Jewelry and Metalsmithing Emphasis - B.F.A.

Degree Information

Format: Face-to-face

Credits: ~126

The program in Jewelry/Metalsmithing engages you with materials, technique and craft while reinforcing a dedication to innovation and experimentation. The field embraces a wide range of ideas, objects and methods of making including emerging technologies. Career development and professional practice skills are an integral part of the curriculum. You can choose a direction from a broad range of professional options that best complement your personal goals.

Degree Options

BFA in Studio Art - Jewelry and Metalsmithing Emphasis

Students interested in a Jewelry/Metalsmithing may pursue a B.F.A. in Studio Art with this emphasis, or pursue a B.A./B.S. degree in Art Education with this emphasis as well

BFA in Studio Art, Jewelry/Metalsmithing Emphasis

The B.F.A. in Studio Art is designed for students interested in a professional career in art. Aside from Jewelry/Metalsmithing, seven other Emphasis Areas are available to choose from in the B.F.A. degree.

BA/BS in Art Education and K-12 certification

Students may also pursue a BA or BS Degree in Art Education in which they can choose to take Jewelry/Metalsmithing courses. 


Regardless of whether they adopt traditional or contemporary practices, undergraduates gain an understanding the art, its historical context and business practices. Introductory courses teach the essentials of metal fabrication, surface embellishment, and simple stone setting. As students advance, they gain expertise in the processes of casting, generating multiples, forging, container forms, and hollowware production. Opportunities to experiment with traditional, contemporary and mixed-media techniques encourage students to develop a personal approach to the medium that integrates their chosen methods with a strong conceptual focus.

Studio Art (Jewelry and Metalsmithing) - B.F.A. Advising Guide 2022-23Transitional Advising Guide to New and Previous Studio Art BFAStudio Art (Jewelry and Metals), B.F.A - Degree Checklist (previous)Studio Art (Jewelry and Metals), B.F.A. - Detailed 4-year plan (previous)Studio Art (Jewelry and Metals), B.F.A - 4-year Plan (previous)

This course will explore traditional and fundamental jewelry-making within a conceptual context. Specific techniques to be covered include cold connection, etching, surface embellishment, simple stone setting, and finishing. Additional topics will include the historical and contemporary significance of jewelry in cultural production. 

Credits: 3

This course will examine the casting process as it relates to jewelry production. Emphasis will be placed on the lost-wax process of casting and related fabrication techniques. As a conceptual focus, the course will explore the practice of adornment as it relates to the casting process. 

Credits: 3

The study of raising (angle and anticlastic), forging, patination, hinges, connections and findings, and introduction to specialized equipment placed with the context of personal exploration and research.

Prerequisite: ART 245.

Credits: 3

From the earliest humans to punk rockers, fashion, jewelry, body modification and other forms of adornment have played a critical role in the expression of self and cultural identity. This course will explore how non-metal and mixed media techniques are used in the production of such adornment. 

Credits: 3

This course will investigate methods of producing artwork in multiples, including limited production runs serving as a springboard for commercial/entrepreneurial endeavors. Historic and current trends in jewelry/metalwork will be examined, and students will be encouraged to develop both a personal direction and critical dialogue with respect to their studio practice.

Prerequisite: ART 245.

Credits: 3

For studio artists and designers about to enter graduate school or professional design studios. Includes a required three-day field trip to Chicago, information concerning resume preparation, exhibitions, interviewing, portfolios, design agencies, galleries, museums, and analysis of the professional literature through written assignments. Students will learn how the professional art world works.

Prerequisites: Art major and senior standing.

Credits: 3

Students must work closely with their emphasis area mentor to complete a body of studio work over the course of a full semester, culminating in their BFA thesis exhibition. Students must seek the counsel of their mentor throughout the creation, curation, and installation of work for this exhibition. 

Credits: 3


Laurel Fulton
Visiting Professor
Jewelry and Metalsmithing

Renee Zettle-Sterling
Jewelry and Metalsmithing Coordinator

Student's Works

“"And never underestimate an art student's skills at thinking about ANY problem creatively!"”



The metalsmithing studio offers students the resources to help them learn the diverse techniques of the medium. This includes the equipment necessary for metal fabrication, casting, forging, enameling, raising, generating multiples, and hollowware production. Majors earning a BFA in this program have individual studio spaces in a common area shared with sculpture students.


Alumni Outcomes

Graduates of the Studio Art – Jewelry/Metalsmithing program possess knowledge, experience, and unique skills that are highly desirable and transferable, enabling them to seek employment in career fields both within and outside of the fine arts. Art degrees can lead to future work opportunities in a gallery, non-profit cultural organization, or museum.

Jewelry/Metalsmithing Emphasis Graduates Work As...

  • Freelance artist/ entrepreneur
  • Jewelry designer
  • Metalsmith/goldsmith
  • Bench Jewelers
  • Dental Lab Technicians
  • Gallery owner/assistant/ director/ curator
  • Salespeople
  • Art Teachers
  • Community-based artist

Where GVSU Alumni Have Worked / Been Accepted to Graduate Degrees...

  • Edinboro University
  • Founder's Brewery
  • Davis Dental Lab
  • Jensen's Jewelers

Professional Networking

Jewelry/Metalsmithing emphasis students are encouraged to pursue professional connections from the start in the program, engaging in exhibition work, on-campus employment, among other options.

GVSU Jewelry and Metalsmithing Social Media

GVSU Jewelry and Metalsmithing Facebook Page

GVSU Career Center

The Career Center offers a wide variety of events to help you successfully land after graduating from GVSU! 

Career Center Website

Schedule a VMA Tour

Interested in visiting VMA? Schedule your student lead tour today! 

Tours are available during open VMA Office hours:
Monday -Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
(Closed on Public Holidays)
VMA Main Office: (616) 331-3486
[email protected]


Request Information/Visit

For questions about the Jewelry and Metalsmithing area, please contact:

Renee Zettle-Sterling
Jewelry and Metalsmithing Coordinator
1806 Calder Arts Center
(616) 331-3375 


Page last modified April 8, 2023