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Horology - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

Discover the evolution of designs and materials behind clocks and watches, alongside exploring the specialist skills required to design, make and repair these fascinating mechanisms yourself using fine hand and machining skills....

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

Overview

Discover the evolution of designs and materials behind clocks and watches, alongside exploring the specialist skills required to design, make and repair these fascinating mechanisms yourself using fine hand and machining skills.

Our Horology degree, one of the only courses of its kind, will enable you to develop the practical and analytical skills to identify and resolve complex faults, and utilise our traditional and cutting edge facilities to explore a range of techniques.

You will benefit from the experience of practising professional horologists and colleagues in a shared learning environment, and have the opportunity to build a series of portfolios of clock/watch repairs and restorations as proof of your professional capabilities.

We will develop your digital design and communication skills using a range of industry standard software, using Computer Aided Design and Manufacture (CAD/CAM) and explore rapid prototyping to experience different methods and designs. The Course will embed transferrable skills such as initiative, adaptability and time and project management during your three years with us on the degree.

Our many connections with the major brands allow opportunities for working on Live Projects and exploring employment experience in a professional setting, alongside the chance to develop lifelong connections throughout the industry.

We have a strong employability record with graduates recently taking up places with employers such as Cartier, Rolex, Tag Heuer, and Xupes. Other Alumni work with Roger Smith, look after significant collections such as at the British Museum, work in major Auction Houses like Bonhams and Fellows, and have even and have restored the Great Clock of Westminster ( AKA Big Ben!) There may well be any number of similar opportunities ahead for you.

This course is open to International students.

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 exploring 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 laser welding machines, 3D printing 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 Richemont (UK), (who own the brands Cartier, IWC, Panerai, Piaget, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Baume et Mercier and Montblanc) and with Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH – Tag Heuer, Zenith, Bulgari, Hublot,), 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.

Professional Placement Year

This course offers a professional placement year. This allows you to spend a whole year with an employer, between the second and third years of your degree, 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.

The University will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. If you do not find a suitable placement, you will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-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 (£1,850 for UK students).

The Horology course at BCU taught me key skills which helped me secure my job at Rolex when I graduated. The volume of hands-on learning allowed me to improve my problem-solving skills and hand eye coordination. As well as this I was able to work on a variety of timekeepers like pocket watches and carriage clocks. While working on these it broadened my understanding of the similarities between all types of clocks and watches. Alongside the servicing modules there are modules for manufacturing different parts of clocks and watches. The skills learnt in these smaller, individual projects are then brought together in the final, major project. This is where I manufactured a clock which was of my own design. This was a very rewarding process and taught me a lot about project planning and working to tight deadlines.

Jacob Worthington, Rolex UK

Why Choose Us?

  • Our outstanding employability record with graduates working for brands such as Bremont, Cartier, Rolex, Swatch, Tag Heuer, and Christopher Ward; or with unique makers/restorers such as Roger Smith and Richard Higgins Conservation; and for others such as Bonhams 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.
  • Our partnerships with industry give you the chance to undertake placements, receive 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.

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. Booking for the next event isn’t open yet. Register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Open Day: March 2023

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

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

Essential Requirements

112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels.


Applications taken to the next stage must attend an interview in order to receive an offer.

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
  • BBC / 112 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.
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
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design & BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture - Construction, Planning, Built Environment and Art and Design subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • BA (Hons) Art and Design, BA (Hons) Fine Art, BA (Hons) Jewellery and Objects, BA (Hons) Horology - Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • BA (Hons) International Jewellery Business - Arts, Media and Business subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • BA (Hons) Graphic Communication, BA (Hons) Illustration, BA (Hons) Photography, & BA (Hons) Design for Performance - Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
DMM
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)
  • Distinction
  • Can be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 112 pts
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 112 UCAS Tariff Points
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
  • Achieve a minimum of 112 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades CCD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of CD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of CC in two Highers).
T-Levels
  • Merit overall
  • Design, Surveying and Planning T Level considered for BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design & BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture courses
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
Other qualifications

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
Essential

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
IELTS

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).

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).

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

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: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Study Year (2023/24) £9,250

Professional Placement Fees

The tuition fee for your first year of study at the university is shown here. Full-time courses with a Professional Placement also incur a fee during the placement year. The fee for your placement year will be £1,850, which is equivalent to 20% of the total full-time course fee.

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: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 years
  • £13,980 in 2023/24
  • Full Time
  • 4 years (with Professional Placement)
  • Show fees
  • Study Year (2023/24) £13,980

Professional Placement Fees

Full-time courses with a Professional Placement also incur a fee during the placement year. The fee for your placement year will be equivalent to 20% of the total full-time course fee for that year.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

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.

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.

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.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

Memberships (optional)

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

  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

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):

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year two

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 order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year three

During your final year, you will be introduced to further theoretical study of horological mechanisms, and advanced design and technical skills. Greater employability skills are developed, alongside the production of a 'masterpiece' that will summarise and demonstrate your knowledge and skills acquisition.

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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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.

Accreditation

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.

Employability

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. 

Placements

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."

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’. 

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

Jewellery facilities gallery image

Our Facilities

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.

Our staff

Jeremy Hobbins

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...

More about Jeremy