- UCAS Code: 72WW
- Level: Undergraduate
- Starting: September 2021
- Study mode: Full Time (2 years)
- Location: School of Jewellery
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year 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.
Based within a stimulating and dynamic environment, the School of Jewellery’s HND course is unique within the UK and has an excellent reputation within the industry, with our students and graduates employed at all levels, locally and internationally.
As an HND student, you will be working on live, collaborative and customer-facing projects, broadening your experience through our industry-focussed curriculum. Working at authentic jewellers’ benches, you will develop traditional skills alongside knowledge of contemporary cutting-edge technology.
What's covered in the course?
Our course will immerse you in the world of jewellery and silversmithing as you create pieces in precious and non-precious metals. You will produce pieces by hand and by mechanical means, with a particular focus on manipulating metal.
The practical, design-led nature of the course gives you plenty of opportunity for hands-on workshop experience to hone your skills. You’ll develop practical experience of materials and tools, alongside techniques in drawing and model making to develop your design processes.
You’ll have access to the latest equipment such as laser welders and 2D and 3D CAD software packages, as well as casting and plating workshops.
Dedicated staff with professional experience will offer advice, support and industry contacts. You’ll be encouraged to enter national and international competitions, and you’ll also have fantastic opportunities to work on live projects with industry.
Field trips and study visits add colour and relevance to your studies, and support an understanding of commercial jewellery manufacturing environments.
You’ll study at our internationally-renowned School of Jewellery, in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter, where much of today’s jewellery is still made. The historical facade of our Vittoria Street building conceals a contemporary environment, including workshops, a specialist library, a state-of-the-art technology hub, an atrium gallery and an exhibition space.
Why Choose Us?
- 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 here today. Being situated within this wonderful environment you will gain contacts, inspiration and experience.
- The HND course has an excellent reputation for producing highly employable graduates with a practical understanding of the needs of the industry.
- Our well-equipped studio workshops offer a dedicated laser welder, contemporary stone-setting, including optical diamond setting and a dedicated CAD/CAM facility, using the latest relevant CAD packages to enhance the traditional techniques and hand skills you will learn.
- Regular liaisons with the industry in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and beyond offers opportunities to get noticed, make connections and gain employment: we are proud of the number of our graduates who now work at all levels of the trade, locally, nationally and internationally.
- Sponsorship and support from associated companies gives the course industry relevance and insight, supporting the reputation of the HND and endorsing your qualification.
Our next Open Day is taking place in Summer 2021. It's the perfect opportunity to tour our facilities, hear from some of our staff and get a feel of what it's like to study at BCU.
This course is open to International students
Discover the School of Jewellery
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Where our students go
Our students have gone on to work in jobs such as:
- Jewellery designers and makers, both self-employed and in industry
- Working in retail environments at all levels
- Management positions in retail and manufacture
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good physical or digital portfolio
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|IELTS (SELT only)||Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and 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 2 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 48 pts|
|Access to HE Diploma||
|Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)||Pass|
|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 48 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects.|
|OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma||PPP|
|Scottish Advanced Higher||
|T-Levels||Pass overall (D or E on the core)|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design||Pass overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology||Pass overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts||Pass 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|
Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.
Please note that you must have a Secured English Language Test (SELT) to study on the HND. Other SELTs are Pearson Test of English (PTE) or LanguageCert.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||24 points overall
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).
Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.
From A/AS Level with a minimum of 1 A Level
Worried about teacher assessments?
However you're being assessed this Summer, it can be a stressful time. We've got a load of tips on revision skills and time management to help you feel as prepared as possible.
- UK students
- International students
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 2 years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 2 years
- £13,200 per 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. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.
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
If your application is progressed, you will be asked to submit a portfolio of your creative work. This can be submitted digitally or you can physically bring it in. Your portfolio is your opportunity to show us examples of your work and creative interests to support your application.
Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips and advice on putting your portfolio together.
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.
Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items.
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
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.
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.
We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
You’ll be given an introduction to the industry and the tools, materials and processes used. The course is based around traditional techniques and projects, with hands-on workshops.
Each project involves a new jewellery or silversmithing technique or process. You’ll work on both large and small scale metalwork and related design processes.
Demonstrations from experts, as well as field trips, will help you understand the techniques and processes and gain networking opportunities.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):
In this module you will learn the fundamental hand-skills required for a career in the jewellery industry and you will be based within a real jewellery workshop environment with authentic jewellers’ benches. Throughout the hands-on learning process you will cover the key elements of traditional jewellery techniques, which will give you a basic skill-set to develop as you progress through the course.
In this module, you will learn fundamental hand and machine skills used for the production of larger objects, commonly referred to as silversmithing and small-works. You will experience using specific machinery and equipment located in the basement machine shop, in addition to the tools available in the HND studios and process rooms.
In this module you will be introduced to the techniques used for batch and quantity production in metal.
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 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.
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.
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’ll develop your skills in CAD work and build up your professional portfolio. This year also develops your advanced jewellery skills relating to traditional diamond mounting and diamond grading.
A live project forms a compulsory part of your studies this year. Birmingham-based precious metal casting and rapid-prototyping company, Weston Beamor submit a brief to create jewellery and give you the chance to gain recognition, prizes and valuable work experience.
Awards are presented at a prestigious trade fair in Birmingham providing great publicity and networking opportunities.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):
In this module you will develop a more in-depth understanding of manufacturing techniques, which will include laser technology and advanced CAD. There will be a greater focus on the commercial applications of lost-wax casting as a means of multiple batch production.
You will also learn about using the laser-welder as a means for the rapid repair and modification of castings, as well as for other industry process requirements. Laser technology opens up unique creative possibilities within the design process and this module provides you with the opportunity to combine production processes, in order to create a collection for sale in a real-world commercial environment.
The purpose of this module is to provide you with an overview of the industry context, in order to prepare you for employment post-graduation. It will ensure that you have an awareness of the complex nature of the jewellery industry and you will be encouraged to begin to develop networks of contacts in order to raise your profile as you identify a career path and launch your career as an industry graduate. It will also assist you to develop the transferable skills that will ensure you can function successfully within this professional context.
This module gives you the opportunity to develop your own unique product range where you will identify your chosen direction and target market within the specialist field. This is a culmination of your learning experience by bringing together all of the knowledge and expertise you have gained on the course. Your ambitions will be clarified through a personal written project brief with the purpose of creating a collection suitable for progression to the BA (Hons) Design for Industry (top-up) course or to launch your career. The ultimate aim is to design and manufacture a market ready product range realised to a high professional standard.
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 set gemstones into pre-made mounts. Using traditional workshop skills, you will develop an understanding of the principles of stone setting, giving you the ability to set a range of gemstones into a variety of settings. You will also learn about the specialist tools required for stone setting and how to prepare, sharpen and maintain them. This practice will enhance your workshop skills and develop your knowledge of the working properties of gemstones. The role of a stone-setter is one of significance and much-demanded in the jewellery industry.
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. 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.
This practice-based course will introduce you to techniques and processes associated with the traditions of the jewellery industry, enabling you to construct pieces in both precious and non-precious metals.
The knowledge and skills of jewellery-making are developed through ‘hands-on’ experience in the workshop and you will benefit from demonstrations given by experienced practitioners in the field. These practical experiences help you to decide on your preferred scale of working, whether that is jewellery or silversmithing.
Our uniquely well-equipped studio workshops offer a range of equipment from traditional Victorian fly-presses to cutting-edge laser-welding and advanced CAD CAM technologies, enabling you to not only learn about the traditional techniques of the bench jeweller but to enhance those skills with the most contemporary processes, through projects which incorporate new jewellery technology.
The course is assessed via coursework, and you will undertake practical and written modules. Alongside workshop practice and demonstrations you’ll learn through a mix of lectures, seminars, critiques, team work, presentations, tutorials, online learning, and self-directed study.
A design focus encourages you to be creative within structured projects. Each project involves a new technique or process, and Ideas are developed and problems solved through drawing, model making and practical experience of materials, tools and techniques.
The practical focus of the course is balanced with personal research to develop intellectual thinking.
Classroom activities and projects
We are proud that the HND course is highly practical and workshop-based. As a student on the course, you will be in the workshop for the majority of your time and will be learning by actually making real jewellery and silverwares in a real jewellery workshop. Within a few days of starting, you will have created your first piece of jewellery!
The course is designed to give you the chance to work with industry and in your ‘Live Project’ module, you will get the chance to design work in collaboration with a commercial jewellery house, making pieces which will be showcased as part of their presentation at the International Spring Fair in Birmingham. Previous students who have taken part in this project have sold their work through the company and have been employed to create further collections.
We want the workshop to feel as similar to the real-world as possible and you will be invited throughout to engage with the relaxed but focused environment which we try to create. As part of the course, we have informal chats about all aspects of the industry and we welcome your thoughts and feedback at all times about your work and the work of your colleagues, which includes the staff.
As part of creating this nurturing environment, we have occasional informal lunches, evening events and visits from a wide range of people, including stone-dealers, famous jewellers and booksellers. The workshops are open for you to use from 8am in the morning to 8pm at night and you will have the opportunity to make your own work.
The course is taught through a wide range of methods but mainly by demonstration and by hands-on experience. The staff at the School of Jewellery have enormous experience of all aspects of making and where specific expertise is needed, we bring in Visiting Tutors.
Our HND course has been designed to allow for the natural progression to the BA Design For Industry course which builds your skills by enhancing the specific areas that you are interested in. Many of the students at this point decide to explore the world of CAD/CAM but you would be able to direct the focus of this course in any direction in which you are interested.
It is also possible for our HND graduates to progress through the School to complete the MA in Jewellery Design and Related Products.
Trips and visits
We organise at least one major trip every year as well as many smaller trips. As the School of Jewellery is within the historic Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, we take the opportunity to introduce you to the many companies, makers and suppliers who are about the area. You will also have the chance to visit the enormous ‘Spring Fair’ ” at the NEC and the New Technology ‘TCT’ show in Coventry, both of which keep you informed with developments in the jewellery world.
Major trips in the past have included visiting the legendary jewellery gallery at the V&A in London and Hatton Garden, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and research trips to places of historic interest.
Enhancing your employability skills
We have designed the course to make you the most employable jewellery graduate possible.
In addition to all the basic metalworking skills, you will learn about hallmarking, the history of jewellery and silverwares, gemstones and gem-setting, CAD software, and all about the newest types of digital production technologies. We pride ourselves on the fact that you will learn most of this in a practical way, by actually doing the work and our many connections to the jewellery industry support us in this.
Many of our graduates are now prestigious makers and designers in their own right. Kevin Gray was recently the highlight of the Silver Speaks exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and Agnieszka Maksymiuk runs her own successful company. Naomi Newton-Sherlock has become the director of casting company Weston Beamor, while Jack Row runs his own bespoke pen company, which is sold through prestigious outlets such as Harrods.
You will be encouraged to take up any opportunities which are available to you, and the jewellery industry frequently contacts us when they are looking for employees. It is not uncommon for our students to be working in the industry part-time while studying with us, and we have put people into companies as diverse as Weston-Beamor (casting) and Thomas Fattorini (medal-making,) as well as into smaller workshops doing repairs, commercial stone-setting and small-scale manufacture.
Our students are also in demand for retail work as their experience in handling jewellery and their knowledge of gemstones and other materials is helpful in the retail environment.
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.
Naomi Newton-Sherlock - Director, Weston Beamor
Naomi studied at the School of Jewellery in the mid 2000s, having already graduated with First Class Honours in languages. Education, work experience and networking have been valuable investments for Naomi, from the practical bench experiences with jewellers Cellini and James Newman, to studying additional courses to gain further skills such as gemmology.
After winning prestigious competitions, and working with both luxury and high street jewellers, she applied for a design position at Domino. Evolving the bridal and diamond ring mounts and growing the business, her professional and creative aptitude soon had her promoted. In 2015, she became Director of the brand’s sister company Weston Beamor.
Nicole Iredale - Company founder, Nicole Iredale Designs
After graduation, Nicole started her own business, Nicole Iredale Designs, sharing a workshop as part of the Design Space scheme. In order to fund her business, she took a part time job at Kokkino. This proved invaluable, from the cash flow injection to the experience of assisting at trade and retail shows, giving her confidence to take her own jewellery to the British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF). The success from exhibiting at the BCTF resulted in a number of shops and galleries stocking her jewellery.
Joseph Jackson - CAD Designer, Shaun Leane
Joseph worked as Shaun Leane’s CAD designer in London for 18 months straight after University (2014) and learned a lot about the bespoke process, getting to work on multi million pound pieces. Joseph studied first on the HND course before being accepted on the DFI top-up year, giving him dedicated access to new technologies. Joseph is also exhibiting at this year’s Goldsmith Fair and has recently completed a commission for a £34,000 diamond bracelet.
Jack Row - Award winner
Following successful graduation in 2007 and winning a number of awards, Jack entered employment for one of Europe's leading jewellery manufacturing companies. Experimenting with the application of CAD technology, Jack became fascinated with its potential for the creation of innovative, exciting products. He returned to study the DFI course, combining his traditional skills with the innovative application of CAD and RP (Rapid-Prototyping) technologies. Graduating with a First Class Honours degree a year later, Jack won the coveted British Jewellers Association prize for his precious metal fountain pen design concept. Six months later, he was awarded a Gold Medal prize by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, one of the established Livery companies of London, for his 'Architect' prototype fountain pen.
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
Our graduates fulfil many roles in the jewellery industry and at all levels, from bench-work in small companies to directors of big companies and throughout the course it is possible to specialise in areas of work which will direct your future employment.
Many of our graduates are self-employed as designer/makers but for those who are not interested in self-employment, opportunities exist for setters and mounters, medal-makers, finishers and polishers, casting technicians, CAD designers, repairers and fine-jewellers, as well as opportunities in retail, both customer-facing and as buyers for retail companies.
Links to industry
Every year we partner with Weston Beamor to provide a live project competition, in which you will be given the chance to design and make a commercially-viable product which will then be showcased at the International Spring Fair.
The first year of the HND course has sponsorship from both Allied Gold and from Cookson’s Precious Metals, which allows you the chance to work in precious materials without having to worry about the costs.
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
We pride ourselves on our international reputation and the School of Jewellery was rated one of the top three places to study jewellery anywhere in the world. The HND course is all about skills and learning to make fine jewellery and silverwares and, as such, fits into the tradition of European schools where a foundation of craft-skills is paramount.
Over the years, we have had many students from all over the world, and in 2016 our classes were made up with people from China, Taiwan, Korea, Norway, Poland, Iran, Russia and, of course, the UK.
We love the international mix of students on the course and it makes for an exciting dynamic. The staff are experienced in dealing with students from around the world and we will do everything we can to make you feel welcomed and at home.
Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
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.
We have a small staff team of Dauvit Alexander, Jo Pond, and Katy Tromans. Jo and Dauvit have strong international reputations as makers and Dauvit has a background in the practical jewellery industry. Katy creates highly detailed, organic, narrative Objet d’art with the aim to tell a story through her designs. Additionally, you will be taught by a number of highly experienced subject experts and you will be supported by our team of expert technicians, Paul, Alan, Karen, Pete and Abbie, all of whom are practical makers.
Jeremy Hobbins BA (Hons), HND, MBHI
Head Of Horology
Professional Horologist for 20 years, both employed and self-employed in Clock and Watch Repair/Restoration. Examiner for British Horological Institute prior to joining Birmingham City University. Former life in Catering Management, Business Studies Degree.