You are encouraged to pursue innovation, challenge conventions and push the boundaries of the discipline.
You will develop practical skills alongside intellectual engagement and inventive thinking. Creative problem solving is a continuous thread, where a questioning attitude and experimental approach to materials, perceptions, concepts and outcomes is encouraged.
Individuality is fundamental to your creative development, personal philosophy and direction. The School is uniquely positioned in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter enabling you to be fully immersed in the industry from the first day of your studies.
This practical degree is an internationally-respected jewellery design course. It gives you the freedom to develop your own creativity by encouraging you to experiment with a variety of ideas, materials, processes and techniques.
You’ll be supported and encouraged to create innovative designs to a high standard of professionalism, and have the chance to enter competitions and awards.
In your first year of study, the focus is on developing traditional processes followed by experimental materials investigation, allowing you to enter the second year with a range of skills and the confidence to explore various optional topics, live and collaborative projects.
Past student Ruth Hallows was chosen to produce an exclusive jewellery collection, to be sold in Argos nationwide and online. She gained the opportunity to work alongside Argos' jewellery buying team and manufacturer Optima, spending time learning the process of how her collection would be developed from design through to production.
Past students have also undertaken work experience with the likes of Topshop, Tatty Devine and Kath Libert.
You can be guided by your own inspiration. While studying, you will have the opportunity to host a number of jewellery exhibitions, which gives you the opportunity to exhibit and sell your pieces to the public.
You and your peers final collections span the breadth of the discipline of contemporary jewellery and objects, often relating to broader art and design disciplines such as fashion, accessories, theatre, product design and fine art.
The School of Jewellery is internationally renowned, in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. The historical facade of our Vittoria Street building conceals a contemporary environment including workshops, a specialist library, the Vittoria Gallery and exhibition space.
"The BA Hons Jewellery and Objects programme empowers its students to create innovative jewellery and objects which challenge the boundaries of the discipline, enabling our graduates to be uniquely positioned to lead and contribute to the wider professional field." Beaulagh Brookes - Programme Leader
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.
The School of Jewellery is proud to be ranked third in the world for specialist jewellery training by Design Schools Hub, an independent authority ranking educational establishments on real world performance in delivering to students the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly competitive market for talent.
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
Our graduates are shaping the world, achieving things they never imagined.
Drew Markou gives you his top tips on how to get ahead in jewellery, silversmithing and succeed in your chosen career.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good portfolio.
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2017/18|
|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)||D* or combined with other Level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 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.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2017/18|
|IELTS||Non English speakers require IELTS 6.0|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||14 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
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.
From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2017||FT||3 years||£9,250 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|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.
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.
There are three ways to apply:
You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.
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.
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.
A portfolio is required at interview for this Course. You should use this opportunity to evidence your creative enquiry and interest in the context of Jewellery and Objects. When gathering any 2D visuals and images, or 3D pieces to include, consider a range of materials and ideas to present which may have been generated either independently or through a programme of FE study and which best exemplifies your personal interest in this chosen field.
If you are invited to interview you will be required to further discuss aspects of your portfolio submission so it is important to be able to communicate confidently alongside the portfolio content, though the portfolio should also be able to communicate to an interview panel the impression of an applicant’s development in their absence.
Included in the fees is the cost of all teaching and facilities pertaining to the programme, including access and use of a range of new technologies, IT support, library resources, workshop access and other learning equipment.
There are additional costs associated with this course, such as drawing and workshop materials, study visits and personal hand tools.
Guidance will be offered during the first week and throughout the course as to what you may be required to fund in order to progress through the modules at each level of study.
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:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
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.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
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.
During your first year, you’ll be introduced to techniques and ways of working as well as materials exploration and experimentation.
Contextual study modules will encourage a wider discussion and awareness of the field and allow you to develop a further understanding of the discipline.
This modules introduces you to a range of techniques, processes and materials within the discipline of jewellery and objects through demonstration and practice. You will explore and experiment with processes to develop independent learning, problem solving skills and high levels of craftsmanship.
Jewellery and Object in Context
Within this module there is an early focus on the jewellery artefact. This broadens over the course of the semester to include the body it adorns and the society on which and in which the pieces are worn. You will engage in lectures, seminars and student-led activities.
This module offers exciting explorative initial projects that focus on developing ideas, concepts and narratives. Materials, scale, performance and up-and-coming technologies are discovered and experimented with. These exciting avenues of exploration are then selected from and developed further, enabling personalisation that supports each individual to begin directing their creative journey.
In your second semester you will have the opportunity to choose any one jewellery module from the following:
Introduction to Gemmology
This module will introduce you to the most regularly-encountered gem materials and a basic knowledge of their properties together, with the correct terminology to use when dealing with them. You will understand how gemstones and gem-set jewellery should be handled in workshop environments and how they should be cleaned, stored and maintained.
Fine Jewellery Techniques
This module develops your understanding of traditional jewellery techniques and finishes that represents fine-jewellery. This terminology is associated with bespoke, hand made jewellery including mounts for precious gemstone, often referred to as diamond mounting. Through fundamental hand-making skills you will produce samples, test pieces and a finished piece of jewellery.
Silversmithing and Objects
A series of technical exercises and workshops will enable you to learn and understand the core skills used by metal workers and practitioners in the wider discipline. You will learn to identify various methods of moving metal to create 3D forms and experiment with these through independent practice around taught sessions.
This module will introduce you to a range of ornamental surface techniques, processes and materials within the discipline of jewellery and objects through demonstration and practice. The module will encourage exploration and experimentation with techniques and processes to develop an innovative approach to surface and ornament, whilst demonstrating high levels of craftsmanship.
Collaborative Practice 1
The ability to work collaboratively in a team is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries. This module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create a group project with students from complementary disciplines.
The second year explores further awareness of the breadth of the discipline, experimentation and risk taking, with introduction into more specialist pathways and optional modules, as well as exploring employability and collaborative practice.
You will reflect on your experience in level 4 and progress your learning in a direction to suit your evolving creative practice. You will start by considering what you would like to begin specialising in in order to write your own personal brief to support your individual creative development.
Jewellery and Objects in depth
Through this module you will continue to develop your critical thinking skills, working more independently and exploring your chosen topic in greater depth. You will also engage both theory and practice in critical dialogue so that your work is securely grounded in the debates that inform the field.
In your first semester you will have the opportunity to choose from any one of the following modules from across the school:
Luxury Jewellery Branding
This module allows you to start to think about the idea of luxury and how it can be defined. You will expand your thinking to encompass the luxury sector of the market and explore the global significance of luxury jewellery brands, particularly how celebrity endorsement impacts on the perceptions of what luxury is.
This module encourages you to explore a range of exciting materials that could redefine the way we design jewellery and objects in the future. You will research and discover through the creative practice of designers, a range of ‘unusual’ materials and speculate as to how these designs might impact on our future.
Body and Identity
You will explore a range of ideas and concepts that relate to our identities, and the degree to which these may possibly reside in our physical bodies. This module introduces key ideas in seminars in order to discuss the concepts and explore expression through a broad range of artefacts from the expanded field.
Narrative of Objects
This module will help you to widen your studio practice and deepen your engagement with your chosen discipline. You will explore larger scale and broader ranging work, beyond the context of wearability, to produce outcomes which convey a sense of themselves to the viewer. You will also communicate a developing personal aesthetic.
In your second semester you will have the opportunity to choose from any one of the following modules from across the faculty:
This module provides opportunities for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. Set by an external client/ agency, in consultation with your supervising tutor, this could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation. Where appropriate the project may involve interdisciplinary collaboration.
This module will help you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and Birmingham City University Careers.
Collaborative Practice 2
This module gives you the opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration, enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and the module allows you to develop whilst using University facilities and the support of academics.
In the third year, you’ll develop your own personal brief to guide your decisions, the area you wish to pursue, and the materials and process you wish to investigate.
This module includes an in-depth and theoretically informed practical major project within a studio context where you will work alongside like-minded peers to further enrich your enquiry. You will be guided towards choosing a studio group which is relevant to your creative direction. The outcome will take the form of a practice-based portfolio.
Major Project - Theory
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. You will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise.
This module will develop your communication skills through which you will articulate your work to a high standard of professionalism. The module enables you to identify potential career opportunities which span the breadth of the discipline. You will explore key transferable skills which will enhance your employability and entrepreneurial skill sets.
This is a three-year full-time design-based course exploring contemporary practice in the field of Jewellery and Object making. It 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 through a practical hands-on learning experience called experiential learning. This means you will be learning by doing, and designing your work and collections via making. A great emphasis is placed on experimenting with a variety of materials, processes and techniques, which enables you to actively engage with and solve three-dimensional problems.
A questioning attitude to the discipline concepts and outcomes is encouraged. Being open-minded will help you to embrace the philosophy and aims of this course, as studies are intended to stretch and challenge your perception of the subject area, enabling you to develop practical skills alongside intellectual engagement.
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 3D design is strongly underpinned by theory and research into the field and its related disciplines.
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.
The course is assessed on 100 per cent coursework. We feel this best mirrors the way you’d work in the real world and so better prepares you for a career in the design industry.
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.
|37||Time in lectures, seminars and similar||MidnightBlue|
|62||Time in independent study||RoyalBlue|
|1||Time on placement||LightSkyBlue|
Project 25 - Birmingham Symphony Hall recently celebrated its 25th anniversary - this was the starting point of an exciting live project for first year Jewellery students, who were presented a brief to design an innovative range of commercial jewellery that was inspired by the venue and its history. The successful products would then be made through partner sponsorship of a company in the Jewellery Quarter, for sale in the Symphony Hall shop from autumn 2016. Two students were selected to produce final prototypes for these competitions, and both artefacts are now in production.
International Women’s Day (IWD) was the theme for another live project, and students were tasked with responding to a brief that required the designing and creating of a one-off wearable item inspired by the values/ aims/ motivation behind International Women’s Day. Successful students are due to have their work featured as part of the IWD 2017 celebrations
Birmingham City University graduates stole the show at this year’s New Designers 2016 exhibition in Islington, London. Chen Cheng and Sheng Zhang were awarded the Goldsmiths Company Award for Jewellery and the Award for Silversmithing respectively. There were numerous other prizes awarded to the graduates of this programme, which confirms the exemplary standard reached and the enormous contribution that our graduates make to the industry.
Student Peter Clark chose to study jewellery rather than another art and design subject because of being able to wear jewellery and carry his art around with him.
Creative Director of Nest Creates Ltd
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.
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.
Erasmus opportunities are available during the second year of study and will account for a 60 credit module. This scheme permits a successful student to study for up to one semester in a partnering institution overseas.
Applications are made by portfolio to partner institutions via a designated member of faculty staff and under the guidance of your Personal Tutor.
Jewellery design student Chris Yu is on an exchange in Dusseldorf. He said: “The reality and cultural differences did not strike me as hard as I had expected. In fact, studying in Germany is even closer to where I am originally from, Hong Kong, geographically speaking. I have met and interacted with people from all different year groups and I did enjoy having to freedom to plan my own timetable and taking the classes that I truly find useful.”
Many of our graduates progress to further studies, both within the School of Jewellery as well as farther afield, both nationally and internationally.
Our graduates are well versed in critical thinking and independent research practice, as well as being competent practitioners and designers, thus enabling them to explore their chosen practice further through MA, MfA and MPhil programmes.
Study trips are not compulsory but encouraged in order to provide you with a wider understanding of professional practice. You can attend both national and international industry events in order to gain a wider contextual awareness of the field, including, but not exclusive to:
Upon completing this programme, you will have gained an understanding of a range of materials, their properties and the processes used to create jewellery and objects. Your appreciation of the breadth of the discipline will permit innovative creative practice beyond the boundaries of jewellery and objects.
Graduates demonstrate critical thinking skills, and are confident and able to challenge concepts and make judgements in order to enable personal directions to be followed, as well as bring new opportunities to companies and industry practice.
Using a range of techniques to communicate and realise design ideas, you will develop a professional level of promotion and articulation suitable for a range of situations.
Self-directed study and applied project management skills throughout your studies allows you to utilise time efficiently in your graduate activities and professional roles.
You will be encouraged to take up any relevant opportunities which are available to you, and we have numerous opportunities for live projects which may lead to part-time employment and more. It is not uncommon for our students to be working in the industry part-time while studying with us.
One of our graduates undertook summer and sessional work experience with Just Trade prior to completing her studies, she then went on to work for the company after completing her degree and is now a core member of their team.
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.
The School is uniquely positioned in the heart of the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter, and has over 125 years of history training jewellers and silversmiths for the industry and later for the arts.
It proudly maintains its links with the surrounding industry and receives generous sponsorship through prizes and competitions. This includes The Birmingham Assay Office, Cookson Gold, Weston Beamor, The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, Royal Birmingham Society of Arts and numerous others.
Within the School are a number of other specialist courses which further enhance the industry connections from which collaborative practice and related activities can emerge, allowing for a wider range of associated links for our graduates.
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.
The course delivers a wide range of skills, through critical thinking to materials investigation and design development skills, allowing the participant to develop their own unique voice and forge an individual path for their onward careers.
Graduates are able to progress into a number of associated fields within the creative industries, including work as creative directors, gallery owners, curators, studio-based designer-maker practitioners, free-thinking entrepreneurs, educators and researchers.
Many also progress on to further study and associated industries.
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:
Due to the prestigious history, reputation and positioning of the School of Jewellery, it is undoubtedly a popular destination for International applicants. The Jewellery and Objects Programme is therefore host to a number of international students.
Chinese students are attracted to the course as it offers a very distinct blend of European education married with traditional British design and craft skills.
There are also a number of European communities within the student profile, including Lithuania, Denmark and France, among others.
The cultural richness offered by this diverse student body offers unparalleled opportunities to our students and alumni in the form of global connections, awareness and opportunities for collaborations both while studying and also upon graduation.
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.
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 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.
You’ll also have access to specialist equipment, a subject specialist library, seminar rooms and lecture theatre.
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 (Monday to Friday), 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 course is supported by a team of outstanding practitioners with high profile Industry reputations.
The Programme Leader, Beaulagh Brooks is an accomplished studio-practitioner with a wealth of industry and education experience and studio work in notable collections such as the V&A Museum. Fellow team members include jewellers and object makers Rachael Colley, Toni Mayner and Sally Collins, as well as silversmith and applied artist Ann Lorenz and researcher/writer/blogger Sian Hindle.
There is also a pool of Associate Tutors, who are practicing designers and makers within the field.
Toni Mayner lives and works in Birmingham as a part-time lecturer at the School of Jewellery and an independent Jewellery Artist exhibiting in the UK and abroad. Initially training as a jeweller, during her Master's studies she developed large-scale work which led to her spending a year in the Netherlands working with Dutch silversmiths.
Her work has been supported the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Arts Council England and Birmingham Assay Office.