Horology - BA (Hons)
Discover new designs and materials, discuss the theory behind clocks and watches, and develop specialist skills with our Horology degree, one of the only courses of its kind. 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.
Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23
The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.
Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Discover new designs and materials, discuss the theory behind clocks and watches, and develop specialist skills with our Horology degree, one of the only courses of its kind.
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 this 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.
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.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels.
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|IELTS||6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.|
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|A Level and Advanced VCE||
|AS and AS VCE||Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 112 pts|
|Access to HE Diploma||
|Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)||
|IBO Certificate in Higher Level||
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||
Obtain a minimum of 28 points overall
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)||Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects.|
|OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma||DMM|
|Scottish Advanced Higher||
|UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts||Merit overall|
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.
Additional information for EU/International students
Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements|
6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).|
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 3 years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 3 years
- £13,500 per year
- Register interest
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.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
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.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Free student copy of Solidworks CAD Package
Students studying on this course will receive a free student copy of Solidworks CAD package.
Project materials (mandatory)
This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected, but are likely to be in the region of £300 - £500 per year and an estimated cost of £400 - £1,500 for the material for your Final Year Major project.
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 specialist hand tools which are likely to be in the region of £600 - £1,000 per year.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
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.
You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.
You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.
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
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
There are three ways to apply:
1) Direct to the University
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.
Please note that the application process for this course includes an interview stage. If your application is successful, you will be contacted and invited to select a suitable interview date.
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:
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.
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.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
Course in Depth
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.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):
Horology is often described as an “Art and a Science”. This module is an introduction to the story of horology and its part in global civilisation from the pre-historic to the modern era and will help you contextualise your practice.
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 begin to develop your skill of critical analysis, essential for you future studies.
Professional horologists have a highly developed sense of precision and accuracy. This module is designed to develop your craft skills in design, manufacture and fabrication whilst acquiring an appreciation for the “pursuit of excellence” expected by the horological industry.
Through practice, investigation and evaluation you will develop your technical ability which will increase your employability. This module will also help you to develop key transferrable project management qualities ranging from personal motivation and scheduling skills to risk management and project recovery.
The purpose of this employability driven module is to develop professional attributes, and subject related skills. You will develop the practical and professional skills which you will need in your future employment. Course content will be delivered at Practice-led, knowledge-applied teaching sessions, with emphasis on the link between theory practice.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:
In this module, you will learn how to use Computer Aided Design (CAD) as a tool for supporting and supplementing traditional bench skills. This module will introduce you to the very basics, quickly building up your skills and allowing you to design and develop sophisticated 3D digital models which are suitable for production through the myriad of new technologies becoming increasing available in Computer Aided Manufacture.
The science of gemmology is inextricably linked with jewellery, and an understanding of gemstones is essential for anyone involved in the manufacturing, repairing, buying or selling of fine jewellery. Today’s professional gemmologists face constant challenges as advances in synthetic gemstones and gemstone treatments become ever more sophisticated.
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
During your second year, you will be introduced to further theoretical study of horological mechanisms, and advanced design and technical skills.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):
In line with the program philosophy of pursuing excellence, this module will enable you to develop the practical & professional skills alongside the knowledge & understanding required to become a professional horologist, by practicing and mastering skill based competencies and requirements of the global industry and so enhance your employability potential.
This module will introduce you to various techniques and processes that have particular relevance to the production and/or finishing of horological components, whilst 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 practise and so employability.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.
This module will introduce you to various techniques and processes that have particular relevance to the production of a Business Plan, a key planning tool both in terms of understanding or developing a business but also with relevance to day to day life skills.
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.
This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by an external client/ agency, in consultation with your supervisor, and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation.
It is an opportunity for you to engage in a professional manner with an aspect of your subject area, which contributes to the development of employability skills within the supportive infrastructure of the University. Where appropriate, the project may involve interdisciplinary collaboration with students from other courses. In this way, it reflects the collaborative, flexible nature of employment within the Creative Industries.
The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and ADM Careers+.
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
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.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
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. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.
This module will enable you to further develop the practical & professional skills required to become a professional horologist, by practicing and mastering complex skill based competencies required by the global industry, and so enhance your employability potential.
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.
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.
International recognition for Horology graduate
BA (Hons) Horology alumni Tyler John Davies is celebrating after winning the Young Talent Competition 2019 for his ‘Equilibrium’ time piece - “An expression of the balance between two or more forces”.
Held at SIHH, Geneva, the Young Talent Competition prides itself on discovering the next generation of the most talented young watchmaking apprentices in the world. F.P.Journe, the Swiss high-end watch manufacturer, organises the competition with the support of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, and The Hour Glass luxury watch retailer from the Asia Pacific region.
Tyler received a diploma and grant from The Hour Glass which will allow him to purchase watchmaking tools. The event also gave him the opportunity to present his work at the SIHH in Geneva in front of a number of key industry contacts. This is the second time a Horology student has won the award; Anna-Rose Kirk received the prestigious prize in 2016.
The British Horological Institute (BHI), the body that represents UK Horologists 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.
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 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’.
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:
The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations
The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.
The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.
Facilities and Staff
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.
Horology students also have dedicated areas, as well as the latest CAD equipment. The School’s main computer suite includes CAD design software and Adobe Creative Suite, and you’ll have access to a specialist library.
Our Centre for Design and Digital Manufacturing (CDDM) situated within the heart of the School of Jewellery offers expertise in computer-aided design and manufacturing, rapid prototyping, and has a state-of-the-art precious metal laser sintering facility.
Deputy Head of School & Course Leader
Originally graduating with a Business background, Jeremy transferred his skills into the horology world following his study of HND Horology at the School of Jewellery.
Jeremy worked as a professional horologist for others, and himself, for 20 years before returning to the School to share his 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 Birmingham City University. The course was developed following close collaboration with the British Horological Institute and various leading industry partners.
He is now a Fellow of the British Horological Institute and a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.More about Jeremy
Lecturer in Horology
Rory has over twenty years’ experience of working in a number of sectors of the horological industry. Following completion of a postgraduate diploma in restoration and conservation of antique clocks, he worked at the bench for eight years in a busy commercial workshop in London repairing, and conserving pieces that ranged from valuable antique timekeepers to the ubiquitous Westminster chiming clock.
After a three-year spell working as a clock specialist for one of the leading London auction houses, Rory joined the National Maritime Museum as Curator of Horology, based at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. As curator, he worked to promote and champion the Museum’s world-class collection of precision timekeepers.
During his time at Greenwich, Rory undertook the British Horological Institute’s training in watchmaking and was actively involved in the conservation of the horological collections. Practical horological interests include: the conservative restoration of vintage watches, making by traditional production techniques in combination with newer materials and technologies, and testing and working with precision clocksMore about Rory