horologists, you’ll study 15 modules, to enable you, to secure a degree level academic horology qualification as well as develop a highly sought after specialist skillset.

Your final year sees you produce a student 'Masterpiece' that showcases the skills you’ve learnt across the horology course.

Our final year graduate show and awards are a chance to get your work recognised by industry professionals. Merlin Baker-Whitelaw who received the Fellows Horology Prize is currently working for Carlton Clocks.

The course is studied full-time over three years.

Teaching breakdown

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31 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
69 Time in independent study RoyalBlue

Assessment breakdown

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10 Written exams DarkOrange
79 Coursework FireBrick
11 Practical exams #fece5a

Student stories - James Harris

Student James Harris tells us how he first became interested in Horology and why he chose to study at the School of Jewellery.

Erasmus scheme

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further study

The School of Jewellery offers a range of postgraduate courses, all of which involve innovative research and provide vocationally valuable experience. 

Trip and visits

The course gives you the chance to take field trips to a variety of interesting companies. We have visits to the British Museum, Science Museum, Greenwich Royal Observatory, the Annual Dingwall Beloe horological lecture, British Horological Institute at Upton Hall, and specialist clock restoration companies and watch service centres like LVMH & Cartier. These add context and relevance to your studies, offer you the chance to make connections and give real life examples to theory.

Enhancing your employability skills

Our graduates are highly employable, with skills that are in demand for industry.

The course will enable you to design, construct and restore significant horological mechanisms using fine hand and machining skills.

You’ll have practical, theoretical and technical skills, both traditional techniques and modern technology. The course gives you the skills to use industry standard software and tools. You'll be confident with technical drawing, the Solidworks CAD package and timing and testing equipment.

We also equip our students with the business and marketing skills to set up their own businesses.

Our proximity to Jewellery Quarter, where there are skilled professionals and many stores which sell to the watch and clock industry, allows you to develop intimate knowledge of sales and manufacture.

Success in professional exams helps you get noticed by industry. Laura Turner won a bronze model from the British Horological Institute after she completed her studies with us and now works as Curator of Horological Collections at the British Museum.

You’ll develop a range of transferable skills, such as how to communicate ideas and solve problems, as well planning skills and time management. And thanks to the unique nature of the course, you’ll learn how to work effectively and efficiently either on your own or as part of a team.

Placements

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.

Our relationships with LVMH, Cartier and Christopher Ward mean that they are always interested to hear about our students and there are opportunities for summer work experience.

Student stories - Rosie Kirk

Third year Horology student Rosie Kirk is specialising in clock repair. She did a summer placement at London’s British Museum and hopes to one day own her own clock restoration business.

"I think the inner-workings of clocks are beautiful," said Rosie. "My time at the British Museum was fascinating, I even got to help with the conservation of some of the clocks, which is such a delicate process."

Student stories - Andrew Law

Andrew Law completed a seven-week placement with Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, which services TAG Heuer watches. "It was an amazing experience. They let us experience every aspect of the workshop. I found it really inspiring."

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

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.

Graduate stories

Rebecca and Craig Struthers

Rebecca and Craig Struthers

During their time at the University, husband and wife Craig and Rebecca started their own watchmaking company, called Struthers London, using traditional skills to create 21st century designs. Rebecca said:

Rebecca and Craig went on to Master's courses with the School of Art before securing a prestigious contract with Morgan Motor Company to make bespoke watches. They have recently been named as Alumni of the Year.

Graduate jobs

We have an excellent employment rate, with graduates working all over the world in the vibrant clock and watch industry.

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

Our graduates are employed with global watch brand leaders such as Patek Philippe, Cartier, Rolex, Swatch, Tag Heuer, and Richard Mille. They also have roles with significant specialist restoration/repair businesses such as Robert Loomes & Co., Time in Hand and Steven Hale Watch Restoration.

As well as setting up your own repair business, employment destinations exist away from the bench with auction houses like Fellows Auction House in Birmingham, and Bonhams of London.

Graduate Thomas Mason is currently working for Richard Mille watches. He said: “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!"

Student James Harris says: "A lot of companies are very interested in this course; there’s Cartier, TAG Heuer, Christopher Ward and other smaller brands. If you go for a job and say you have been to Birmingham City University they’ll definitely be very interested in you."

Student stories – Thomas Mason

International Students

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:

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

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

Facilities

Vittoria Street building

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.

Refurbished

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.

Equipment and Machinery

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.

Atrium

Our atrium area is a lively exhibition space with a frequently changing range of shows and displays.

Horology facilities

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

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

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.

Meet our staff

Our staff have over 35 years of experience between them.

Course leader Jeremy Hobbins was a student here 25 years ago and then worked for himself and other employers, including a musical box restoration company. He returned to the School of Jewellery as an academic in 2008 and is well respected throughout industry.

Jeremy Hobbins - staff

Jeremy Hobbins

Deputy Head of School, Head of Horology

Originally graduating with a business background, Jeremy transferred his skills into the horology world following study at the School of Jewellery.  He worked as a Professional Horologist for others and himself for 20 years before returning to the School of Jewellery to share the love of the subject and train a new generation of horologists.  Jeremy created the BA (Hons) Horology course to develop the horological education and training offered by the University, following close collaboration with the British Horological Institute and various leading industry partners.

Jon Parker

Horology Lecturer

Jon studied at the School of Jewellery in the mid-1990s and then went into practise as a professional horologist, opening his own shop near Stratford upon Avon.

He was always interested in passing on the craft of horology and was delighted to join the School of Jewellery four years ago.

Horology was not his first career, though has always had an interest in crafts. Horology contains such a blend of subjects, technical, practical, historic scientific and artistic that he finds it an excellent platform on which to base his teaching. Gaining particular enjoyment from linking the science and mathematics elements.

Previous employment:
  • Self-employed Clock Repairer
  • Freelance video tape editor
  • BBC Engineer/Video tape editor
  • Graduate Engineer Lucas Industries.
UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295