Master in Gemstones and Jewellery (MFA)

The 2-year Master course is based upon your own proposal of study. Your proposal is evaluated in the entrance examination and it will be the guiding line throughout your complete study. This concept of study guaranties an ultimate level of individuality in the professional profiles of our graduates.


To get admitted to this course of study you need to:

  • hold a bachelor's degree which is recognised as such in Germany - check out at (german only)
  • pass the entrance examination - more

The concept of the MFA Gemstones and Jewellery is very simple: A good artistic basis doesn't need perspective guidance. The direction of where our students want to go is clear.

To get there, the university supplies:

  1. time (2 years)
  2. space (usually fitting)
  3. discussions (abundant) 
  4. opportunities (often unobvious and at first imperceptible!)

and the student supplies:

  1. content (of the MFA project they want to do in their 2 years of study)
  2. energy (lots) and
  3. (massive) concentration ...

The regular Master study in Idar-Oberstein is free of tuition fees. 
For the master in further education, there is a study fee of 21 € per ECTS.

Per semester you will be charged:

  • an administrative fee of about 100 € (which includes the "semester ticket" for the train Mainz - Saarbrücken)
  • a workshop fee of 60 €

beyond that, all students are expected to:

  • supply their own books (200 - 300€/year) and personal tools (depending on your present equipment)
  • be equipped with a laptop and a digital camera
  • finance excursions (4 per year - approx. 1000€/year)
  • finance all materials needed for their projects (open end...)
  • be a member of the GdF (approx. 10 €/year)

The course is structured in modules. In each module we have scheduled different learning and teaching methods. By specifically applying these, it will lead to an optimised development of competence. Basically, the very good mentoring relation in each module almost enables a one to one learning-teaching-situation as well as a very good knowledge transfer.

The methods and generation of knowledge inside a project module are based on post graduate programmes of universities and establish the foundation of a master project plenum. 
Here the project participants meet for discussion: Students and teachers discuss project development, methods, aims and solutions. The discussion forum is open to all students. This is how an individual network of social, theoretical and design oriented questions and knowledge can grow for each project. This is how methods, philosophy of science and creative development of the professional approaches are initiated and accelerated. It is also our goal to encourage our students to gain an early scientific independence.


The MFA programme enables those with a bachelor degree or diploma to participate in a thesis- and/or research-orientated course and therefore qualifies them to solve complex design tasks in a conceptual, theoretical and practical manner. Graduates will be especially qualified to work individually, scientifically and focused on fine arts.

The future job opportunities with this background and the aforementioned career prospects range between self-determined (and even self-employed) authorship, requested services and the implementation in various fields of business. 
The MFA programme makes available complex and innovative design projects based on a highly developed conceptual composition, a competent professional ability to articulate and a heightened cultural education of the graduates. 

Graduate skills:

  • Capacity to reflect critically 
    • Defined self-conception of authorship
    • Ability to evaluate design taking into consideration economical and ethical aspects
    • Critical awareness and being able to define and resolve design problems
    • Ability to extensively analyse an idea under formal, social, psychological, historical and economical aspects
  • Decision making and responsibility 
    • Ability to think and act creatively
    • Awareness for knowledge-management
    • Ability to express the main messages of design and design process as well as creative development
  • Cultural competence 
    • Ability to work in a team
    • Competence in social, negotiative and presentation communication
    • Ability to interpret cultural practice, intercultural communication and artistic intervention
  • Competence in the field of research and development in an extended aesthetic, artistic and social environment

This MFA course in Gemstones and Jewellery enables its graduates to contribute to the contemporary national and international gemstone and jewellery scene with the aim to become an active and decisive part of it. It also combines creative development in the field of gemstone and jewellery design and its co-related subjects with design theory and the specific topics of gemstone and jewellery design. 

This course orientation also considers that the job expectations require innovative thinking and advancement, which can be achieved by interpreting the course contents in a broad manner. These versatile assignments range from elaborating fine-art-related topics to interdisciplinary design projects and to pure market-oriented analysis. Therefore, creative developments are initiated in the scope of the MFA course and students are encouraged to effectively and critically reflect their individual expressed solutions and conclusions.

The graduates will be qualified for the complex development of  ideas, concepts, designs and the production of marketable products in the field of Gemstones and Jewellery. In addition to the specialization and extension of knowledge in art and design, acquired interdisciplinary abilities and critical reflection play major roles. The accumulation of competence and qualifications is part of the framework in which art, art history, technology and economics are combined. This qualifies the graduates to incorporate an independent professional function in the field of commerce or fine arts.

This MFA course is project-orientated aiming to prepare the students for the professional world. The field of activity will be defined carefully and individually during the project proposal. The freelance authorship will play a decisive role in the later profession emphasising on gemstones and jewellery. Furthermore, you will find following career prospects integrated in the programme:

  • Freelance authorship in the field of gemstones and jewellery
  • Employed or freelance designer
  • Artistic line-producer, studio management and art director
  • Design-management
  • Teaching and education
  • Publishing

The principles of self-determination and organisation are integrated into the MFA programme and help the students achieve a high form of competence while attending these courses. Knowledge in form of advanced organisational and self reflective design tasks is turned into a part of the course of studies. Naturally the students will not be left alone with these special requirements and challenges. They can rely on a very well accompanied system which helps them organise their course of studies.

For the MFA programme you need 120 ECTS credits, which have to be acquired within semester clusters of 30 ECTS credits with a semester workload of 900 hours. The internationalisation of single modules by integrating external modules up to 30 ECTS credits is possible and plays an important role. The examination board decides over the accreditation of these external modules. 

The workload of the core project’s module covers about 60% of the individual semester workload. This contact time is divided into three units: 15% percent is accounted for plenary sessions, 60% for individual support of the project development and 25% for preparation and post processing in study groups. The study groups are divided depending on the thematic orientation of the projects. In particular cases the contact time can also be used for individual support. The plenary sessions can also be held in groups and are scheduled during the semester according to the circumstances and the project-specific requirements. 

The organisational plan will be settled in a course time schedule. The workload of the theory and context modules covers about 40% of the individual semester workload.The MFA programme of the Department of Gemstones and Jewellery provides a pool of specialized courses. The students are responsible for the interaction of their major with the other courses during their course of studies. However, the development of interaction between the different modules and integration of the content is a systematic and integral part of the whole programme. 

This integration in form of defining one’s personal style within a relevant social context is of important significance. Out of the qualifying and competence units of this programme, which accompany the core project module, structured contributions will give feed back to enable the development of high skills, main topics and projects.


The modular structure of this MFA programme are summarized into the 4 different units:

1.) major project: project based compulsory and elective (compulsory) modules

Initial project proposals must be submitted and approved of during the course of the qualifying examinations. The admitted projects are supervised mutually by the professors from the sculpture, gemstone design and jewellery design courses, also by way of team-teaching. Depending on the project progress, other lecturers can be included. The possibility of consulting external professionals must be decided by the examination board. The project must be designed and implemented following the features of a project based course by way of an artistic concept with reference to the design practice. It connects the entire course of studies and at the same time is the subject of the Master’s Thesis.

Each project should have the goal to develop itself into a practice oriented interlocking design with cognitive, emotional and social competences. It should use the practice oriented theories and implement the approaches and methods developed during the theory modules. The goal is to achieve a multidimensional content of the projects while fusing together the fields of theory and practice. 

The important project features regarding development, design and formulation process are:

    • Self-organisation and personal responsibility 
    • Social relevance
    • Product oriented, limited resources
    • Ability to integrate one’s own work into a contemporary context
    • Complex structure
    • Methodical reflection
    • Target-oriented project planning
    • Ability to include as many sensory factors as possible
    • Time limitation

2.) theory

The contextual scientific foundation of the MFA programme Gemstones and Jewellery is based on three pillars:

    • Analysis
    • Implementation
    • Mediation

and its theory modules consists of classes in humanities, history of jewellery and mineralogy.

In this module, the main focus lies on analysis, however, it is a matter of interaction between methods and content, referring to the major field of study: gemstone and jewellery. 

In the theory classes, the character of contemporary art is examined theoretically or scientifically and brought into a professional context. In this course, the students are confronted with such questions as: how to define art, which aesthetic strategies they know and how to express these, about authorship, what ideas stand behind their object of art and what the art work actually is. Regarding the project proposals, various iconographic and iconoclastic aspects of art, its place of exhibition and the historical and social context in which it is located and was created, are examined. The module will point out connections to and overlapping of the topics aesthetics, art criticism, philosophy and cultural sciences.

For better knowledge in the field of gemstones, the Department of Gemstones and Jewellery cooperates with the Gemstone Research division from the Mineralogy teaching unit of the Department of Geoscience at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and the German Gemmological Association in Idar-Oberstein. The Educational Training Centre at the German Gemmological Association has been providing this specialized knowledge of gemstones, both in theory and practice, since it was founded in 1932. In particular, the laboratories, with their modern state of the art equipment, and the extensive gemstone collection, to which the students have access during class, make it Europe's leading educational and research institute for gemstones.

3.) context

This module group consists of classes in: 

  • Photography
  • Law
  • Art Management
  • Business Foundation
  • Rhetoric
  • Campus Credits

and reflects upon presentation and its significance to the own piece of work, what it consists of and which perspectives it has to move into a creative, scientific, economic and social environment. The aim of this module is the ability to present, exhibit and communicate one’s complete work, including presentation techniques and rhetorical knowledge.  

The scientific potential as described in the classes art management, prove to work in complex design tasks, as structure forming elements and basic principles at the same time. To be considered is the foundation of creative ideas reflecting on the present state of affairs and it’s creative order, with the goal to grow and expand and to create new and original ideas. Included are planning, organisation, controlling and evaluation of all factors which enable a project-oriented creative action, including procurement and incorporation.

4.) master's thesis: a preparing seminar, the master thesis itself with its presentation and colloquium

The fourth semester is reserved for the thesis and two accompanying MFA modules. Before starting with the thesis the students must submit a report which contains the past achievements as well as the thesis schedule. This preparation is part of the module Master seminar.

1. Thesis

The practical part of the thesis is the design aspect of the project proposal in the field of gemstone and jewellery design. A complex, innovative, independent and relevant piece of work with a high creative level is expected, following the MFA course standards of the department. In addition, a theoretical part has to be written following scientific standards containing at least 30 pages. It can be written in accordance to the practical part, or can be a paper which takes up a corresponding dialog between both parts. 

2. Colloquium

The colloquium is an oral test regarding the thesis and consists of a dialog between the student and the supervisor. The candidate presents and recapitulates his/her results and defends them.

The modules are sequential and are orientated on/building up on the previous module.

At a glance

  • Start of studies: each semester
  • Standard period of study: 4 semesters (120 ECTS)
  • Location: Campus design | Idar-Oberstein
  • Type of study: Master's programme 
  • Degree: Master of Fine Arts
  • Application deadline : until 1 May and 1 September
  • Tuition fee: none

At a glance

  • Start of studies: each semester
  • Standard period of study: 4 semesters (120 ECTS)
  • Location: Campus design | Idar-Oberstein
  • Type of study: Master's programme 
  • Degree: Master of Fine Arts
  • Application deadline : until 1 May and 1 September
  • prerequisites: Bachelor degree & passing of the entrance examination
  • Tuition fee: none 
  • Semester fees and charges: overview

Table of modules

back-to-top nach oben