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Ceramic Arts, M.F.A.

Program Director: Joyce Michaud, M.F.A.;  301-696-3526

The Master of Fine Arts in Ceramic Arts offers comprehensive research in the ceramic arts, providing academic preparation for matriculating students pursuing professional careers in personal artistic exploration, arts instruction, community arts and museum positions. Creation of ceramic art is a multidisciplinary confluence of science and art. The production of three- dimensional works of art in the ceramic medium is a continuing exercise in critically assessing the results of a complex series of deliberate experiments culminating in an aesthetic judgment, documentation and exhibition. The M.F.A. degree program will ground students in the scientific requirements of ceramic arts and develop critical understanding of the aesthetics involved in exploring the third dimension. Innovative experiential process is the basis of the Hood College ceramic arts program history and the major thrust behind the curriculum.


  • The student will gain a broad knowledge base of a variety of studio art media, develop technical skills, gain an awareness of historical movements and comprehend universal aesthetic concepts.
  • The student will develop the ability to observe, cultivating analytical and creative thinking skills.
  • The student will develop a process for articulating aesthetic ideas and the ability to communicate their personal aesthetic intentions visually in their art work, verbally and in written form.
  • The student will develop a critical understanding of art, aesthetics and cultural education
  • The student will gain purpose and a sense of responsibility of the role an artist plays in society and how an artist effects societal change.
  • The student will develop the ability to analyze formal design issues both literally and conceptually.
  • The student will gain the ability to seek the challenge of higher learning environments, to become confident artists, intellectually sound risk takers, career oriented professionals and ultimately empowered citizens meeting the challenges of today’s society.

For admission information, see Graduate Admission and Program Specific Application Requirements. 

Degree Requirements

The Master of Fine Arts in Ceramic Arts requires candidates to complete a studio emphasis in ceramic arts with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or greater.

  • 60 credits are required for graduation
  • 22 credits of core requirements
  • 17 credits of required research
  • 15 credits of general electives
  • 6 credits of art history

Students studying full time will normally spend three years earning the degree. Part of the requirements may be fulfilled by completing the Graduate Certificate in Ceramic Arts. Successful completion of ARTS 570 and a 3.0 grade point average will serve as an interim evaluation for continuing studies. Strong candidate for the M.F.A. will have earned a grade of A- (3.67) or higher in ARTS 570. Students may transfer 9 credits earned from an accredited program to their course requirements for the M.F.A.

Core Courses - 22 Credits Required

  • ARTS 501 Glaze Application (1 credit)
  • ARTS 502 East Asian Wedged Coil Technique (1 credit)
  • ARTS 504 Ceramic Decoration (3 credits)
  • ARTS 505 Ceramic Wheel: Masters’ Throwing Concepts (2 credits)
  • ARTS 508 Ceramic Sculpture (3 credits)
  • ARTS 511 Properties of Clay (1 credit)
  • ARTS 521 Properties of Glaze (2 credits)
  • ARTS 525 Electric Kiln (1 credit)
  • ARTS 530 Kiln Technology and Firing Theory (2 credits)
  • ARTS 540 Clay and Glaze Chemistry, Theory and Practice (3 credits)
  • ARTS 543 History of Ceramics (3 credits)

Research Course - 17 Credits Required

  • ARTS 569 Survival Skills for Visual Artists (1 credit)
  • ARTS 570 Graduate Seminar in Personal Studio Research (4 credits)
  • ARTS 576 Thesis Preparation (3 credits)
  • ARTS 580 M.F.A. Thesis Research (6 credits)
  • ARTS 595 M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition (4 credits)

Elective Courses – 15 Credits Required


  • ARTS 506 Ceramic Wheel: Masters’ Throwing II (2 credits)
  • ARTS 507 Plates and Platters (1 credit)
  • ARTS 509 Throwing Large Forms (3 credits)
  • ARTS 512 Eastern and Western Techniques in Trimming (1 credit)
  • ARTS 515 Ceramic Arts Throwing Lab (1 credit)
  • ARTS 517 Dynamic and Asymmetrical Wheel (3 credits)

Handbuilding and Sculpture

  • ARTS 542 Modeling the Figure (3 credits)
  • ARTS 545 Large Scale and Composite Sculpture (3 credits)

Kiln Technology

  • ARTS 531 Wood Firing Theory (2 credits)
  • ARTS 532 Firing the Large Scale Single or Multi-Chambered Wood Kiln(2 credits)
  • ARTS 552 Kiln Design and Construction (3 credits)

Special Topics Courses

  • ARTS 510 Brushmaking (1 credit)
  • ARTS 520 Photographing Ceramics (1 credit)
  • ARTS 547 Creating with Porcelain (3 credits)
  • ARTS 564 Aesthetics and Criticism (3 credits)
  • ARTS 571 Arts Management and Marketing (3 credits)
  • ARTS 574 Advanced Studies in Ceramic Arts (3 credits)
  • ARTS 590 Teaching Assistant in Ceramic Arts (3-4 credits)
  • ARTS 599 Visiting Artist Special Topics (1-3 credits)

Independent Study

  • ARTS 575 Independent Study (1-6 credits)

Art History - 6 Credits Required

Six credits in Art History (ART) at the 500-level

Additional graduate level humanities courses may serve as elective credit with approval of the program director.