Gemmology and Jewellery Studies with a Foundation Year - BSc (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry. Switch to 2025/26 Entry

This four year undergraduate course has been specifically created to allow students who do not initially meet the entry requirements for a three year degree, to undertake additional level 3 study designed to ensure they are successful on their chosen degree....

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

This course is:

Open to International Students

Overview

This four year undergraduate course has been specifically created to allow students who do not initially meet the entry requirements for a three year degree, to undertake additional level 3 study designed to ensure they are successful on their chosen degree.

After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the opportunity to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree courses within the School of Jewellery.

Our BSc 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.

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?

The Foundation year of your course will introduce you to the breadth of, and the possibilities within, the industries of Jewellery, Gemmology and Horology. You will gain an understanding of some of the key principals and relevant technical terminology, and have the opportunity to develop and apply some of the basic skills whilst gaining an overview of the key industry resources.

Alongside exploring the industry specific qualities, techniques and process you will gain an understanding of the requirements and methodology for further study at HE level. You will develop enhanced directed and independent learning techniques, focusing on your critical and reflective skills.

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.

Gemmology and Jewellery Studies with a Foundation Year is a course which, in my experience, brings a lot of opportunities to anyone that decides to do it. Either you are not one hundred percent sure on what you want to focus your studies on, or just want to know what the subject is about, the Foundation year is for you. Getting to know what the School has to offer and meeting new people in the field really is a game changer. 

Stephanos Petrides - Foundation Year student

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

80 UCAS tariff points

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
  • 4 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

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

Course in Depth

Foundation year

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

Year one

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

Year two

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

Year three

In order to complete this course you 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 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 final 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 few years will be further strengthened, and your increasing skills in analytical techniques will then be demonstrated in a research project of your own choosing.

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 the London museums, the annual Gem-A Conference, the Blue John mines in Derbyshire, geology field trips to Cornwall and Scotland, a week-long laboratory visit to the University of St Andrews, a three-day visit to the Antwerp Diamond District and a recent third-year trip to Cambodia and Thailand. 

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.

Exhibitions

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

Our staff

Nuala Clooney

Course Director, Lecturer

Nuala Clooney is an artist working with sculpture and video based in Birmingham, UK, and teaches on the Foundation courses within the School of Jewellery. Nuala has exhibited internationally and extensively across the UK.

More about Nuala

Bridie Lander

School Academic Lead for Jewellery, Senior Lecturer

Bridie is an experienced jewellery designer/maker and lecturer. She spent several years as an artist and academic in Australia where latterly she was Coordinator of the Jewellery and Object Studio at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. Some of her work was recently included in a group exhibition, “Transplantation: British and...

More about Bridie

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