Why postgraduate study was the right choice for me

Originally from China, Yu Jin moved to the UK four years ago to study a BA (Hons) Design Craft (Jewellery) after which she came to BCU to study a Master’s degree in Jewellery and Related Products. Yu tells us about her experience as a postgraduate student and how her degree has set her up for the next step in her career. 

Yu Jin
MA Jewellery and Related Products

Yu Jin

While I was studying for my undergraduate degree in Design Craft (Jewellery), my tutor recommended that I should go on to do a postgraduate degree. I wanted to meet more people, learn with a really strong group and further my skills in order to make my jewellery more professional so specialising in Jewellery and Related Products seemed like the right fit for me.

My main motivation to study this course is to pursue my ambitions. I think about the future career I want, the direction of jewellery I want to create, and have used the time at BCU to learn as much as I can and develop personal skills so I can achieve my goals. I am currently exploring sustainable and ethical jewellery. I am keen to specialise in this field with multi-use jewellery, and would like to experiment with making 3D metal print jewellery.

Studying at BCU is a great experience but the biggest challenge of being a postgraduate student is that most of your projects are self-directed, you are required to reflect on yourself and be innovative. At undergraduate level, the tutor helps much more and will provide inspiration for your work but postgraduate is mainly self-study. It can take some time to adapt to this but I found that making a time plan for the semester including my work and study plans, helps me manage the time and balance the work, life and study time.

Birmingham City University successfully combines innovative teaching and learning, great student support and partnerships with some of the country’s leading employers. As master students, we required innovative pieces of jewellery for our final project. I would often stay in the workshop making and drawing to record my progress and consider what gap my jewellery could fill.

Studying during the pandemic was an added challenge as the classes were mostly held online but we were able to use the workshops twice a week. It was sometimes difficult to study online but I feel it pushed me to learn more from research and from talking with technicians, jewellers and artists.

Yu Jin's jewellery pieces

The community of students and staff are really kind and supportive, which made me feel very reassured throughout my course. I decided I wanted to help other students so I became a Student Ambassador for the School of Jewellery and I work on the Unibuddy scheme answering questions from other people who are considering applying to BCU and sharing my experience.

Alongside my studies, I have had lots of opportunities to prepare for my future career. I’ve been able to undertake BCU’s Culture and Language in Context (CLiC) course to improve my academic writing and my English skills. The Careers Hub at the University gives a lot of online classes about career skills and tutorials for business enterprises, and can help you create CVs and cover letters. The staff at the School of Jewellery also have lots of information about careers and often send us job opportunities that we may be interested in.

My favourite aspect of my time at BCU is spending time in the jewellery workshops because I was doing what I want to do and I learn new things every day. I feel proud of myself when I finish my projects take photos of my pieces. Since I became a student at BCU, I have been able to reflect on myself more, even when I am not working on assignments, I would still use the skills I have learnt to solve my other problems. I have learned much more about the area of jewellery making that I am interested in and feel more professional and confident about what I am doing.

After finishing my degree I want to start my career as a jeweller and start to build my business. I also want to develop my art pieces, exhibit my work and enter competitions.

My advice to anyone considering postgraduate study at BCU would be to think about what you want to achieve and what career you want to pursue and which degree will help you go in this direction.

There are so many opportunities to build your professional networks while you are at university so take every chance to learn new things, meet new people, and set yourself up for your career.

See more of Yu’s designs on Instagram @yu.jewellery

Find out more about our postgraduate Jewellery courses