MA Design: Ceramics

Rooted in material investigation, this course allows exploration of art, craft and design contexts.

This distinctive MA course offers you the opportunity to study a range of approaches to ceramics atpostgraduate level. You’ll develop skills and knowledge through an exciting combination of material investigation and research. This will allow you to contextualise your practice in relation to current debates in art, craft and design and to develop an individual production strategy. Approaches of past students range from sculpture and installation through to studio ceramics and design for products.

Course Structure and Content

We offer Ceramics as a full or part time course, lasting one year (3 trimesters) for full-timers and two years (6 trimesters) for part time. The course moves from taught modules through to a self-directed Masters Project. The four modules taken in the first two trimesters lead to the postgraduate diploma (PG Dip), while the successful completion of the double module in the third trimester leads to the award of MA Design: Ceramics.

You will be taught by a range of permanent staff and visiting lecturers and your course leader is Dr. Conor Wilson.

Visit Bath Spa University website page for application details


In the first trimester you’ll establish the direction of your creative practice through studio and workshop-based making, gaining the opportunity to develop skills and to explore their place within a range of possible approaches to production. Masterclasses will be delivered by course staff and visiting artists/makers. You’ll also undertake a Research Methodologies module, providing you with a strong sense of methodological purpose when thinking in, through and about your practice. We’ll outline established models of academic enquiry – both practical and intellectual – proposing ways to gather, analyse and communicate a wide range of data and ideas.

In the second Trimester, you’ll negotiate a proposal for self-directed study, taking an experimental approach to advancing your ceramic practice. You’ll deepen your knowledge and understanding of debates in ceramics and situate the personal interests and concerns that inform your work within an appropriate contemporary context. Building on the knowledge acquired in Trimester 1, you’ll map out a rationale for production in ceramics through reference to a range of cultural, theoretical and historical perspectives and develop your ability to communicate concepts and working methods.

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’ll be encouraged to set up your project in the context of a clearly thought through approach to production and exhibition and will be supervised by tutorial through to completion.

Part time students follow the same sequence of modules, but do so over two years.

Teaching Methods and Resources

You’ll receive specialised ceramics tuition from a dedicated team of academic and technical staff within the ceramics area, as well as from regular part-time lecturers and visiting practitioner/artists. You’ll also receive cross-disciplinary input, both technical and academic, appropriate to the direction in which you choose to take your ceramics practice. Research Methodologies is coordinated by the head of Research, Postgraduate and Enterprise and you’ll be taught alongside students from all postgraduate courses in the School of Art and Design. Peer interaction across the school, along with the group dynamic within the course, is seen as critical to your learning experience.

Lines of enquiry will be explored and critiqued in individual and group-tutorials with peers and tutors. Lectures, seminars, group critiques and trips will also be central to your learning experience. During each module you’ll receive formative feedback, in both verbal and written form; at the end of each module you’ll receive a summative assessment with verbal feedback.

As a Ceramics student, you’ll have access to studio workspaces and well-equipped specialist workshops for plaster and mould making, digital 3D printing, a glaze laboratory, and a range of electric and gas-fired kilns with a capacity for large scale-work. You’ll also have access to school workshops in woodwork, metalwork, photography, plastics, etching and lithography, as well as the specialist Art and Design library.


Your career destinations could include:


  • Exhibiting

  • Ceramic design and museum work

  • Arts administration

  • Public art

  • Research

Assessment Methods

There are no written examinations for this course. We’ll assess your work for the four taught modules in trimesters one and two through studio exhibitions with a supporting statement, or via a document, which you’ll submit along with evidence of appropriate research. We assess your work for final module for the through exhibition or exposition (depending on its nature) or a record of the work, which, addresses the issues you agreed in your initial proposal.

Entry Requirements

To be a successful applicant, you’ll need a BA (Hons) degree in Ceramics or equivalent experience. This could include a first degree in other disciplines, as well as subsequent studio practice. What’s most important to us however is your potential to successfully complete the programme, which we will assess during your panel interview.

Quote from graduate of the course

“I have a degree in 3D design and have also completed a PGCE, and before starting this course I was lecturing in Art and Design. I chose to do the MA in Ceramics at Bath Spa as the course has a reputation for high quality teaching and facilities, as well as offering the opportunities to develop my work. The course provided the flexibility to truly explore my personal and professional interests. Bath Spa is my local university and I particularly liked the compact, dynamic and well-resourced environment in which to study. This qualification has already helped my career, and since finishing I have opened a Design company, shown at trade shows, participated in national touring exhibitions, sold products to Italian design companies and have also become a senior lecturer. I would advise anyone considering the Ceramics MA course to be as dynamic and experimental as possible, break boundaries and do your own thing.” Daniel O’Riordan

Staff Profiles

  • Dr Conor Wilson

    Course Leader
    MA Design: Ceramics
  • Prof Keith Harrison

    Professor of Art & Design
  • Dan Allen

    Assistant Dean
  • Peter Bodenham

    Senior Lecturer
    BA Hons Fine Art, BA Hons Creative Arts and BA Hons Contemporary Arts Practice
  • Richard Winfield

    Technical Demonstrator: Ceramics
  • Sonny-Lee Lightfoot

    Technical Demonstrator: 3D Digital Design

Frequently asked questions

How many days a week will I need to attend University?

Nothing beats of the atmosphere of a dynamic studio culture and learning environment, and for this reason, we expect full time students to be in the studios and workshops from Monday to Friday.  As a student, you’ll be expected to attend one taught day per week as a minimum, whether you’re 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.

Do I get my own workspace?

Yes, as a full time student, you’ll be given a work space. If you’re studying part time, you may not get a  permanent workspace, but you’ll have access to one on the days you attend. All students will get access to Ceramic Department workshops and facilities, and to school facilities, including the library.

Do I have to buy my own materials?

We charge a small studio fee, which means you can then use the wide range of ceramic materials stocked by the Department.

Do you accept mature students?

We welcome students of all ages and diverse backgrounds.

Ask a question

Lorem question ipsum, sanctus dominus satanas!
Question text