Horology - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full Time (3 years)
September 2017

Discover new designs and materials, discuss the theory behind clocks and watches, and develop specialist skills with our Horology degree, the only course of its type.

You will enhance your skills of servicing and restoration to industry standard, as well as using Computer Aided Design (CAD) and rapid prototyping to explore different methods and designs.

What's covered in the course?

Our unique undergraduate Horology course will enable you to study clocks and watches, both mechanical and electronic, as well as assessing the art and science of time measurement.

Combining traditional craftsmanship with the latest technology, this course looks at the theory of horology, as well as providing you with valuable practical skills. You’ll examine the history of timekeeping, how clocks and watches work, and how they are designed, providing you with the restoration skills that are in demand within the industry.

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

Our reputation and staff connections mean that our professional links are outstanding. We have unique industry partnerships with luxury goods brands, such as Cartier Richemont (UK), who own the brands IWC, Panerai, Piaget, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Baume et Mercier and Montblanc.

We also boast a partnership with Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), and have recently joined forces with established UK brand Christopher Ward. 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. Our Vittoria Street building mixes the modern with the classical, and includes 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 inspire through example and share their expertise in practice, research and design techniques.
  • We boast unique partnerships with luxury goods brands LVMH and CartierUK, part of the Richemont group, give 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.
  • We have a strong employability record, with all of our students getting offers of work often within days of graduating.
  • Founded in 1890, our internationally-renowned School of Jewellery is the largest in Europe, located in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter.
Student ambassador helps Open Day visitor

Open Day - 19 November 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 19 November 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

This course is open to International students

Where our students go

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

  • Philippe Patek
  • Swatch
  • Cartier

And in jobs such as:

  • Watch technician
  • Clockmaker/restorer
  • Museum curator

Entry Requirements

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

Typical UK QualificationRequirements 2017/18

In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good portfolio.

GCE A Level/ AS Level BBC at A-Level or 112 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 112 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DMM - 112 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 14 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 112 UCAS points - Higher Levels
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 112 UCAS points
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) grade Pass plus grades CC at A-Level (or equivalent qualifications) to achieve a minimum total of 112 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.

Typical EU/Non-EU (International) QualificationsRequirements 2017/18
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 14 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

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2017 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2017 FT 3 years £12,000 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.

Guidance for UK/EU students


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.

Portfolio Guidance

It is important to be relevant; include appropriate work related to the subject area of interest. Know about the course you are applying for and show idea generation and experimentation.

Within your portfolio, ensure you are able to demonstrate knowledge of the subject discipline, practitioners and individuals that have inspired you. Display examples of paintings, drawings, photographs, three-dimensional work, time-based work and anything else relevant to the area of practice. Also, it is vital you show examples of how you can pay close attention to detail, work on a small scale, your practical skills and 3D spatial awareness.

Additional Costs

We estimate that you will need in the region of £1,500 per year to buy specialist hand tools and materials to work with. Some bursaries are available from the George Daniels’ Educational Trust and the National Express Foundation, and we will help you with your applications once on the course.

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:
Introduction to Horology (semester one)
20 credits

This module is an introduction to the story of horology and its part in global civilisation, from the pre-historic to the modern era. This module will provide fundamental knowledge and understanding of the principles of horology through a series of lectures, exercises, and assignments, which will help you develop essential critical analysis skills.

Production Techniques (semester one)
40 credits

This module is designed to develop your craft skills in design, manufacture and fabrication, while acquiring an appreciation for the pursuit of excellence expected by the horological industry. These projects allow you to explore different hand and machine methods of production, and evaluate their appropriateness in a horological context.

Specialist Horological Skills (semester two)
40 credits

In this employability-driven module, you will develop the practical and professional skills needed in your future employment, and course content will be delivered as practice-led, knowledge-applied teaching sessions. You will study the concepts of clocks and watches, supported by the study of live horological mechanisms, and you will also be guided through different watch and clock mechanisms, developing your skills and terminology.

In the second semester you will have a choice of one of the following 20 credit modules:

CAD for Bespoke Production (semester two)
20 credits

In this module, you will learn how to use CAD as a tool for supporting and supplementing the traditional bench skills. You’ll build up your skills, allowing you to design and develop sophisticated 3D digital models which are suitable for production by the myriad of new technologies in computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).

Introduction to Gemmology (semester two)
20 credits

On this module, you will be introduced to the most regularly-encountered gem materials, along with the appropriate terminology and knowledge of them. You will develop this knowledge to help you understand how gemstones and gem-set jewellery should be handled in the workshop environment, and how they should be cleaned, stored and maintained.

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:
Commercial Servicing Skills (semester one)
40 credits

This module will enable you to develop the practical and professional skills, as well as essential knowledge and understanding, required to become a professional horologist. You will create a collection of either watch or clock-based service portfolios, evidencing your specialist horological servicing skills in a format ideal for promoting to employers.

In the first semester you will have a choice of one of the following 20 credit modules:

Commercial Awareness (semester one)
20 credits

This module will introduce you to the various techniques and processes that are essential for producing a business plan, a key planning tool for developing both a business and your day-to-day life skills. You’ll investigate different marketing and promotional techniques, develop your record keeping and management skills, and keep abreast of invoices and estimates. 

Luxury Jewellery Branding
20 credits

This module allows you to start thinking about the idea of luxury and how it can be defined. You will consider the luxury sector of the market and explore the global significance of luxury jewellery brands. You will consider the significance of brand heritage and observe visual merchandising and customer behaviour associated with British luxury culture.

Advanced Production Techniques (semester two)
40 credits

This module will introduce you to various techniques and processes that have particular relevance to the production and/or finishing of horological components, while enhancing your knowledge and understanding, the module will also develop the key transferable skill of acquiring new competencies. Traditional and emerging technologies will be explored through a series of exercises, enhancing workshop skill-based practice and employability.

In the second semester you will have a choice of one of the following 20 credit modules:

Applied Studies 2
20 credits

Develop professional attributes and subject skills through valuable work experience, critically reflecting upon your learning in the process. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from the University, and the placement duration is usually 70 hours (which can be achieved in one block or dispersed over a longer period of time). Alternatively, you can conduct a shorter placement of 35 hours if linked with a live project set by the employer.

Live Project (semester two)
20 credits

Set by an external client or agency, you’ll be given a professional brief that requires creative and professional problem solving. Where appropriate, the project may involve interdisciplinary collaboration with students from other programmes. In this way, it reflects the collaborative, flexible nature of employment within the creative industries.

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 and skills acquisition.

Modules explained:
Major Project
60 credits

You will explore a relevant area of interest in an in informed, extensive manner, with the outcome taking the form of a written dissertation or practice-based portfolio. You will work independently, but will have support from your assigned supervisor, as well as from seminars and workshops. Through this module, you will develop the employability skills you’ll need when it comes to securing work.

Employment Skills
60 credits

You will further develop your skills by practicing and mastering a series of complex servicing, repair and restoration exercises. By evaluating the design, construction and function of the different elements of horological objects, you will strengthen your transferrable skills, as well as producing a series of portfolios demonstrating your development.

Studied full-time over three years, the course is practice-led, with the majority of your assessment via coursework. You will also undertake exams, some of a practical nature to align with industry experience.

Taught by practising horologists, you’ll study 10 modules, enabling you to secure a degree-level Horology qualification, as well as providing you with the specialist skills that the horology industry actively seeks.

In your first year, we will guide you through a series of exercises that will develop your practical competency, as well as the understanding of the evolution of horology mechanisms. You will also develop CAD design skills to assist you with your projects.

The second year of the course builds on your knowledge and skillset by gradually increasing the complexity of servicing and manufacturing techniques.

For your final year, you will produce a student ‘masterpiece’ that will showcase the skills you’ve learnt across the Horology course. This will help you unite your theoretical understanding in a physical object, as well as enabling you to build a portfolio of restoration and repairs, showcasing your skills.

Hours in the classroom

The acquisition of specialist horological skills takes a lot of practise, so you will have access to the workshops from 8am – 8pm, five days a week. We strongly encourage you make use of our extensive facilities, both through self-directed study but also under the guidance of our experienced staff team.

In the first year, contact time is typically in the region of 14 hours a week, split over Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Teaching breakdown

32 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
68 Time in independent study RoyalBlue

Assessment breakdown

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

Teaching and learning activities

All of our students bring a wealth of experience to the course, with all year groups working in a shared workshop environment to develop key communication and groupwork skills.

Individual projects begin with the acquisition of essential competencies in the first and second years of the course and culminate in range from bespoke designed timepieces in the final year.

You will work on practical projects that are all horologically themed, and you’ll be encouraged to explore different design and production techniques while maintaining the essential qualities of horological production.


The British Horological Institute (BHI), the body that represents UK Hhorologists alongside the British Watch and Clockmakers Guild, has acknowledged the significance of the degree education and will now confer professional membership status on Birmingham City University CU graduates in Horology a minimum of a 2.2, provided they can meet the BHI standards for servicing.

Study and work abroad

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

We are currently designing an MA pathway for Horology for those that wish to continue their studies in the subject, and hope to have this in place for 2017-18. 

Trip and visits

We undertake numerous trips throughout the year to significant horological exhibitions, particular sites of horological interest and to specialist employers, gaining insight into the real world of employment. Importantly, we are very open to suggestions! Previous destinations have included The Great Clock of Westminster, the British Museum, the Museum of the History of Science, Cartier workshops, Sinclair Harding and the LVMH Service Centre.

Enhancing Employability skills

The course is not just about the acquisition of a set of specialist skills; we also develop key transferable skills, all of which will enhance your employability prospects.

With a degree-level qualification, you’ll be able to enter the employment market at graduate level, with essential skills in communication, presentation and problem solving.

The course is delivered through a variety of formats, including e-learning, formal lectures, tutorials and self- directed studies. One-to-one staff contact and group work enables the free exchange of knowledge and experience. 


Following extensive negotiations we are delighted to state that the servicing centres run by LVMH, Cartier UK and Christopher Ward all offer opportunities for our Horology students to gain 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 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.

Links to Industry

Our course was designed in close collaboration with the BHI, with the Service Centres run by Cartier UK, LVMH and through constant ongoing conversations with specialist restoration and manufacturing businesses, like Sinclair Harding, as well as the Clock Clinic in Putney, where the owner, an alumni of the University, regularly appears on ‘Antiques Roadshow’. 

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.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

A wide range of employment is available in the horological world. Graduates go on to positions with major watch brand servicing centres, small bespoke restoration businesses, museums and specialist auction houses.

Our Graduates

We are proud of our graduates’ achievements. Our graduates work with Richard Mille, Omega, Roger Smith and the British Museum, all using their degrees and their knowledge to full potential.

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:

Studying in the UK is better

Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.

The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.

So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.

Overall measures: ranked positions
Undergraduate 2014 2014 2014 2013 2014
Recommendation 1 4 3 5 2
Overall satisfaction 1 4 3 5 2
Arrival overall 1 2 4 5 3
Learning overall 1 4 3 5 2
Living overall 1 2 5 3 4
Support overall 1 4 5 3 2

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

An international subject

Horology is an international subject, our graduates have gone on to work all over the world.  Our students have come from as far afield as the Far East, or as close as Northern Europe. We try to support students from all over the world and even recently received applications from Western Samoa and Alaska.


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.


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.


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.

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.

Assay Office

Assay Office

Our gemmology students are based in new, state-of-the-art premises at 1 Moreton Street in the Jewellery Quarter with access to the highest specification of equipment available for gemmological education within the UK. You'll use diamond-testing equipment at Assay Office Birmingham's AnchorCert Gem Laboratory.

Meet our staff

The Head of Horology, Jeremy Hobbins, has been a practising horologist for 25 years, is a professional member of the BHI and was selected by Watch Pro magazine for their top 100 Watchmakers Award twice in the three-year history of the awards.

Jon Parker, who helped design and now run the BA Horology degree, has also been working in the area for about 20 years, with a thriving practise in Birmingham before moving away from the area.  


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