School of Art and Design
Graduate : Master of Fine Arts in Ceramic Art

Professor John Gill
Professor Wayne Higby
Assistant Professor, Matt Kelleher
Professor Walter McConnell
Professor Linda Sikora, Division Head
Associate Professor, Linda Sormin

The objective of the Master of Fine Arts degree (MFA) is to prepare individuals for careers in Ceramic Art.

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.

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.

View Student Work Galleries

Ceramic Art
Applicants to the Ceramic Art program must indicate a commitment to working with ceramic materials and processes. 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.

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 program’s curriculum, facilities, and environment foster the pursuit of visual and verbal expression, technical innovation and intellectual access to personal growth.  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.

Degree Requirements
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.

Overview of Required Courses
Ceramic Art

ART 501

ART 552

ART 555

Studio Elective* (outside major concentration)

Advanced Ceramics* (credits per semester, 1st Year)

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

     ART 587

     ART 590

Kiln Procedures and Construction

Intro to 3D Modeling & Rapid Prototyping

Methods for Digital Output (Prerequisite: Intro to 3D Modeling & Rapid Prototyping)




ART 560

ART 672

ART 680

ARTH 563

ARTH 660

Ceramics Graduate Seminar

Written Thesis Preparation

Thesis* (credits per semester, 2nd Year)

Ceramics and Cultural Identity

First Year Graduate Seminar

Minimum Total Credit Hours Required for the Program








*A materials fee is charged for these courses              

Office of Graduate Admissions
Alumni Hall
1 Saxon Drive
Alfred, NY 14802
Phone: 800.541.9229 or Email
Application for Graduate Admissions

For specific questions, contact:
Billie Burns
Graduate Program Coordinator

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 four divisional areas: Ceramic Art, Electronic Integrated Arts and 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.

Financial Support
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.