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 premier institution for education in the art and has been offered since 1943. Today this program is ranked number one by U.S. News and World Report. The objective of the Master of Fine Arts degree (MFA) is to prepare individuals for careers in Ceramic Art.


Campus Locations

Main Campus - Alfred, NY


Ceramic Art (MFA)

Fully Funded

This two-year program is highly competitive; only eight Ceramic Art students are admitted annually. Each accepted MFA candidate is given full tuition funding and a financial stipend, either as a teaching assistant or as an intern, within the Art and Design program.

All Encompassing

The Ceramic Art program embraces all aspects of ceramic art that pursue inquiries into utility, pottery, the vessel, sculpture, the figure, architectural application, the decorative, installation, and performance.

Development Through Making

The graduate program in the Division of Ceramic Art is an intense studio-based experience that stresses the development of concepts through making; the faculty aim to provide the highest caliber of education for students whose talents and aspirations are primed to flourish. The launch of the student’s emergence into the professional art community is the thesis exhibition and articulated defense of the work’s premise.

  • ART 501 Studio Elective* (outside major concentration)
  • ART 552 Advanced Ceramics* (credits per semester, 1st Year)
  • ART 555 Ceramic Materials I: Clay Bodies and Glazes
  • Choice of at least one of the following technical courses: (Spring 1st Yr or Fall 2nd Yr)
  • ART 553 Ceramic Materials II: Problem-solving for the ceramic artist (Prerequisite: Ceramic Materials I: Clay bodies and glazes)
  • ART 581 Kiln Procedures and Construction
  • ART 587 Intro to 3D Modeling & Rapid Prototyping
  • ART 590 Methods for Digital Output (Prerequisite: Intro to 3D Modeling & Rapid Prototyping)
  • ART 560 Ceramics Graduate Seminar
  • ART 672 Written Thesis Preparation
  • ART 680 Thesis* (credits per semester, 2nd Year)
  • ARTH 563 Ceramics and Cultural Identity
  • ARTH 660 First Year Graduate Seminar

In addition to studio courses, 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 write a thesis and present a MFA thesis exhibition 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. Reviews of work are scheduled at midterm and at 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 the appropriate areas. All applicants must conform to the current area specifications as listed.

The School of Art and Design at Alfred University offers graduate study in several 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 by January 15th of the application year. Only completed applications will be forwarded to the Faculty Review Committee. It is important to clearly indicate which program you want to enter, as documentation and portfolios are only reviewed by the faculty in the specific program indicated on the application form. 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 is guaranteed an assistantship for every semester of the two-year program. Graduate assistantships consist of three types: a teaching assistantship, a teaching internship, and a facilities coordinator. In all cases, the student receives a stipend of $4,750 for the academic year.

Graduate teaching assistants help faculty members in the performance of their academic duties; a graduate teaching intern teaches one (four credit hour) studio course per semester; and a facilities coordinator works with the division head and technicians to organize and manage studio facilities. 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.

Faculty / Staff

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Billie Burns

Administrative Assistant Graduate Program
School of Art and Design

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