Gemmology and Jewellery Studies - BSc (Hons)

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Our BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies degree is one of the only courses of its kind in the world. This gemmology course will enable you to gain the highest level of professionally recognised gemmological skills, up to and including research-level techniques....

  • School School of Jewellery
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

This course is:

Available with Professional Placement year

Open to International Students

Overview

Our BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies degree is one of the only courses of its kind in the world. This gemmology course will enable you to gain the highest level of professionally recognised gemmological skills, up to and including research-level techniques.

Based in the heart of Birmingham’s thriving Jewellery Quarter, you’ll benefit from unrivalled expertise and facilities as you explore precious gems and all relevant aspects of the jewellery trade.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Our highly practical Gemmology and Jewellery Studies degree offers an introduction to gemmological theory and testing, diamond grading and jewellery valuation.

With our fully-equipped gem labs at your disposal, you’ll be able to carry out a range of standard and advanced gemmological tests used in the identification of gemstones.

You’ll have the chance to put gem materials under the microscope, from natural and synthetic gemstones through to imitation. There will also be a chance to learn complementary skills such as photography.

You’ll study at our brand new purpose-built facilities at the Assay Office, just a few minutes’ walk from the School of Jewellery and in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter, where much of today’s jewellery is still made. Our staff team are all experts in their field, and have extensive industry experience. Our graduates go on to work in a wide variety of roles in the jewellery industry throughout the world.

Professional Placement Year

This course offers an optional professional placement year. This allows you to spend a whole year with an employer, following successful completion of your second year, and is a great way to find out more about your chosen career. Some students even return to the same employers after completing their studies.

If you choose to pursue a placement year, you will need to find a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will be able to draw on the University’s extensive network of local, regional, and national employers, and the support of our Careers teams. If you are able to secure a placement, you can request to be transferred to the placement version of the course.

Please note that fees are payable during your placement year, equivalent to 20% of the total full-time course fee for that year.

The BSc Gemmology degree is an essential course for anyone looking for a career in the gemstone or diamond industry. Whether you are a budding Lab Technician, Diamond Grader, Researcher or Jewellery Retailer, this course has something for everyone. You will learn a wide range of skills from all aspects and nuances of gemstone analysis to some of the wonderful history of jewels and jewellery.

Jonathan Solomons

Charlotte Rose

As a 25-year-old, working, single parent, Charlotte believed her dreams of progressing in the diamond industry were out of reach. Despite facing traumatic life events, the support of BCU and Charlotte's resilience allowed her to power through her degree and prove to herself that just about anything is possible.

Read in full

Why Choose Us?

  • This Gemmology and Jewellery Studies degree is one of the only courses of its kind.
  • It is taught by industry experts and leading academics in their field.
  • You’ll work in state-of-the-art, purpose-built facilities, with an extensive range of both standard and advanced gemmological equipment.
  • You will have the opportunity to continue your study at postgraduate level with our ground breaking research team.
  • Our department has extensive links with industry, and sponsors include Garrard and Fellows.
  • You study where the industry practices – the course is based in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, where an estimated 40 per cent of British jewellery is made today.
  • Founded in 1890, our internationally-renowned School of Jewellery is the largest school of its kind in Europe. 

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to learn about this course in detail, chat to students, explore our campus and tour accommodation. In the week before the event, we’ll post you an event programme to plan your day and find your way.

Next Open Day: 29 June 2024

Book Now

Entry Requirements

These entry requirements apply for entry in 2024/25.

All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.

Essential requirements

112 UCAS tariff points

Please note: If you qualify for our BCU Accelerate scheme, you could receive an offer that is two grades below our normal entry requirements. Find out more about BCU Accelerate.

Applicants will also need to complete an interview for this course; see interview arrangements below.

If you have a qualification that is not listed, please contact us.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 years
  • £17,710 in 2024/25

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of safety equipment in order to use the workshop facilities.

Specialist equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including a basic gem testing kit which is available from Gem-A for £260 for a complete kit including carry case.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Conferences (optional)

You may wish to attend conferences, at extra cost.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Guidance for UK students

UK 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

  1. Register with UCAS
  2. Login to UCAS and complete your details
  3. Select your course and write a personal statement
  4. Get a reference
  5. Pay your application fee and submit your application

Guidance for International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them 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.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement 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.

Worried about Personal Statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Course in Depth

Year one

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Year two

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Year three

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Download course specification

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Course Structure

Gain the highest level of gemmological skills, as well as knowledge of all relevant aspects of the jewellery trade, with our Gemmology and Jewellery Studies course. Our highly-practical course will give you the professionally-recognised attributes and experience you need to enhance your employability prospects.

You will work in our fully-equipped, purpose-built gem labs, carrying out a range of gemmological tests, as well as learning advanced-level analytical techniques, diamond grading and jewellery valuation.

You will be introduced to a range of gemmological testing equipment, as well as diamond theory, jewellery valuation and appraisal. You will also learn to grade diamonds to a professional standard, while sharpening your skills in photography and photomicrography.

As you become more skilled and familiar with the equipment, you get the opportunity in your second year to continue your gemmological studies to a greater depth. This will also include greater knowledge of jewellery valuation and appraisal, an extensive practical gemmology testing project, and specialist modules in Jade and organic gem materials.

In your third year, you will conduct advanced scientific testing of gem materials, as well as applying the use of spectroscopy to advance your study of diamonds. The knowledge of jewellery valuation and appraisal that you have commenced in your first two years will be further strengthened, and your increasing skills in analytical techniques will then be demonstrated in a research project of your own choosing.

You’ll study in our industry-standard facilities in the Assay Office. You’ll also undertake national and international field trips to gain a wider understanding of the gemmology field.

Classroom Activities and Projects

Around 50% of our work is practical, and is based in our purpose- built gem testing labs. You will work with a wide variety of precious gem materials, including rough crystals, cut stones and gems set into jewellery. 


Trips and Visits

Our trips vary each year, depending on what events are being held. They range from attending talks, conferences, and museum visits, to field trips both in the UK and abroad. Examples are visits to local auction houses, local and London museums, the annual Gem-A Conference and Scottish Gemmology Conference, the Blue John mines in Derbyshire and a three-day visit to the Antwerp Diamond District.

Employability

Enhancing Employability skills

Employability and key transferable skills are embedded within the course ethos to maximise our students’ capabilities and understanding of potential career opportunities. Each module is designed to incorporate both generic and industry-specific skillsets to give students maximum flexibility in their chosen career path.

Modules are structured to include field visits and opportunities for students to observe and develop an understanding of potential routes to employment. Additionally, the course content includes extensive training in advanced analytical techniques which are required by laboratories worldwide. 

Links to Industry

All of our tutors have worked within the industry, and therefore the course has excellent links with the jewellery trade. Our course has a number of industry sponsors, and they fund a great programme of visiting lectures from a wide variety of experts in the gemmology trade. We also have a number of industry sponsored prizes for high-achieving students, and work closely with other universities and gemmological professional bodies around the world. 

International

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:

Facilities & Staff

Gemmology Facilities Image

Facilities

Our Gemmology students are based in new, state-of-the-art premises at Moreton Street in the Jewellery Quarter, within the Assay Office Birmingham building.

The purpose-built workshops are spacious and superbly well-equipped with equipment, samples and books. Within the department, there is access to some of the highest specification of equipment available for gemmological education in the world. Our students also have access to the further advanced equipment housed within the Assay office’s AnchorCert laboratory. 

Workshops

Jewellery and Horology workshops are located on the main School of Jewellery site complemented with a Technology Hub including state of the art digital manufacturing equipment.

Gemmology

The Gemmology department is furnished with high specification interactive lecture facilities and is situated within the working environment of Birmingham’s Assay Office.

IT and library

Computers and laptops have the latest Adobe software and you will be given access to Lynda.com as a source of great tutorials and advice to support your studies. The School of Jewellery has its own specialist library with a comprehensive range of international periodicals and access to the Mintel Report.

Exhibitions

Our students love the friendly, welcoming atmosphere of the School and return year on year to our annual exhibitions.

Our staff

Michelle McCormick

Lecturer

After twenty years of working in the Jewellery and Gemstone industry and studying for numerous trade qualifications, Michelle graduated from the School of Jewellery with a First-class BSc (Hons) in Gemmology and Jewellery studies in 2015.

More about Michelle