Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

BA Jewellery and Silversmithing

UCAS code: W721

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

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
  • plastics
  • wood
  • paper
  • stone
  • textiles

Alongside your practical studio work, you will gain a contextual and theoretical understanding of contemporary design through our Design and Screen Cultures courses.

Why Edinburgh?

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 in moving 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 industry 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
  • training
  • mentoring
  • competitions
  • exhibitions

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 to a costume jewellery workshop in Germany, which inspired the theme for my dissertation and subsequently inspired me to apply for a job with Swarovski. 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

Year 1

In Year 1 we introduce you 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 the Design and Screen Cultures course, you will address the key histories and theories of design.

You will make regular trips to local archives, museums and galleries for location drawing, curator talks and collection handling sessions.

By the end of Year 1, you will have developed a range of creative/visual research skills which will allow you to explore ideas through drawing and making. You will have been introduced to many archives and collections to stimulate inspiration for a project brief.

Optional courses

You will be able to take up to 60 credits of optional courses. These can be in 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.

Year 2

Fundamental skills

In Year 2 you will learn fundamental skills of the discipline including practical skills such as:

  • working with metals (precious and base)
  • soldering
  • silversmithing
  • casting
  • wax/plaster carving
  • stone setting
  • raising
  • etching
  • recycling precious metals among others

You will take CAD classes and we will introduce you to programmes such as Rhino and other 3D modelling packages, plus the Adobe suite.

Projects

Projects will give you a broad introduction to materials and specialist jewellery and silversmithing techniques.

Trips

You will make regular trips to local archives, museums and galleries for:

  • location drawing
  • curator talks
  • collection handling sessions

Electives

Specific electives offered on the Jewellery and Silversmithing programme include New Medallist: An introduction to modelling, moulding and a variety of materials.

Students on the course conclude with casting a bronze medal in the College foundry. The medals are sent to the British Museum for judging as part of the British Art Medal Society annual competition.

Drawing classes

The programme also offers two drawing courses to support the development of visual research methods and design development skills, allowing translation from 2D into 3D.

By the end of Year 2, you will have the fundamental skills of the discipline and have developed your creative research and design capabilities. This allows you to realise unique and personal creative ideas in finished materials.

Year 3

Year 3 is a professional practice year with an external focus.

Projects

You will have the opportunity to take part in competitions and live projects with leading brands. Past industry partners include:

  • Cubitts
  • Michael Kors
  • Friends of Scottish Rugby

A live project allows you to design and develop a jewellery collection for a public sale and exhibition. You will 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 work.

You will collaborate with a range of external manufacturers who offer services such as:

  • casting
  • 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.

Work-based placement

You will have the opportunity to apply for a paid work-based placement with Hamilton and Inches, a luxury jewellery and silversmithing workshop/retailer based in Edinburgh. The selected student will get the opportunity to experience the professional trade as well as improve their making skills.

Exchange opportunities

You will have the opportunity to go on exchange. We have close relationships with colleges in Japan, South Korea and Canada, among many others.

Munich Jewellery Week

As a class, we attend Munich Jewellery Week. This is a world-leading festival of contemporary jewellery.

Alongside professional practice teaching, you will complete a further drawing/creative research course to support the development of your own creativity. This can be applied through a design process to create jewellery, wearables and objects using any materials.

By the end of Year 3, you will have established a thorough understanding of:

  • the wider industry
  • how to communicate with manufacturers
  • how to develop work using brand values

You will also have developed your creative vision in preparation for Year 4.

Year 4

In Year 4 you will work independently whilst we support you through regular tutorials to develop your final graduate collection of work.

You will work at a dedicated bench with around-the-clock access to technical facilities.

Learning outcomes

Through continued professional practice teaching and creative development tuition, you will feel confident about your ability to express personal ideas, opinions and concerns through practical and theoretical work.

You will develop an awareness of the commercial and industrial potential of your work and future career possibilities. You will have gained confidence in your creative and technical abilities and understand the area of the industry you wish to work within.

Among the core courses to be taken in Year 4, you will continue to develop your creative voice through a dedicated visual research course, which is unique to this programme, to support individual and challenging design ideas as well as finely crafted final collections.

Degree Show

Your final year will involve participation in a public exhibition of work as part of the Degree Show.

We have several public exhibitions in the run-up to the final year Degree Show.

We take our final year Degree Show to London to showcase at New Designers, a trade show that attracts industry professionals offering employment and other opportunities.

Our students receive generous sponsorship from organisations, such as:

  • the Scottish Goldsmiths’ Trust,
  • The Goldsmiths’ Centre, London
  • The Incorporation of Hammermen of Edinburgh
  • Fife Contemporary
  • Hamilton and Inches among others

Programme structure

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.

Programme structure (2024/25)

Our facilities

We have our own dedicated workshop and machine/silversmithing room plus other facilities for:

  • enameling
  • etching
  • casting

When you are not at your bench making, you can use our design studio for sketch-booking and drawing.

You will also have access to the University's:

  • extensive libraries
  • computers
  • technical facilities

Our teaching locations

Technical classes are taught in the workshops.

Professional practice, critiques and lectures are delivered in our design studio as well as lecture theatres.

CAD is taught in computer suites elsewhere on the ECA campus.

Some Design and Screen Cultures teaching takes place in the University's Central Area, depending on room availability.

Jewellery making facilities

Jewellery students have their own purpose-built work benches equipped with:

  • gas torches
  • lamps
  • vices
  • storage spaces for working with hand tools

Department workshop facilities

The department-specific workshop facilities include:

  • an enameling 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

Optional courses

Optional courses are usually taught outside of ECA, across the wider University campus.

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.

Facilities and resources at ECA

Study abroad

You will have the opportunity to study abroad in Year 3.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Jewellery and Silversmithing teaching and learning involves experiential courses in a studio environment.

You will explore conceptual, material and technical issues through:

  • seminars
  • workshops
  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • critiques

Your development is influenced by research and critical thinking, plus the following contexts that shape creative design practice:

  • visual context
  • intellectual context
  • social context
  • professional context

These elements are taught through Design and Screen Cultures courses and involve participation in:

  • exhibitions
  • competitions
  • collaborations
  • 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:

  • portfolio
  • presentations
  • essays against course learning outcomes

There is a mid-session review, usually at the mid-point of any course you study.

Summative (final) 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 past graduates have gone on to work with many reputable employers, including:

  • Edinburgh Assay Office
  • Gucci
  • Michael Kors
  • Hamilton and Inches
  • Theo Fennel
  • The Royal College of Art
  • The Scottish Gallery
  • Edinburgh Dovecot Studios

Recent awards and recognition have been received by our graduates from organisations such as:

  • Scottish Goldsmiths’ Trust
  • Goldsmiths Centre, London
  • Dulux
  • Stephen Webster

Graduates' work has recently been featured in publications such as Wallpaper magazine and Dezeen.

Our alumni have exhibited their work internationally.

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.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

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.

Additional requirements

Portfolio

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.

For more information about the portfolio, visit the Edinburgh College of Art website at the link below and scroll to the section titled ‘Application Process’.

Jewellery and Silversmithing application process

Portfolio technical support and specification

Important dates

  • 1 December 2024: portfolio submission site opens.
  • 29 January 2025: deadline for all applicants (including international applicants).
  • 4 February 2025 at 12 pm (midday) GMT: portfolio submission deadline.

BTEC/UAL Diplomas

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.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

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.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant 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:

Adult returner applicants

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.We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • 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 65 with at least 54 in each component. We do not accept PTE Academic Online.*

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

(*Revised 24 May 2024 to change PTE Academic requirement from total 62 with at least 54 in each component, and to clarify that we do not accept PTE Academic online.)

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.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BA Jewellery and Silversmithing

Additional costs

You will likely have additional costs for:

  • materials
  • essential hand tools

Some programmes also offer study trips and individual field-based projects. You will usually need to pay for:

  • accommodation
  • subsistence
  • travel costs

The actual amount you will pay will depend on the programme, the courses you select and the nature of each trip.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding