MA in Design: Ceramics

Bath Spa University

Program Description

MA in Design: Ceramics

Bath Spa University

MADesign Ceramics

Rooted in material investigation, this course allows exploration of ceramics through art, craft and design contexts.

Taught by leading academics/practitioners, with a high level of tutor input.

Excellent technical support and facilities with specialist equipment.

Regular visits from industry experts and practising artists.

This distinctive MA course offers you the opportunity to study a range of approaches to ceramics at postgraduate level. You’ll develop skills and knowledge through an exciting combination of material investigation and research. This will allow you to contextualise your practice in relation to current debates in art, craft and design and to develop an individual production strategy. Approaches of past students range from sculpture and installation through to studio ceramics and design for products.


You’ll be part of a lively ceramics community based around comprehensive workshop provision and studio spaces shared with multidisciplinary BA students specialising in ceramics. As postgraduate students, you’ll have the opportunity to extend and hone making skills in conjunction with developing your understanding of how a ceramics specialisation might relate to production in art, craft or design contexts.

Through the study of historical and contemporary theory and practice, you’ll deepen your knowledge of the field and develop your abilities in critical thinking and writing. Drawing on recent developments in artistic research, you’ll also explore methods for generating writing from practice. We’ll help you to become theoretically and critically aware, so you can identify and communicate effectively with the audience/market for your practice, and/or progress to research at MPhil or PhD level.

The course moves from taught modules through to a self-directed Masters Project. The four modules taken in the first two trimesters lead to the postgraduate diploma (PG Dip), while the successful completion of the double module in the third trimester leads to the award of MA Design: Ceramics.

Course structure

There are two routes through the course:

  • Full-time – three trimesters, over one calendar year (September to September)
  • Part-time – six trimesters over two calendar years.

Full-time students take two modules per trimester, while part-time students take one module.

Trimester 1

In the first trimester, you’ll establish the direction of your creative practice through studio and workshop-based making, gaining the opportunity to develop skills and to explore their place within a range of possible approaches to production. Masterclasses will be delivered by course staff and visiting artists/makers. You’ll also undertake a Research Methodologies module, providing you with a strong sense of methodological purpose when thinking in, through and about your practice. We’ll outline established models of academic enquiry - both practical and intellectual - proposing ways to gather, analyse and communicate a wide range of data and ideas.

Trimester 2

In the second Trimester, you’ll negotiate a proposal for self-directed study, taking an experimental approach to advancing your ceramic practice. You’ll deepen your knowledge and understanding of debates in ceramics and situate the personal interests and concerns that inform your work within an appropriate contemporary context. Building on the knowledge acquired in Trimester 1, you’ll map out a rationale for production in ceramics through reference to a range of cultural, theoretical and historical perspectives and develop your ability to communicate concepts and working methods.

Trimester 3

The final trimester, leading to the MA, comprises an individually negotiated and self-initiated body of work building on the knowledge and skills already acquired. You’ll be encouraged to set up your project in the context of a clearly thought through approach to production and exhibition and will be supervised by tutorial through to completion.

You’ll receive specialised ceramics tuition from a dedicated team of academic and technical staff within the ceramics area, as well as from regular part-time lecturers and visiting practitioner/artists. You’ll also receive cross-disciplinary input, both technical and academic, appropriate to the direction in which you choose to take your ceramics practice. Research Methodologies is delivered by the Department of Design and Critical Studies and you’ll be taught alongside students from all postgraduate courses in the School of Art and Design. Peer interaction across the school, along with the group dynamic within the course, is seen as critical to your learning experience.

Lines of enquiry will be explored and critiqued in individual and group-tutorials with peers and tutors. Lectures, seminars, group critiques and trips will also be central to your learning experience. Throughout modules you’ll receive formative feedback, in both verbal and written form; at the end of each module, you’ll receive a summative assessment with verbal feedback.


Field trips

The department organises two study visits to London each year as well as visits to other centres and exhibitions. We offer a series of study trips including the British Ceramics Biennial, Collect, and gallery visits with talks by ceramics practitioners. Please note that you may have to pay for some of these study visits.

Work placements, industry links and internship

Our students have worked with The Holburne Museum, British Ceramics Biennial, Collect, Ceramic Art London, New Designers, The Contemporary Craft Fair, Ceramic Review & Crafts.


Typical career destinations include:

  • Exhibiting
  • Ceramic design
  • Museum work
  • Arts administration
  • Public art
  • Research
  • Teaching

Competitions and awards

MA Ceramics student and graduate achievements:

Vilas Silverton - 2015 MA Ceramics Graduate: Exhibited at the British Ceramics Biennial, 2015 and Art in Clay, 2016

Taz Pollard - 2013 MA Ceramics graduate: Winner of One Year On at New Designers 2014

Jane King - 2012 MA Ceramics graduate: Prize Winner at 58th Premio Faenza: International Competition for Contemporary Ceramic Art, International Museum of Ceramics, Faenza, Italy

Jo Taylor and Jane King - 2012 MA Ceramics graduates: Shortlisted for Young Masters Art Prize 2014

Maria Wojdat - 2007 MA Ceramics graduate: Featured in Elle Magazine and showing at Ceramic Art London 2015

Distance learning route

Choose to take some or all of the modules on this course by distance learning. Teaching and tutorial support will be delivered via a combination of computer-based learning and campus visits, with assessment matched to your particular interests and needs.

You may pursue practice-based and/or historical approaches to studying ceramics through the distance learning route. The technology used is simple and accessible; you’ll need access to a computer linked to the internet.


You’ll need a good undergraduate degree in ceramics or equivalent experience. This could include a first degree in other disciplines together with subsequent studio practice. The key is having an open attitude to learning and the potential, in the view of the interview panel, to successfully complete the programme.

Interview and portfolio guidance

Your portfolio is an important part of the application process, giving us an insight into who you are as a ceramics practitioner. We ask that you include a wide variety of work in your portfolio, including sketchbooks, visual research, tests and trials as well as finished ceramics works.

Cost & Fees

Year 1 tuition

  • UK/EU students full-time: £7,000 / part-time: £3,500
  • International students full-time: £13,500
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated August 29, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is
Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
1 - 2 years
Part time
Full time
- Tuition fees for 2019-2020 school year are to be published in January 2019.
United Kingdom - Bath, England
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
United Kingdom - Bath, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info