Ceramic Art

The #1 ranked ceramic art Master's program in the country

The MFA program in Ceramic Art at Alfred University has a distinguished history as a center of ceramic art innovation, research and education. In our state of the art facility, our funded 2-year program is embedded in an intensive learning community where teaching and leadership meet research through critical making and rigorous critique. Experimental and encompassing curriculum represents all genres that reside in or move through various realms of ceramic art. Consistently ranked number one by US News and World Report, the objective of the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree is to prepare individuals for creative careers in the arts and culture.


Campus Locations

Main Campus - Alfred, NY


Ceramic Art (MFA)
  • ART 501 Studio Elective* (outside major area of concentration)
  • ART 552 Advanced Ceramics* (1stYear graduate studio advising)
  • ART 555 Ceramic Materials I: Clay Bodies and Glazes
  • Choice of one (or more) of the following technical electives:
    • ART 582 Ceramic Materials I: Clay bodies and glazes
    • ART 553 Ceramic Materials II: Problem-solving for the ceramic artist
    • ART 581 Kiln Procedures and Construction
    • ART 587 Intro to 3D Modeling & Rapid Prototyping
    • ART 500 Tools and Strategies: Digital Tools and Fabrication
  • ART 560 Ceramic Graduate Seminar (1st year seminar)
  • ARTH 660 First Year Graduate Seminar (1st year candidates from all graduate programs participate)
  • ART 680 Written Thesis Preparation (2nd year seminar: Ceramic Art & Sculpture Dimensional Studies graduate candidates)
  • ART 672 Written Thesis Preparation (2nd year seminar: thesis paper finalized and thesis defense)
  • ART 680 Thesis – Ceramic Art (2ndyear graduate studio advising)
  • ARTH 563 Ceramics and Cultural Identity

In addition to studio advising and critical reviews of work by the full team of core faculty in Ceramic Art, all graduate students take credits in a series of seminars, art history, studio electives and technical courses relevant to their area of study.

In the second year, students work in seminars and individually with advisors on a written thesis as a supporting document to their MFA thesis exhibition. Thesis exhibitions are in the School of Art and Design’s Fosdick-Nelson Gallery, Robert C. Turner Gallery or an approved alternate site.

Degree requirements include two years of residence and a minimum of sixty graduate credit hours. Critical reviews of studio work and evaluation of progress in the program are scheduled at midterm and the end of each semester.

Applicants for admission should hold the baccalaureate degree with the equivalent of sixty credit hours in studio courses. A portfolio of completed works could be considered the equivalent of some studio courses.

In addition to the transcripts and letters of recommendation required of all students, applicants to the MFA program must present a portfolio showing competency in their art practice. When submitting the portfolio to Slideroom be sure to indicate the program for which you are applying and provide appropriate portfolio.

The School of Art and Design at Alfred University offers graduate study in multiple divisional areas: Ceramic Art, Electronic Integrated Arts, Sculpture/Dimensional Studies (concentration in either glass art or sculpture) and Painting. Applicants should make clear to which MFA program they are applying.

All applications are made through the Graduate Admissions Office and all supporting documents and the portfolio must be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office by January 15th of the application year. Only completed applications will be forwarded to the Faculty Review Committee. No applications for January enrollment are considered.

Accepted applicants must make a $200 deposit and return a signed contract as directed in the notification of acceptance or their acceptance becomes void.

In addition to a grant for full tuition waiver for both years of residency in the program, each MFA student in Ceramic Art is guaranteed an assistantship for each semester of the two-year program. Graduate assistantships consist of several types: teaching assistantships (working directly with faculty in undergraduate studio and technical classes), teaching internships (teaching ceramics to non-art students from the greater university), facilities coordinator (working with Technical Specialists to oversee kiln and facility access, upkeep and scheduling) and, a social media coordinator. In all cases, the student receives a stipend of $7,000 for the academic year.

Graduate teaching assistants are intended to support the graduate candidate by providing valuable first-hand experience in academic teaching and experience in the oversight of a large and complex facility. All assistants have a commitment of approximately 10 hours/week to meet the requirements of the stipend. Assignments are made in consultation among faculty, students and division chairs at the beginning of each semester.

Every graduate student is assigned a private studio space with direct access to the relevant facilities in their area of interest. Undergraduate students are also assigned studio spaces during their final year of study. Besides faculty offices and classrooms, Harder Hall houses the 430-seat Holmes Auditorium, the Fosdick-Nelson Gallery, the Time/Space Interface Harland Snodgrass Gallery, the Institute for Electronic Arts, the indoor kiln facility, the computer labs, the John Wood Studios for printmedia, photography and interactive graphic design, and the teaching facilities for foundations, photography, painting, ceramic art, video, sound design and interactive arts.

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