ceramic arts

Ceramic Arts (MFA) | CLOSED

  • Master's

About this Program

*Program closed. The College is not accepting applications at this time.

Program Overview

Transform theory into practice

Courses are designed to guide artists far beyond the hobbyist stage, becoming visual communicators of ideas, concepts and passion through art. Students explore the subtle nuances and details of aesthetic expression as they refine the practical application of science and technology in their work, conduct advanced thesis research and prepare for a solo gallery exhibition.

Work alongside renowned artists

Faculty members are accomplished ceramic artists and well-known specialists in areas such as East Asian coil techniques, structural strength, wheel techniques, large-scale stoneware and porcelain, ceramic engineering, wood firing, exhibition development and public art. Special course topics taught by distinguished guest artists add another dimension of creative expression and research. Small classes assure personal attention. Outstanding facilities include a kiln pavilion that has five atmospheric kilns: exploratory research, production soda, large-scale sculpture, hybrid gas/soda/wood and Sanderson ECO wood train. Through careful study and studio work, and hands-on experience with these kilns, students produce a comprehensive body of work.

Study at your own pace 

A variety of class formats accommodate working adults and long-distance commuters. We offer evening and weekend class schedules, as well as four-day, one-week and two-week intensive courses. The program can be completed in two calendar years with full-time study, or longer on a part-time basis. Another option is to complete the requirements of a Hood M.A. in ceramic arts, and apply those courses to the longer-range goal of an MFA.

Workshops and events

The Hood College Graduate School also offers workshops, studio courses and events designed to allow ceramic artists, both experienced and aspiring, to gain specialized knowledge in their field.

Degrees Offered

  • MFA

Candidates for the MFA in Ceramic Arts program must have obtained a BFA or equivalent training in the ceramic arts. Students with an undergraduate degree in an area other than ceramics who provide evidence of life experience, skill and drive in the arts may be accepted at the discretion of the program director.

To be considered for admission to the MFA program, students must meet the following admission requirements:

  • A completed application to the Hood College Graduate School.
  • One copy of official transcripts from each institution of higher education attended (official transcripts required upon acceptance prior to enrollment).
  • An essay (500 words or less) discussing previous experience with ceramics/craft medias, current work and professional goals in relation to the MFA.
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with recent work (letters can be emailed to gofurther@hood.edu).
  • A portfolio of high quality 300 DPI images in PDF format to include:
    • 20 images of current work.
    • A corresponding image list stating title of work, medium, size and dates of completion.
    • An artist statement about the portfolio work addressing concept, objectives and processes.
    • Resume.

Before acceptance, the Director of the program will conduct an interview with the candidate. This can take place at NCECA or online.


Program Requirements

The Master of Fine Arts in Ceramic Arts requires candidates to complete a studio emphasis in ceramic arts with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

60 credits are required for graduation:

19 credits of core requirements

17 credits of required research

15 credits of general electives

9 credits of art history, aesthetics and criticism

Students studying full time will normally spend three years earning the degree. Successful completion of ARTS 570 and a 3.0 GPA will serve as an interim evaluation for continuing studies. Strong candidate for the MFA will have earned a grade of A- (3.67) or higher in ARTS 570. Students may transfer up to 9 credits earned from an accredited program to their course requirements for the MFA.

Core Courses - 19 Credits Required

ARTS 501Glaze Application


ARTS 502East Asian Wedged Coil Technique


ARTS 505Ceramic Wheel: Masters' Throwing Concepts


ARTS 508Ceramic Sculpture


ARTS 523Ceramic Materials


ARTS 525Electric Kilns


ARTS 530Kiln Technology & Firing Theory


ARTS 540Clay/Glaze Chemistry Theory & Practice


ARTS 574Advanced Studies in Ceramic Arts


 Total Credit Hours:19.0

Art History and Criticism Courses - 9 Credits Required

ARTS 543History of Ceramic Arts


ARTS 564Aesthetics and Criticism


 3 credits Art History (ART) at 500 level


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

Research Courses - 17 Credits Required

ARTS 569Survival Skills for Visual Artists


ARTS 570Seminar in Personal Studio Research


ARTS 576MFA Thesis Preparation


ARTS 580MFA Thesis Research


ARTS 595MFA Thesis Exhibition


 Total Credit Hours:17.0

Elective Courses – 15 Credits Required


ARTS 504Ceramic Decoration


ARTS 506Ceramic Wheel: Masters' Throwing II


ARTS 507Plates and Platters


ARTS 509Throwing Large Forms


ARTS 512Eastern & Western Tech in Trimming


ARTS 517Dynamic and Asymmetrical Wheel


Handbuilding and Sculpture

ARTS 542Modeling the Figure


ARTS 545Large Scale and Composite Sculpture


Kiln Technology

ARTS 531Wood Firing Theory


ARTS 532Firing Large Scale Wood Kiln


ARTS 533Soda Firing Theory and Practice


Special Topics Courses

ARTS 520Photographing Ceramics


ARTS 547Creating with Porcelain


ARTS 590Teaching Assistant in Ceramic Arts

1.0 - 4.0

ARTS 599Special Topics in Ceramic Arts

1.0 - 3.0

Independent Study

ARTS 575Independent Study

1.0 - 3.0

Workshops are held during the Fall, Spring, and Summer Terms. Please review our current workshops and register using our secure registration site.


Program Contact

Chaz Martinsen

Program Director

Nick Masucci

Assistant Director of Graduate Admission

Office: 301-696-3601 Cell/WhatsApp: 240-651-4015

Our advisory board...

provides support and assistance in the development of new programs, serves as ambassadors for our program and identifies best practice standards.

All Faculty
Hood College Ceramics Professor

Chaz Martinsen

  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Ceramic Arts
  • Director of the Ceramic Arts Program
Lillian Ding, MFA

Graduate Alumna Focus | Lillian Ding

Lillian Ding, MFA Alumni Graduate School Graduate Student

Lillian Ding graduated from Hood College with an MFA in Ceramic Arts in September 2020. She received First Prize in 2018 and the President’s Choice Award in 2019 at Hood’s Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition Awards Ceremony.

  • Academics
  • Alumni Relations
Faith Ku

Graduate Student Spotlight | Faith Ku

Faith Ku, Ceramic Arts MFA Graduate School Graduate Student

"Hood College’s ceramics program is so unique as it offers a robust spectrum of classes that teach graduate students everything from the most basic to the more advanced aspects of ceramics."

  • Academics