Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Cheapest BA program in metals and jewelry

I cannot beleive how expensive it is to go to university in the US.
So my only option to stay in the US right now, is to go to uni and
get a BA, which I will most likely have to do in england where
tuition (at least if I enrol this year) is so much cheaper, and then
come back in 3 years.

However, I just wanted to check first, if anyone knows of a
half-decent university in the US offering a BA in metals and jewelry,
that doesnt charge afortune to forign students? (ie keeping yearly
tuition under $15k)

Thank you!

The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York has a fine program
in jewelry design, and through its special relationship with both the
State University of New York and the City University of New York has
among the lowest tuitions in the U.S.

Here’s the jewelry design page:

Like all the programs at FIT the faculty are either working in the
industry or retired from the industry. As such the emphasis is more
on traditional technique than on the techniques of what is often
called art jewelry. Not that one cannot pursue art jewelry at FIT,
one can. It’s just that if one desires a career in the trade one will
not be looked down upon as being retarditaire. There are studio
courses in jewelry and silversmithing, courses in jewelry design, and
courses in gemology and appraisal.

When I studied there I took design classes with the late Donald
Claflin, then head designer at Tiffany, Omar Torres, then head
designer at Bulgari, and Maurice Galli, currently head designer at
Harry Winston. I also took various studio classes, most memorably
with Tony Lent, an extraordinary designer and craftsman, one of the
few Americans to receive a certificate of Master Goldsmith from the
Fachhochschule in Schwabisch-Gmund, Germany.

Of course, I may be biased toward my alma mater.


Lucy- I’m gonna get a lot of flack about this but…

Why the BA in jewelry? Do you plan to teach? If you want a career in
jewelry as a bench person or designer, you don’t need a degree. Nor
do you need the $60,000.00 debt.

If you want a BA because you love to learn for the sake of leaning
that’s another thing. I’m a staunch defender of learning for the love
of it. A BA is a wonderful thing, however it just is not absolutely
necessary for a career in Jewelry.

We are in an education bubble as big as the commodities bubble.
College costs have risen 439% since 1982. Here’s a link to an article
on student debt.

If you want to learn how to make or design jewelry, there are plenty
of good trade schools out there that are much cheaper than a BA at a
university. You can also learn the old fashioned way and work in a
trade shop for awhile and get on the job training while getting paid.
If you want to run a business then get an MBA ( for a mere
$100,000.00 in debt), or just listen to David Geller.

If you want to teach in an academic setting you’ll need an MFA. To
get that you’ll have to go to a university and learn from folks who
mostly couldn’t make a living as a jeweler and decided to get an MFA
so that they could teach a whole bunch of other folks how to not make
a living as a jeweler.

Me? I’m the proud owner of a GED. I did go to college for three
years before I discovered that I didn’t need a degree. I loved my
teacher Max Nixon and learned a lot from him. However I found that
most undergrad classes were, and still are, taught by minimum wage
grad students. 15 k a year for that? I’ll pass thanks.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry
Jo Haemer


I will agree with Jo in that you do not need a BA, or BFA or MFA to
design and create good jewelry. There are trade schools in many
sections of the country. There is a junior college in Texas, trade
schools in San Francisco, New York, Boston that come to mind.

I obviously am not against higher education, I have BS, MS and PhD
degrees and many more graduate courses in various other
universities. None of these are in Jewelry. I go to individual
classes (William Holland, etc), took a trade school course by
distance learning (Penn Foster Career School). The apprenticeship
method has worked for years (centuries) for jewelers and goldsmiths.

Look around, I am sure that you can find adequate education without
uprooting and going to a completely different location/culture. Of
course if you want to move, go ahead.

John Atwell Rasmussen, Ph.D., AJP

A state school is going to be the most affordable option for you.
Three state schools in Illinois have metals programs:

U of Illinois at Urbana
Northeastern Illinois U
Northern Illinois U

Even for a non-resident, I think they would still be less than
private school. Other states have programs as well, perhaps the state
where you reside already.


John, I have considered Penn Foster but am concerned about learning
jewelry techniques without face to face instruction. No question
this method works with most any subject. But Jewelry Making? Seems
that the one on one would be crtical. When I take classes I watch the
instructer very closely and ask a ton of questions. You can’t do
that on-line.

Would love to hear comments from the pros on this. They offer a lot
if great courses. If I am wrong about this I will reconsider!

Thanks so much- b
Barbara Bear

Thanks for the feedback guys, international student fees are just
too high I think though.

I actually have no interest in a BA or the debt that it entails :slight_smile: -
the only reason I want one is because of US immigration rules. I have
lived here for 4 years on my husbands visa - but I can’t apply to
stay on my own visa (even with offers of sponsorship) without a BA -
urgh :frowning: So I was considering staying on a student visa, then applying
for a work visa after that. But - fees are so high in the US I am
going to have to go back to the UK for 2/3 years and get one.


check out the howard academy for the metal arts tuition is the same
wherever you come from and is pretty cheap $14k for the entire course
you have to want to be a goldsmith cause they dont dick around.