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Gemmology - MSc *

Our Masters programme gives you the tools and techniques necessary to undertake research at the forefront of your chosen gemmological area....

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.  Information about the arrangements the University has put in place for the 2021/22 academic year in response to Covid-19 and the emerging variants can be found here.


Should the impact of Covid-19 continue in 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.

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

Overview

Our Masters programme gives you the tools and techniques necessary to undertake research at the forefront of your chosen gemmological area.

Based in custom designed facilities within Birmingham’s Assay Office, in the historic Jewellery Quarter, you will have access to equipment more commonly seen in research laboratories, and, through our network of contacts, potential access to a greater range of tools.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

This course encourages you to investigate gemmological questions and theories, by way of literature-based peer-reviewed research and practical testing.

You'll be supported throughout your studies by our experienced tutors, with a wealth of knowledge and experience between them - all recognised industry professionals.

As well as learning important skills for your future career development from our practical modules, you’ll learn valuable research techniques and analytical skills, which will stand you in good stead with future potential employers.

You will also benefit from the extensive network of gemmologists through our contacts in various organisations across the globe, including laboratories, museum, auction houses and various other related sectors.

This gemmology masters course offers a natural progression into the research fields of laboratory work. It also represents an amazing opportunity to take gemmology to deeper levels, and potentially discover new aspects or solve new or existing problems or questions. As probably the only course of its kind, this is a unique opportunity for anyone with an interest in gemmologist.

Andrew Fellows (Lecturer)

Why Choose Us?

  • Birmingham School of Jewellery is celebrating 130 years of involvement in the jewellery trade in Birmingham. The gemmology department has, in recent years, relocated into custom-built facilities within the Assay Office, ensuring close industry contact and a dedicated environment for study.
  • You'll instantly become part of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media’s 6,000-strong student community, and you will be supported by our highly experienced staff, who are all nationally and internationally recognised.
  • You will also benefit from interacting with a dedicated cohort of gemmology students, from those studying at undergraduate level upwards, enabling you to build a network of contacts from a varied range of backgrounds.

Entry Requirements

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

Essential requirements (UK Students)
BSc in Gemmology or associated subject (e.g. mineralogy or geology)
Extra information for EU/International students
International students must hold a qualification recognised as graduate status and agreed by the Academic Registrar. They must also have appropriate English language skills.
Candidates may be admitted without a first degree via APEL/APL subject to agreement of the Academic Registrar, eg high level of educational, industrial, or professional experience.
IELTS 6.0 with 5.5 min in all bands.

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £8,800 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement
  • £9,700 per year

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £15,900 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months with Professional Placement
  • £17,500 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.

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 Adobe Creative Cloud licence

Students studying on this course can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices.

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.

Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of safety equipment in order to use the workshop facilities. A white lab coat is required.

Media consumable items (mandatory)

This course requires the use of consumables, including a USB drive.

Specialist equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment. You will need basic gemmology equipment (loupe, handheld spectroscope and dichroscope) which is available to buy from Gem-A for approx. £200.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

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.

Conference attendance (optional)

You may need to cover the costs of attending conferences such as the Scottish Gemmological Association.

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.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

MSc

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

The purpose of the module is to introduce you to a range of analytical tools available for producing accurate, concise, and professional reports. Graphical and other presentation techniques will be covered, along with different techniques to isolate or highlight specific areas/features of the data –this will include graphical analysis tools such as Spectragryph and SPSS, both powerful analysis tools that contain a range of analytical algorithms that can be utilised to derive solutions and conclusions from data sets.

The purpose of the module is to introduce you to an extensive range of research–grade laboratory testing tools, training you in the underlying theory, application and practical use of them. You will gain an appreciation for the interconnectivity between different research methods and testing tools, thus developing an in-depth understanding of the relationship between the different techniques, and areas of spectroscopy.

The aim of this module is to introduce you to research skills and methods to allow you to craft your own research proposal, which will support and inform your major project module. You will choose your own area of interest relating to your specialism for research.

The purpose of the module is to introduce you to the concepts involved in ethics and sustainability within the jewellery industry. You will investigate and assess the wider ranging cultural, social, ethical and environmental impacts of the various activities that take place under the umbrella of the jewellery world. From mining to marketing, you will gain an insight into the industry that will enable you to address and evaluate the current and emerging ethical and sustainability issues facing the trade, and critically analyse possible solutions.

The purpose of the module is to introduce you to areas of crystallography, and crystal properties, and how these impact on areas such as response to treatments, synthesis, and usage, both in the jewellery trade and beyond. By the use of both practical and theoretical techniques you will gain an appreciation for the range of properties displayed within crystal structures, and their applicability.

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 practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

MSc with Professional Placement

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

The purpose of the module is to introduce you to a range of analytical tools available for producing accurate, concise, and professional reports. Graphical and other presentation techniques will be covered, along with different techniques to isolate or highlight specific areas/features of the data –this will include graphical analysis tools such as Spectragryph and SPSS, both powerful analysis tools that contain a range of analytical algorithms that can be utilised to derive solutions and conclusions from data sets.

The purpose of the module is to introduce you to an extensive range of research–grade laboratory testing tools, training you in the underlying theory, application and practical use of them. You will gain an appreciation for the interconnectivity between different research methods and testing tools, thus developing an in-depth understanding of the relationship between the different techniques, and areas of spectroscopy.

The aim of this module is to introduce you to research skills and methods to allow you to craft your own research proposal, which will support and inform your major project module. You will choose your own area of interest relating to your specialism for research.

The purpose of the module is to introduce you to the concepts involved in ethics and sustainability within the jewellery industry. You will investigate and assess the wider ranging cultural, social, ethical and environmental impacts of the various activities that take place under the umbrella of the jewellery world. From mining to marketing, you will gain an insight into the industry that will enable you to address and evaluate the current and emerging ethical and sustainability issues facing the trade, and critically analyse possible solutions.

The purpose of the module is to introduce you to areas of crystallography, and crystal properties, and how these impact on areas such as response to treatments, synthesis, and usage, both in the jewellery trade and beyond. By the use of both practical and theoretical techniques you will gain an appreciation for the range of properties displayed within crystal structures, and their applicability.

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 practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

In order to complete the MSc Gemmology with Professional Placement course, you must also successfully complete this 60 credit optional module

This module is designed to provide you with the opportunity to undertake a credit bearing, 20-week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree.

The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.

The Masters in Gemmology will be a predominantly self-directed study course, enabling you to follow your own research into your preferred area of gemmology (this can be origin, treatment determination, trends or other such field).

You will be taught valuable research techniques and analytical tools, and trained on the advanced lab-testing equipment housed within our Research Lab.

Employability

Enhancing your employability skills

You will learn of range of skills which will be key to enhancing your future employability.

Specifically you will learn:

  • Research skills, both in terms of literature, and numerical data.
  • Analytical techniques for data analysis and presentation.
  • The ability to operate a range of research level analytical tools, based on various forms of spectroscopy.
  • The ability to work independently and collaboratively.
  • To be a self-motivated, organised, effective learner.
  • Effective time management and project management skills.

Links to industry

Within the gemmology department, lecturers have extensive contacts in the gemmological, valuation, and auction worlds, and can provide a network of contacts for research options, both in the UK, and globally.

UK:

AnchorCert Lab, Gem-A SGA, Birmingham Assay Office, IIDGR, Christies, Sotherby’s Bulgari, Bentley & Skinner.

International:

SSEF, GIA, AGL, AGIL, Alrosa.


OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

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.

International Students

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

Our School, and the Gemmology Department in particular, is popular with students from all areas of the globe. We have a wide-ranging and culturally diverse cohort in our BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies degree, with students from Japan, China, Russia, Egypt, America, Nigeria, Somali, and many other countries.

Facilities and Staff

Gemmology Facilities Image

Our Facilities

Our Gemmology students are based in new, state-of-the-art premises at Moreton Street in the Jewellery Quarter, within the Assay Office Birmingham building.

The purpose-built workshops are spacious and superbly well-equipped with equipment, samples and books. Within the department, there is access to some of the highest specification of equipment available for gemmological education in the world. Our students also have access to the further advanced equipment housed within the Assay office’s AnchorCert laboratory.

The Research Lab includes a range of spectroscopic analysis equipment, along with the latest diamond screening tools.

Our staff

Andrew Fellows

Lecturer - BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies

More about Andrew

Miranda Wells

Course Leader - BSc (Hons) Gemmology and Jewellery Studies

More about Miranda