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Horology with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

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

00:00:02:17 - 00:00:27:22
Speaker 1
My name is Lincoln Hamilton. I'm from Watford and I work at Bonhams Auctioneers. So horology is the science of clocks, watches and timekeepers, and it goes through everything from the theoretical end of the spectrum. So how do you account for gravity? Which shape counts for gravity, best for pellets, wheels, etc. all the way down to, here's some metal,

00:00:28:05 - 00:00:53:07
Speaker 1
go make a clock or a watch or a timekeeper. My role is clock cataloguer every day I have people contacting me about clocks in their possession and it's over. A relation of theirs has passed on and they want to get their clocks valued or they bought them in. Antique shop clocks are still very much a part of people's lives clocks, automata, timepieces.

00:00:54:00 - 00:01:23:21
Speaker 1
They've really kind of been alongside humanity throughout history. I mean, even going as far back, you would have buckets sinking in a bigger bucket to keep track of time. You would have incense or candles throughout humanity. Timekeeping has been very important. So I was really interested in physiology from quite a young age, but I would take apart, you know, old stereos working and try and put them back together and find out what made them work.

00:01:24:10 - 00:01:47:19
Speaker 1
And I always quite like that. And then when I was older, I found out that horology is still very much alive and is also a career. I was overjoyed when I found out that it was still going strong and Birmingham's City's Horology Program is the only degree level Horology program in the world. So it made sense to apply really.

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 programmes within the School of Jewellery.

Discover new designs and materials, discuss the theory behind clocks and watches, and develop specialist skills with our Horology degree, the only course of its type.

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.

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 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.

This course teaches a plethora of skills which will make what I do next just that bit more comfortable. Coming to study Horology with a Foundation Year gave me that extra needed time to properly get comfortable with the School, city and staff.

Aleemah Ullah, student

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, and 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 the majority of our students getting offers of work, often within days of graduating.
  • All of our Horology degree students receive a tool/materials bursary from the George Daniels Educational Trust worth up to £1,400, along with opportunities to qualify for further financial support.

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 2025/26.

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: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2025

  • 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: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2025

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

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 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

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

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 you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

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 you 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.  

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 you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Download course specification

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Studied full-time over four 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 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, modules will cover the foundations of jewellery studio and workshop practice giving you practical experience of working with tools and an understanding of materials and processes.

In your second 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 third 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 group work 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

Former Horology student Rosie Kirk is now specialising in clock repair with her own successful clock restoration business. Whilst with us she did a summer placement at London’s British Museum.

"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

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

Jeremy Hobbins

Deputy Head of Jewellery, Fashion and Textiles, Senior Lecturer

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