Contemporary Jewellery

BA (Hons)

2018 entry

This exciting course focuses on individual creative expression, giving you the chance to design and create innovative work based on your own research and material exploration.

You’ll work alongside like-minded makers and nationally renowned industry figures in a studio-based environment.

Our Contemporary Jewellery teaching staff are all practising jewellers and are highly regarded within the profession, ensuring that the syllabus is constantly evolving to meet the latest industry developments.

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Length of study:

Three years full-time


September 2018


UCA Rochester

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Course overview:

We foster a supportive environment, which is stimulating and challenging. The Contemporary Jewellery teaching team are practicing designer-makers, all highly regarded within their respected professions, ensuring that the course content is constantly evolving and is responsive to the latest professional demands. 

With additional support from specialist technical staff, you’ll have the opportunity to harness a host of design processes whilst investigating different materials, including metal, plastic, silicone, wood, ceramics, and digital technology – including laser cutting and 3D printing. 

You’ll learn how to develop and realise your ideas and jewellery designs, developing confidence in making and testing them, alongside learning basic techniques of drawing, research, design, computer aided design and theoretical skills to help you explore design projects to their full potential.

With access to excellent workshops and your own workspace, you’ll work alongside like-minded designers and makers in a stimulating creative studio environment at our Rochester campus, where innovation and excellence are encouraged. 

Through individual and collaborative work you’ll explore diverse ways of approaching the design process and learn through a series of stimulating projects, producing ambitious, creative and individual work.

You’ll have the time and space to speculate; to test boundaries and take risks, developing your wide knowledge of materials, refining your technical skills and developing new ones. You’ll also take part in live projects and competitions.

In the third year you’ll develop your collection for exhibition, establish a professional portfolio, as well as an online presence. The course also participates in the New Designers exhibition in London for graduating students.

Our Rochester campus is just a 40-minute train ride from London, giving you easy access to one of the most diverse creative cities in the world – densely populated by future clients, employers and commissioning agencies.

Open Days

Register for an Open Day to find out more about this course in person.

In the first year, you'll be introduced to the University and the technical workshops and facilities available to you. On the course you’ll learn the technical and conceptual skills that will give you a solid foundation from which to explore your areas of specialist activity.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Maker, Materials and Process 1

    The purpose of this unit is to introduce you to the act of making as a key skill and means of experimental research through the exploration of materials and processes.

  • Maker, Materials and Process 2

    This unit builds on the previous one, with you extending your vocabulary of material knowledge through the acquisition of a different but related set of material skills and processes. You will test and further develop skills and knowledge from inception to resolution within given contemporary jewellery practice brief contexts, increasingly synthesising design processes of research, ideas generation, iterative exploration, documentation, evaluation, resolution and communication at a fundamental level.

  • Practice, Process and Concept

    The purpose of this unit is for you to develop creative responses to designing and making, reflecting on and using experiences of processes and materials learned in previous units and using new skills learnt in the unit.

  • Contextual Frameworks

    This unit promotes a broad speculative approach to the investigation of the relationship between form and surface. It encourages you to develop creative responses to designing and making, reflecting on and utilising your experiences of process, materials and technologies.

The second year focus is on finding your own specialist way of working and you’ll be encouraged and supported to start working more independently. During this year you may also have the opportunity to complete an industry work placement or even study abroad.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Practice Exploration 1

    The purpose of this unit is for you to explore individual design identity and interest through engagement with design project briefs. Briefs require consideration from inception to resolution and incorporate all stages of the design process.

  • Practice Exploration 2

    The purpose of this unit is for you to further extend and develop your exploration of individual design identity and interest. This is undertaken through engagement with selected project brief/s set within specific contextual themes. It is seen as an impetus to engage in speculative and conceptually led design in the production of Contemporary Jewellery.

  • Establishing Practice

    This unit enables you to define you own patterns of study and consolidate your creative and conceptual practice. This unit provides, within a defined contextual framework, an opportunity to develop work in response to students’ own conceptual concerns and personal direction.

  • Contextual Perspectives

    This unit will introduce you to a range of contextual, theoretical and critical perspectives that encourage an involved and insightful appreciation of crafts and design practices as expressions of meaning and value. With an emphasis on crafts and design as discourse, and drawing on a range of research methods and thematic content, the unit will seek to highlight relationships between creativity, production, mediation and consumption, promoting analysis and evaluation as essential aspects of creative research and resolution, and encouraging a positional approach to studio practice that identifies objects as experiences.

  • International Year (optional)

    This is an optional unit that will allow you to spend a period of time in an overseas education institution.

Students in the School of Crafts and Design have the unique opportunity within UCA to add an additional year of study at an overseas institution (either at a higher education establishment or workplace).

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Study Abroad Year

    This optional year is designed to broaden your educational experience and deepen your understanding of cultural diversity, enabling you to study within a different cultural context and gain fresh perspectives.

    Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience. Living in another country, you'll experience new places, people, cultures and possibilities. You'll develop initiative, independence, motivation and, depending on where you go, a working knowledge of another language – all qualities employers are looking for. You will return to complete your degree with all the benefits of the International Year experience behind you.

The third year will see you achieve a greater level of independence with self-managed research, study and practice, resulting in a final major project and a written dissertation.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Practice Portfolio

    The purpose of this unit is to prime you in complete readiness for constructive engagement
    with your future prospects upon graduation. It helps to facilitate the transition from student to early stage professional practitioner or adjacent destination.

  • Practice Position 1

    The purpose of this unit is for you to commence framing an individual Contemporary Jewellery practice position. In order to achieve this two routes of pursuit are offered – (i) research/exploratory prototyping and testing, and (ii) research to resolution.

  • Practice Position 2

    The purpose of this unit is for you to finalise framing an individual Contemporary Jewellery
    practice position and realise a self-initiated, graduate major project that realises individual potential. In order to achieve this the body of work and research questions framed in Contemporary Jewellery Practice Position 1 are used as a primary reference point.

  • Contextual Research and Critical Reflection

    The purpose of this unit is for you to conceive, develop and construct a personally meaningful portfolio of contextual research. This portfolio informs, augments and reflects upon practice, towards the provision of structured narratives that critically engage with a range of contextual and theoretical frameworks. These narratives serve to support the positioning of individual practice in relation to past, present and possible future endeavours.

Course staff

Staff directory

International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

Throughout the course, we’ll arrange visits from a range of leading lecturers and industry practitioners, and we’ll encourage you to undertake work experience in workshops and design studios, for example at:

  • Darkroom
  • Klimt02
  • Geist magazine
  • Tatty Devine.

Our Contemporary Jewellery graduates have progressed to a variety of professional roles, including designing, buying, gallery work, marketing, retailing, production, teaching and self-employment, whilst others have chosen to embark on postgraduate study.

You may also like to consider further study at postgraduate level.

How to apply - 2018 entry

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Entry requirements - 2018 entry:

As a leading creative arts university, we want to attract the best and most creative minds in the country – so we take a balanced approach to candidate assessment, taking both individual portfolios and exam results into account. 

That’s why your portfolio is an especially important part of your application to study with us – and we can help. Our academics can offer you expert advice on how to showcase your creative work and build a portfolio that will make your application stand out. More advice on how to create an exceptional portfolio is also available here.

Entry requirements

Along with your portfolio, the standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 280 old UCAS tariff points), see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 27-30 total points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 15 IB points at Higher level.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria, to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance and who were expected to achieve higher results. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades -  in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

Your portfolio

For this course, we’ll ask you to attend an Applicant Day and bring your portfolio for assessment. Further information on how to compile a portfolio, and the specific requirements for examples of work to be included, will be provided on the Applicant Portal after you’ve applied.

More portfolio advice

Fees & finance

Uncover all the costs involved, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations.

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