Master in Design: Ceramics

Bath Spa University

Program Description

Master in Design: Ceramics

Bath Spa University

Master in Design: Ceramics

Ceramics aims to develop individual abilities within the subject, whether through practice or historical or theoretical study. Approaches range from sculpture and installation through to studio ceramics and design for products.

The course is distinctive in offering you the opportunity to specialise in ceramics as a medium allied to a breadth of possibilities, and establishing negotiated individual modes of practice.

Course Structure and Content

The course is offered in both full and part-time modes. It is normally one year (3 trimesters) in duration in full-time mode or 6 trimesters in part-time mode. The first two trimesters comprise taught sessions and assessed projects, while the Master’s Project in the final part of the course is by negotiated project only. Completion of the first 2 modules on the course lead to the award of the Postgraduate Certificate, and completion of the first 4 modules leads to the award of the Postgraduate Diploma. Subsequent completion of the MA double module leads to the award of MA Design: Ceramics.

In the first trimester you will undertake a module in research methodologies in conjunction with students from other design disciplines. You will also be establishing and initiating your studio based creative practice through individual and group tutorials and critiques. This teaching will cover issues of technique together with aesthetic and design ideas and their interpretation and context within contemporary practice. This approach to studio work will be further developed in the second trimester, alongside an individual analysis of the relevant theoretical, cultural and social context for your work. The four modules taken in the first two trimesters lead to the postgraduate diploma (PGDip).

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 will be supervised by tutorial through to completion. The project will be selected from options giving an emphasis either to individual expression or a more design-based approach.


Distance Learning Route

Students may opt 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 the particular interests and needs of individual students.

This route is open to all students on the course. You may pursue both practice based and/or historical approaches to the study of ceramics by this means. The route will be of particular interest to those geographically distant from Bath, or who would find attending campus regularly difficult. The technology used is simple and accessible. You will need access to a computer linked to the internet as materials are delivered through a standard web browser. We welcome enquiries from anyone interested in this option, and will be delighted to answer any questions you may have.


  • Research Methodologies: Part One introduces generic research methodologies. Part two considers visual research methods appropriate to studio practice with approaches to recording and drawing plus initial explorations into relevant materials.
  • Initiating Creative Practice: A practice module, where students produce work based upon a programme negotiated and agreed with staff, designed to set an agenda and working plan.
  • Developing Creative Practice: A practice module, where students make work based on visual research on a programme negotiated and agreed with staff to develop studio work, awareness and understanding of relevant concepts.
  • Analysis of Contemporary Context: A module where the practitioner engages in a contextual consideration of their work by referring to cultural, critical, theoretical and historical perspectives employing advanced research methods alongside development of a proposed programme for the final MA module.
  • Advanced Studio Practice: You are expected to submit a comprehensive body of creative ceramic work which meets the agreed objectives, accompanied by documentation of visual and other research. It should include a written evaluation of the ‘journey’ and outcomes of your project, and aspirations for future developments.


Teaching Methods and Resources

Theoretical elements will be delivered as a concurrent contextualisation of your practical work along with study of the relevant research methodologies. In this way your practical work is firmly based in the theoretical and critical awareness of its context and potential market.

Specialist facilities include computer studios with over 70 Macs, as well as flatbed and transparency scanners. There is a recently re-equipped digital media studio. Ceramics students have workspaces in well equipped workshops, including CAD facilities. There is an excellent glaze laboratory and a range of electric and gas-fired kilns, including outdoor firing facilities for salt and raku. There is also a dedicated space and kilns for large-scale work. All students have access to workshops in photography, sound and video, etching and litho, as well as the specialist Art and Design library.


  • Jane Gibson Mdes RCA (design and ceramic production and curating);
  • Keith Harrison MA RCA (time-based installation);
  • Nick Lees MA Cardiff (tableware, ceramic sculpture, critical writing);
  • Jo Dahn MA PhD UWA (history and theory);
  • Graham McLaren PhD RCA.

These staff will be supported by an extensive team of part-time staff, whose wide range of expertise is available on a regular basis. There are also 3-4 visiting artists each year.

  • Marion Brandis MA (public art, commissioned projects);
  • Steve Brown MA (ceramic print);
  • Ian Byers BA (ceramic sculpture);
  • Helen Harris BA (photography);
  • Simon Hulbert MA (gallerist, potter);
  • Penny Grist BA (printmaking);
  • Aimee Lax MA (ceramics);
  • Malcolm Ross-White (drawing);
  • Zeita Scott MA (tableware, studio ceramics);
  • Sasha Wardell MA (tableware and giftware);
  • Professor Takeshi Yasuda (tableware, studio ceramics).


Typical career destinations include exhibiting, ceramic design and museum work, arts administration, public art and research.

Assessment Methods

The four taught modules in trimesters one and two are assessed through studio exhibition of work with a supporting statement, or the presentation of a document, accompanied in both cases by evidence of appropriate research. The final module for the MA is assessed through exhibition or exposition, according to the nature of the work, of all work for the module or a record of it, addressing the issues agreed in the initial proposal. There are no written examinations.

Entry Requirements

Admission is normally based on a good undergraduate degree in ceramics or equivalent experience. Successful applicants will have a BA (Hons) degree in Ceramics or equivalent experience. This could include a first degree in other disciplines together with subsequent studio practice. The key is the potential of the candidate, in the view of the interview panel, to successfully complete the programme.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many days a week will I have to attend University?

A: Minimum attendance of one taught day a week is essential for all students, full or part-time. Full time students should expect additional teaching or course events on a second day each week in Semesters 1 and 2.

Q: Do I get my own workspace?

A: All full time students are given a work space. Part time students may not be given a permanent workspace, but will have access to workspace on the days that they attend. All students have access to Ceramic Department workshops and facilities, and to School facilities including the Library.

Q:Do I have to buy my own materials?

A: A small studio fee is charged which then allows use of a wide range of ceramic materials stocked by the Department.

Q: Do you accept mature students?

A: We welcome students of all ages and diverse backgrounds.


  • MA Design: Ceramics.
  • PG Dip Design: Ceramics.
  • PG Cert Design: Ceramics.

Course Location

Taught at Sion Hill and Corsham Court.

This course is taught by the Bath School of Art and Design.

Course Length

  • MA full-time: three trimesters (one calendar year).
  • MA part-time: six trimesters (two calendar years).
  • PG Dip full-time: two trimesters (one academic year).
  • PG Dip part-time: four trimesters.
  • PG Cert full-time: one trimester.
  • PG Cert part-time: two trimesters.

Tuition Fee - MA Design: Ceramics (2012/2013)

  • EU: £4,565.00
  • Non-EU: £10,030.00

Key Features

  • A studio based course for those who want to develop their individual practice in ceramics, supported by teaching in a wide range of specialist areas.
  • Distance learning route available.
This school offers programs in:
  • English
Duration & Price
This course is Campus or Online
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
1 year
Full time
6,000 GBP
Start date Sept. 2017
United Kingdom Bath, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 1 year
Price 6,000 GBP
-UK/EU; £10,905 - non EU