BA Jewellery and Silversmithing
UCAS code: W721
Duration: 4 years
School: Edinburgh College of Art
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing BA Jewellery and Silversmithing
Our programme aims to produce designers who create fresh, exuberant work demonstrating originality and innovation.
We encourage you to combine new technologies with traditional techniques, using a range of materials, including:
- precious or semi-precious metal and gemstones
Alongside your practical studio work, you will gain a contextual and theoretical understanding of contemporary design through our Design and Screen Cultures courses.
You will be joining a programme with:
- an outstanding international reputation
- an impressive track record of employability and strong industry links
- expert staff who regularly exhibit their work and lecture internationally
Our staff are committed to sharing their experience to assist you to move rapidly into the professional design world.
Ties with industry
We aim to equip graduates with a realistic understanding of the wider jewellery and silversmithing industry, including career and future study opportunities.
Our international exchanges, work-based placements, industry-linked competitions and live projects support you to understand a range of industrial and craft production approaches.
We have close ties with professional industry bodies, including:
- Edinburgh's Scottish Goldsmiths Trust
- London Goldsmiths Company
- Hamilton and Inches
These bodies annually support our final-year students with precious metal awards and sponsorship. They also run or support various events we participate in, including:
- educational events
What our students say
Everything seems to have come together for me, each opportunity inspiring or leading onto the next. The summer costume jewellery internship led onto a costume jewellery workshop in Germany, which inspired the theme for my dissertation that subsequently inspired me to apply for a job with Swarvoski. I felt ready to take that next step into the working world after graduation and hope that the snowball effect of great opportunities is to continue.
- Laura Templeton, graduate
We encourage and support you to explore internships during your holiday period.
You will be introduced to a wide range of creative research and development methods to support the creation of objects informed by and sited on the body.
You will also design and make small-scale functional and non-functional objects.
In Design and Screen Cultures, you will address the key histories and theories of design.
You will be able to take up to 60 credits of optional courses. These can be in the ECA or across the wider University. Your choices will be subject to availability and discussion with relevant course organisers.
You will be able to select a range of courses that reflect your interests and enhance your main study.
In Year 2, you will learn:
- introductory and intermediary principles
- design methods
- working practices
- technical instruction
Projects will give you a broad introduction to materials and specialist jewellery and silversmithing techniques.
You will also:
- study Design and Screen Cultures courses
- be able to choose an optional course from the wider University, subject to availability
Year 3 is a professional practice year with an external focus.
You will have the opportunity to take part in competitions and live projects. Past industry partners include:
- Michael Kors
- Friends of Scottish Rugby
Alongside Design and Screen Cultures courses, optional courses are available from within the wider university.
A live project allows you to:
- design and develop a jewellery collection for public exhibition
- work with new production technologies alongside traditional techniques and processes
The LTD Edition project offers you the opportunity to utilise digital design in the production of your work. You will collaborate with a range of external manufacturers who offer services such as:
- waterjet cutting
- acid etching
- powder coating
This project has been presented at UK and international conferences and has been exhibited at the National Museum of Scotland.
In Year 4, you will feel confident about your ability to express personal ideas, opinions and concerns through your practical and theoretical work.
- complete a written dissertation
- consolidate and refine your practice-based methods while developing an individual voice to produce a final graduate collection of work
- be encouraged to develop an awareness of the commercial and critical potential of your work and future career possibilities
- have confidence in your creative and technical abilities and understand the area of the industry you wish to work within
The Degree Show
Your final year will involve mandatory participation in a public exhibition of work as part of the Degree Show. Your work could also potentially be selected to be shown at New Designers in London.
Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.
To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.
Design students benefit from studio-based learning at our Lauriston Place campus, along with the exhibitions and events associated with a vibrant art college.
Jewellery-specific students have their own purpose-built work benches equipped with:
- gas torches
- storage spaces for working with hand tools
The department-specific workshop facilities include:
- an enamelling room with kilns, anodisers and etching tanks
- machine shop with lathes among other heavy duty equipment
- dedicated silversmithing stakes and hand tools
- casting equipment
- equipment for mould-making
- a state of the art laser welding machine
- multiple 3D printers that output in a multitude of materials including high accuracy wax that can be cast directly into metal
Some Design and Screen Cultures teaching takes place in the University Central Area, depending on room availability.
Optional courses are usually taught outside the School across the wider university campus.
You will also have access to the University's:
- extensive libraries
- technical facilities
Investing in our learning environment
The University is investing in Edinburgh College of Art's estate and facilities. This will further develop our supportive, stimulating, and sustainable learning and research environment.
You can find out more on the ECA website.
You will have the opportunity to study abroad in Year 3.
How will I learn?
Most design teaching and learning involves experiential courses situated in a studio environment.
Conceptual, material and technical issues are explored through:
Your development is influenced by research and critical thinking, as well as the following contexts that shape creative design practice:
These elements are taught through Design and Screen Cultures courses and involve participation in:
- live industry projects
How will I be assessed?
We use continuous formative assessment throughout your study. This helps us give meaningful feedback and encourages experimentation in the studio and beyond.
Formative assessment for compulsory courses can include:
- essays against course learning outcomes
There is a mid-session review, usually at the mid-point of any course you study.
Summative assessment at the end of all courses is informed by your:
- academic and creative progress
- performance throughout
Your course grades are calculated through this summative assessment plus a moderation process.
Our graduates emerge with the confidence to establish themselves as:
- designers and makers
- industrial designers
- teachers within the discipline
Our alumni have exhibited their work internationally.
Our past graduates have gone on to work with many reputable employers, including:
- Edinburgh Assay Office
- Michael Kors
- Hamilton and Inche
- Theo Fennel
- The Royal College of Art
- The Scottish Gallery
- Edinburgh Dovecot Studios
Standard entry requirement
The standard entry requirement is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.
Minimum entry requirement
The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.
The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:
- SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C.
- A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
- IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5.
Applicants will be asked to submit a digital portfolio to provide evidence of artistic aptitude and potential, this will form an important part of the selection process.
(Revised 21 September 2023 to add link to portfolio brief.)
- 1 December 2023: portfolio submission site opens.
- 31 January 2024: deadline for all applicants (including international applicants).
- 6 February 2024 at 12 pm (midday) GMT: mini-portfolio submission deadline.
(Revised 30 August 2023 to add portfolio guidance and important dates.)
Applicants studying Pearson BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Art and Design will be considered for entry with the following:
- Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma with DMM.
- Pearson BTEC Diploma with MM plus one A Level at A (or DM plus B at A Level).
- Pearson BTEC Extended Certificate / Subsidiary Diploma with D plus two A Levels at B (or M plus AB at A Level).
Applicants studying the University of the Arts London Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design will be considered with Merit.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
International Foundation Programme
If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.
Entry to the second year is available. Successful completion of a Foundation Diploma (at Merit grade), a relevant HND or equivalent is required. Applicants with a Foundation Diploma will normally be expected to have undertaken these qualifications in addition to having met the first year entry requirements (Highers, A Levels, IB, relevant HNC, etc). In some of our less competitive degrees it may be possible to consider applicants presenting ABC (or equivalent) or above at A Level. These must have been achieved in one set of exams, at first attempt.
A list of accepted HNDs, along with further information for adult returners, can be found on our adult returner page:
Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.
SQA, GCSE and IB
For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:
- SQA National 5 at C
- GCSE at C or 4
- Level 2 Certificate at C
- IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
- PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.
(Revised 29 August 2023 to remove PTE Academic Online)
We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.
English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.
It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.
Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.
You will likely have additional costs for:
- essential hand-tools
Some programmes also offer study trips and individual field-based projects. You will usually be required to pay for:
- travel costs
The actual amount you will pay will depend on the programme, the courses you select and on the nature of each trip.
For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.
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