Reasons to choose the programme

You will study in an exciting, studio-based environment in a small and friendly department with a big international reputation.
We combine material and technical innovation with traditional craft techniques and concepts, enabling you to create boundary-challenging work in a broad variety of materials.
Unique to other craft and design courses in J&S, all four years of the programme incorporate life drawing, painting and printing elements.
Our programme is a stepping stone to events such as New Designers, London, and other international showcases.
You will graduate with the skills to establish your own business, work as an artist in residence, practice within industry or go on to further study.


Jewellery and Silversmithing (J&S) is an exciting, practical, studio-based programme that teaches you to design and make thoughtful, well-made and considered work. The J&S department is small and friendly with a big international reputation as one of the UK's leading courses in the field.

Our philosophy is to combine material and technical innovation with traditional craft techniques and concepts long associated with this historic discipline. Our objective is to enable you to design and create personal, individual pieces of work that push the boundaries of our subject. We want you to create the heirlooms of the future and sensory objects that enrich people’s lives, successfully reflecting both ‘thought’ and ‘practice’. 

We will teach you to work with, and explore the use of, a broad variety of materials, including precious metal, plastic, textile, enamel and stone. We have a reputation for maintaining a high standard of hand skills and original design work, with a commitment to helping you to develop a clear and original creative voice through your drawing and making. Unique to other craft and design courses in this area, all four years of the programme incorporate drawing, painting and printing elements.


Throughout their time with us, Jewellery and Silversmithing students are encouraged to showcase their talents through awards and bursary schemes, with excellent results. For example, we have had multiple successes in the Goldsmiths’ Craftsmanship & Design Awards, Contemporary British Silversmiths Awards, Kirk Inches Jewellery Prize and Goldsmiths’ Company’s Precious Metal Bursaries and Silver Grants.

International exhibitions, events and award schemes - such as New Designers, where we have won major awards - help our graduating students quickly establish themselves as emerging designer/makers or industry professionals.


    Many of our graduates go on to establish their own studio business straight away, while others spend a year as an artist in residence on one of the many professional business development schemes available, are recruited into design companies, or pursue further study, including on our MFA programme.

    How to apply and entrance requirements

    If you'd like to study on an undergraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder, where you'll also be able to

    • see the structure of the programme and what you will study each year
    • see detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder
    • get information on what to expect after you apply
    • find out about fees
    • find out where to go for further advice and guidance

    Take me to the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder


    Portfolio Guidance

    As part of your application, you are required to submit a portfolio as evidence of your artistic ability and potential. You should begin to plan your portfolio as soon as you decide to apply.

    Assessors are not necessarily expecting a showcase of final work, but rather an indication of work in progress showing how you approach an idea or subject and develop the work from initial thought, through experimentation and enquiry, to resolved work.

    In these short guides, you will find details of what we are looking for and how your work will be assessed. You will also find some general tips on how to plan and present your work and what makes a strong portfolio in different subject areas.

    Please ensure you allow time for the technical aspects of portfolio submission. Take time to familiarise yourself with the submission portal once it opens in December (you’ll get a link to it after you apply via UCAS), and work out what you will need to do to prepare your images for upload.

    Guidance on submitting your portfolio digitally, including answers to common questions, can be found here:



    Portfolios are assessed by a team of academic staff who are particularly interested in how you research and develop ideas in a visual way and how you engage with your chosen discipline. This is broken down into four main areas of assessment, briefly summarised as follows:

    • Visual Research and Enquiry shows the level of your engagement in intelligent, structured visual enquiry and how well you communicate this.
    • Idea Development shows your ability to appropriately explore and develop ideas, and your level of skills in the use of materials or techniques.
    • Selection and Resolution shows how well you judge which ideas have the most appropriate potential and your ability to bring them to a level of completion appropriate to your intended outcome.
    • Contextual Awareness shows the extent of your knowledge of the subject you have applied for and how your work relates to it.

    How the content of a portfolio provides evidence for the above categories will vary enormously depending on the person and the subject being applied to, and no two portfolios will be the same.


    Planning and Presentation

    Assessors are interested in how you have decided to put your portfolio together. This means that your portfolio should be carefully planned and well presented.

    Assessors will be judging your ability to edit your work, so be selective and strategic in your choice of material.

    Aim to show a clear narrative or sense of the themes in your work, as well as the connections between the pieces.

    If you have lots of high quality work, include it. It can show that you have talent in breadth and are hardworking and committed. If you haven’t, select your best: these key gems can show us that you know what you are good at, and how to show it. There is no need to pad out your portfolio with work you’re not happy with.

    Each image can be accompanied by a small amount of text, and applicants are strongly encouraged to make use of this opportunity. You should avoid including titles or descriptions of the work and instead explain the ideas behind the work, the challenge undertaken or any other significant factors.

    It may also be useful to explain why you have included the image in its particular category (development work, resolved work or influences). Consideration should also be given to the graphical layout of the portfolio. Remember that assessors will be looking at your work on a screen so the digital image you present to them is what they assess, so be aware of the quality of photographs and scans. It is worth the time and effort to make your work look as good as possible.


    With the exception of BA (Hons) Film and Television, all portfolios require:

    • up to 10 images of your development/sketchbook work (minimum of 5 images)
    • up to 10 images of your resolved work (minimum of 5 images)
    • up to 5 images which demonstrate your influences (minimum of 2 images)

    The images demonstrating your influences may be images of work or objects which have inspired or influenced your work e.g. people working in the same medium or for the same audience, now or in the past; people interested in the same subject or theme, now or in the past; natural or man-made phenomena, objects, places or events which have inspired or provoked a response.


    A strong portfolio is likely to display the following:

    • Drawing in its widest sense, including – but not restricted to: collage, test pieces and experiments with materials, visual source material, photography, painting and digital design.
    • A selection of observational drawings of personally selected subject matter (architecture, objects, people, nature etc.)
    • Three-dimensional models in a range of materials clearly presented in an accessible way.
    • Resolved work that shows a combination of creativity, hand skills, care and attention and an interest in materials and their properties.
    • An awareness of contemporary makers and designers in jewellery and silversmithing as well as a wider interest in art and design and inter-related disciplines.
    • Evidence of individuality, curiosity, patience and professional practice.


    If you have any questions about the application process, your qualifications or deadlines, our Undergraduate Admissions Office will be happy to help you.

    Email the Undergraduate Admissions Office:


    What happens next?

    We will contact you with our decision by mid-May. If you are made an offer, you will be invited to attend an Offer Holder Day.

    Offer Holder Days typically take place in April and are opportunities for successful applicants to learn more about their subject areas and life as a student at Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh. Whether you visit us in person or attend a virtual Offer Holder Day, you will have the opportunity to meet with academic staff and current students from your programme, tour the studios and other facilities and attend general information sessions.

    Alumni profiles


    Jennifer Gray

    Lecturer, School of Design

    Programme Director of Jewellery and Silversmithing


    Tel: +44 (0) 131 651 5805

    Facilities and resources

    The jewellery and silversmithing workshops at Edinburgh College of Art are equipped to support students through all of the stages of their small- to medium-sized jewellery and silversmithing projects.

    Students at the University of Edinburgh have access to a range of library resources across the campus and online.

    The printmaking suite provides a host of facilities for traditional and contemporary printmaking processes.

    These facilities are provided for both cold and hot casting processes, allowing you to work on small as well as large-scale pieces.

    Edinburgh College of Art has well-equipped glass workshops for the blowing, cutting and casting of glass objects. The space includes hot and cold glass workshops and a plaster room.


    College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office

    Tel: +44 (0)131 650 3565