Jewellery and Objects with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons) *
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....
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.
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.
Experiment with materials, techniques and processes on a highly respected jewellery design degree course. You are encouraged to pursue innovation, challenge conventions and push the boundaries of the discipline.
You will develop practical skills alongside intellectual engagement and inventive thinking. Creative problem solving is a continuous thread, where a questioning attitude and experimental approach to materials, perceptions, concepts and outcomes is encouraged.
Individuality is fundamental to your creative development, personal philosophy and direction. The School is uniquely positioned in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter enabling you to be fully immersed in the industry from the first day of your studies.
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.
This practical BA degree is an internationally-respected jewellery design course. It gives you the freedom to develop your own creativity by encouraging you to experiment with a variety of ideas, materials, processes and techniques.
You’ll be supported and encouraged to create innovative designs to a high standard of professionalism, and have the chance to enter competitions and awards.
In your first year of study, the focus is on developing traditional processes followed by experimental materials investigation, allowing you to enter the second year with a range of skills and the confidence to explore various optional topics, live and collaborative projects.
Past student Ruth Hallows was chosen to produce an exclusive jewellery collection, to be sold in Argos nationwide and online. She gained the opportunity to work alongside Argos' jewellery buying team and manufacturer Optima, spending time learning the process of how her collection would be developed from design through to production.
Past students have also undertaken work experience with the likes of Topshop, Tatty Devine and Kath Libert.
You can be guided by your own inspiration. While studying, you will have the opportunity to host a number of jewellery exhibitions, which gives you the opportunity to exhibit and sell your pieces to the public.
You and your peers’ final collections span the breadth of the discipline of contemporary jewellery and objects, often relating to broader art and design disciplines such as fashion, accessories, theatre, product design and fine art.
The School of Jewellery is internationally renowned, in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. The historical facade of our Vittoria Street building conceals a contemporary environment including workshops, a specialist library, the Vittoria Gallery and exhibition space.
The BA Hons Jewellery and Objects programme empowers its students to create innovative jewellery and objects which challenge the boundaries of the discipline, enabling our graduates to be uniquely positioned to lead and contribute to the wider professional field.
Beaulagh Brooks - Course Leader
Why Choose Us?
- The jewellery and objects course encourages you to develop your own personal style and enables you to design, develop and launch your own highly innovative, contemporary and thought-provoking products.
- Founded in 1890, our internationally renowned School of Jewellery is the largest in Europe, located in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. An estimated 40 per cent of British jewellery is still made there today and you’ll gain contacts, inspiration and experience.
- The course benefits from specialist technicians, academic and support staff. We also have a rolling programme of Artist in Residences (AIRs) who have diverse skills and knowledge to share with you and contribute to your learning experience.
- Sponsorship, prizes, live projects and strong collaborative links with industry will help you to develop an entrepreneurial outlook and an insight into the professional world.
- We have an excellent reputation for highly employable, creative graduates with an in-depth understanding of the latest technology and the manufacturing industry. With many graduates progressing to Post-Graduate study.
- Our onsite Technology Hub offers expertise in a range of industry-related techniques, including CAD and manufacturing, rapid prototyping, surface finishing, reverse engineering and project management.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
80 UCAS tariff points.
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|IELTS||Minimum overall score of 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.|
|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 80 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 24 points overall|
Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)
|Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 80 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects.|
OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma
Scottish Advanced Higher
|Pass overall (C or above on the core)|
UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design
UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology
UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts
|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|
Minimum overall score of 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.
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.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £16,300 per year
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.
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 up to £300 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.
Media consumable items (mandatory)
This course requires the use of consumables.
Specialist equipment (mandatory)
This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including additional tools depending on your field of interest.
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.
Placement expenses (optional)
If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.
Field trips (optional)
This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.
You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.
You may wish to purchase Rhino software for 3D modelling.
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
You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.
Course in Depth
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
This module introduces you to the University, the School, and the expectations of higher education learning and teaching. You will gain an understanding of the support services and academic resources available to you through a series of inductions. The module will cover the breadth of opportunities within the Jewellery, Gemmology and Horology industry and the specialist requirements of each of these areas.
In this module you will cover drawing skills, the foundations of technical drawing, hand rendering, Photoshop, and will be applying your visual presentation skills.
This module will introduce key library learning skills and methods of academic research. It will include activities engaging you with methods of collecting, collating and evaluating information and knowledge. You will be developing critical reading, critical analysis and presentation skills.
This module gives you the opportunity to pursue an in-depth enquiry specific to your field of interest in Jewellery, Gemmology or Horology. You will investigate an aspect within the field of your specific interest that informs your progression route.
During your first year, you’ll be introduced to techniques and ways of working as well as materials exploration and experimentation.
Contextual study modules will encourage a wider discussion and awareness of the field and allow you to develop a further understanding of the discipline.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):
The purpose of this first contextual studies module is to provide you with an introduction to the ideas that are important to the discipline. It will also enable you to begin to develop your research, writing and critical thinking skills and to communicate your ideas and learning effectively. The learning you engage with here will inform your studio practice and enable you to participate in academic research, reading and writing throughout your course.
This module introduces you to a range of techniques, processes and materials core to the discipline of Jewellery and Object making through exploration and practice. You will observe demonstrations and participate in a series of inductions to equipment, processes and techniques, which you will then be expected to explore and experiment with further in order to develop independent learning, alongside problem solving skills and attain an appropriate level of craftsmanship.
This module will continue to develop your knowledge of materials, techniques and processes, and challenge your understanding of the breadth and depth of possibilities within the field of jewellery and objects. You will be introduced to explorative methods that focus on developing ideas and design. You will explore research topics and be introduced into identifying personal lines of inquiry and appropriate individual methods of development. You will explore a range of methods to enable you to reflect, solve problems and evaluate your creative practice.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:
This modules is designed to introduce you to a range of ornamental surface techniques, processes and materials within the discipline of Jewellery and Objects through demonstration and practice. It will encourage exploration and experimentation with techniques and processes to develop an innovative approach to surface and ornament, whilst demonstrating high levels of craftsmanship.
In this module you will be introduced to the fundamental techniques and processes used in metalwork for creating non-wearable objects through demonstrations and practice.
You will participate in a range of set exercises to expand your developing knowledge of materials, technical ability and skills through the production of technical samples and final outcomes.
In this module you will be introduced to fundamental hand-making skills through the production of samples, test pieces and a finished piece of jewellery. You will develop an understanding of traditional jewellery techniques and finishes that represent the term fine jewellery.
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.
Diamonds are the most commercially important gem material with a huge global market. The history and market value of this precious gem material influences consumer attitude towards jewellery, and provides a subject for ethical debates around the world.
This module allows you to gain an insight in to the luxury end of the jewellery retail market through developing detailed knowledge and understanding of the grading systems used to determine the value, categorisation and certification of diamonds.
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.
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
The second year explores further awareness of the breadth of the discipline, experimentation and risk taking, with introduction into more specialist pathways and optional modules, as well as exploring employability and collaborative practice.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):
In this module you will be required to engage with a range of practice methodologies and carry out sustained, in-depth exploration of different materials, processes and techniques through the development of your own ideas.
You will be encouraged to demonstrate an increasingly critical and analytical approach to your practice as well as to establish inquisitive and experimental attitudes to self-generated ideas that illustrate your developing personal artistic language.
This module further develops students understanding of research methodologies and the ways in which research approaches and methods inform and support studio practice across a range of outputs.
You will be supported in developing independent research and studio practice with the view to identifying and applying your learning to an individual project in preparation for ongoing Study.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.
This module aims to widen your studio practice and deepen your engagement with the chosen discipline. You will explore larger scale and broader ranging work beyond the context of wearability, to produce outcomes which convey a sense of themselves to the viewer and you will also communicate a developing personal aesthetic.
The purpose of this module is to enable you to explore a range of ideas and concepts that relate to our identities, and the degree to which these can be said to reside in our physical bodies.
You will be introduced to key ideas in seminars, where you will have the opportunity to discuss the concepts themselves and explore how they find expression in a broad range of artefacts from the expanded field of jewellery and objects. You will be encouraged to extend your knowledge of this research context through independent research, and to build up your own bank of examples, artefacts and performances that exemplify the material covered in the seminars.
This module will introduce you to a range of materials encouraging you to undertake your own exploration of how a chosen material can be manipulated to achieve a variety of aesthetics. Alongside developing your knowledge of materials you will also develop critical thinking skills about how materials are/can be used to convey meaning in the field of Jewellery and Objects and within the broader context of art and design.
This module allows you to start to think about the idea of luxury and how it can be defined. You will expand your thinking to encompass the luxury sector of the market and explore the global significance of luxury jewellery brands, particularly how celebrity endorsement impacts on the perceptions of what luxury is.
You will consider the significance of brand heritage and examine whether reliance on loyalty to a brand can be maximised. You may also investigate how luxury brand extensions can be utilised. You need to understand how an emerging brand can find their identity through innovative and luxury marketing strategies.
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.
The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff.
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.
In order to complete this course you 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 enables you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed practical Studio project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. This will take place within a studio group context relevant to your chosen specialism and under the tutorage of a BA Tutor. You will work alongside like-minded peers to further enrich your enquiry. The outcome will take the form of a practice-based portfolio of Artefacts, Research and Design Development.
The overall aim of this module is to enable you to develop communication skills with which you may articulate your work to a high standard of professionalism, it will enable you to identify potential career opportunities which span the breadth of the discipline. This module you will explore key transferable skills which will enhance your employability and entrepreneurial skill sets. This module prepares you to launch a career within the creative industries as an industry graduate.
This is a four-year full-time design-based course exploring contemporary practice in the field of Jewellery and Object making. It gives you the opportunity to be creative and experimental within the design process, enabling you to design and make highly innovative, contemporary and thought-provoking work.
Primarily, you will learn through a practical hands-on learning experience called experiential learning. This means you will be learning by doing, and designing your work and collections via making. A great emphasis is placed on experimenting with a variety of materials, processes and techniques, which enables you to actively engage with and solve three-dimensional problems.
A questioning attitude to the discipline concepts and outcomes is encouraged. Being open-minded will help you to embrace the philosophy and aims of this course, as studies are intended to stretch and challenge your perception of the subject area, enabling you to develop practical skills alongside intellectual engagement.
You also develop two-dimensional design skills to enable you to clearly think through your ideas and to communicate these to a wider audience. This practical approach to studying 3D design is strongly underpinned by theory and research into the field and its related disciplines.
A variety of learning and teaching methods are employed on this course, such as workshop activities, demonstration and practice, lectures, seminars, critiques, team work, presentations, module briefings, tutorials with staff and artist in residence, online learning, self-directed study, study visits, and one-day projects.
The course is assessed on 100 per cent coursework. We feel this best mirrors the way you’d work in the real world and so better prepares you for a career in the design industry.
Emphasis is placed on self-discovery. For that reason, self-directed study plays a significant role and a motivating attitude and enquiring mind is necessary to be successful.
Enhancing your employability skills
Upon completing this programme, you will have gained an understanding of a range of materials, their properties and the processes used to create jewellery and objects. Your appreciation of the breadth of the discipline will permit innovative creative practice beyond the boundaries of jewellery and objects.
Graduates demonstrate critical thinking skills, and are confident and able to challenge concepts and make judgements in order to enable personal directions to be followed, as well as bring new opportunities to companies and industry practice.
Using a range of techniques to communicate and realise design ideas, you will develop a professional level of promotion and articulation suitable for a range of situations.
Self-directed study and applied project management skills throughout your studies allows you to utilise time efficiently in your graduate activities and professional roles.
You will be encouraged to take up any relevant opportunities which are available to you, and we have numerous opportunities for live projects which may lead to part-time employment and more. It is not uncommon for our students to be working in the industry part-time while studying with us.
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
The School is uniquely positioned in the heart of the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter, and has over 125 years of history training jewellers and silversmiths for the industry and later for the arts.
It proudly maintains its links with the surrounding industry and receives generous sponsorship through prizes and competitions. This includes The Birmingham Assay Office, Cookson Gold, Weston Beamor, The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, Royal Birmingham Society of Arts and numerous others.
Within the School are a number of other specialist courses which further enhance the industry connections from which collaborative practice and related activities can emerge, allowing for a wider range of associated links for our graduates.
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:
Our international students
Due to the prestigious history, reputation and positioning of the School of Jewellery, it is undoubtedly a popular destination for International applicants. The Jewellery and Objects Programme is therefore host to a number of international students.
Chinese students are attracted to the course as it offers a very distinct blend of European education married with traditional British design and craft skills.
There are also a number of European communities within the student profile, including Lithuania, Denmark and France, among others.
The cultural richness offered by this diverse student body offers unparalleled opportunities to our students and alumni in the form of global connections, awareness and opportunities for collaborations both while studying and also upon graduation.
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.
You’ll have access to industry standard equipment, studio workshops with specialist tools and a shared machine workshop with a wide range of powered equipment, a casting facility and an electroplating laboratory. The School’s main computer suite includes CAD design software and Adobe Creative Suite, and you’ll have access to a specialist library.
Course Leader Foundation, Course leader Graduate Diploma
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 Australian Narrative Jewellery”, that is touring UK and Australia.
Bridie worked with a Sydney colleague as co-curator of “By Example” – a significant exhibition of contemporary Australian jewellery shown at the Itami Cultural Foundation, Itami, Japan.
Her personal research interests include issues of the handmade and the digital, intersections of art and design. She considers art jewellery as a medium, an interface of the virtual (interiority, the imaginary) and the real.
She uses a variety of materials in various combinations with metal, including plastics as well as found material, minerals (non precious stones) and organics (shell, horse hair).More about Bridie
Course Director/Senior Lecturer & School Lead Academic
A highly experienced Educator, Academic, Manager and Designer-Maker, with a passion for Teaching & Learning focusing on the Creative Industries and Applied Arts. Beaulagh is especially interested in Studio Practice and developing students employability and Graduate enterprise skills, alongside creative research and practice. Her current research interest focuses on exploring the influence of craft on economies and communities.
Beaulagh enjoys leading and developing Education practice to encourage enterprise and creativity through Curriculum development, Pedagogy and Course writing. She is an experienced line-manager and enjoys teamworking.
She also remains dedicated to supporting Start-up SMEs and Designer Makers. As Co-Founding Director of Centrepunch Ltd, a graduate hub established in South London between 2012-2016, she supported graduates and new SMEs into business and provided workshop space for the Goldsmithing industry. Centrepunch has since moved to an online resource and continues to offer support and guidance to graduates from across the Creative industries through a network of associate tutors and members.
With over 25 years of studio practice, having set up BSC Design’ in 1995, Beaulagh has a wealth of experience as a Designer-maker, and has a network of far reaching industry contacts. She has sustained her studio practice alongside her extensive teaching portfolio across the sector. This enriches her teaching and learning practice for the benefit of her students.More about Beaulagh
Senior Lecturer, BA Hons Jewellery & Objects
Rebecca Skeels started her business in 1994 after graduating from the University of Wales. Since 1994, Rebecca’s thirst for knowledge and her passion for sharing has led her to graduate from Central Saint Martin’s (MA Project by Design) and achieving a PGC in Higher Education from the University for the Creative Arts. Rebecca is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
As a designer maker, Rebecca’s work has exhibited across Europe, in the US and in China. She continues to explore ideas and work collaboratively with like-minded designer makers of different disciplines utilising different materials. In parallel, Rebecca’s enthusiasm to encourage others to learn and to be creative led to her position as Senior Lecturer at the School of Jewellery at Birmingham City University.
Rebecca’s position as a design maker, leader of craft courses and as an active member of the UK’s craft industry, provides her with a unique perspective on education and requirements for the future of ‘the crafts’. Her interests allow her to continuously develop craft education to enable more inclusive learning experiences which are adaptable to the students’ abilities, and her exploration of ‘other’ materials and processes from different craft disciplines provides an extensive view of the industry.More about Rebecca
Lecturer - BA (Hons) Jewellery and Objects
More about Anna