MA Design (Ceramics) – Bath Spa University

Key facts

Options: MA Design (Ceramics), PG Dip Design (Ceramics), PG Cert Design (Ceramics).
Bath School of Art
Campus or location
Sion Hill and Locksbrook
Course length
MA full-time: three trimesters (one calendar year); PG Dip full-time: two trimesters (one academic year); PG Cert full-time: one trimester.

Entry requirements

You’ll need a good undergraduate degree in Ceramics or equivalent experience. See "Interested in applying?" for more information.

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

  • Taught by leading academic and practitioners, with a high level of tutor input.
  • Excellent technical support and facilities with specialist equipment.
  • Regular visits from industry experts and practicing artists.

This distinctive MA course offers you the opportunity to study a range of approaches to ceramics at postgraduate 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.

“The University’s facilities are fantastic with all the equipment needed to study ceramics from kilns, wheels and spray booths to a dedicated plaster workshop, glazing facilities and glaze library.”

Taz Pollard, MA Design (Ceramics)

What you'll learn


You’ll be part of a lively ceramics community based around comprehensive workshop provision and studio spaces shared with multidisciplinary BA students specialising in Ceramics. As postgraduate students, you’ll have the opportunity to extend and hone your making skills in conjunction with developing your understanding of how a Ceramics specialisation might relate to production in art, craft or design contexts.

Through study of historical and contemporary theory and practice, you’ll deepen your knowledge of the field and develop your abilities in critical thinking and writing. Drawing on recent developments in artistic research, you’ll also explore methods for generating writing from practice. We’ll help you to become theoretically and critically aware, so you can identify and communicate effectively with the audience/market for your practice, and/or progress to research at MPhil or PhD level.

The course moves from taught modules through to a self-directed Master's 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).

Course structure

Trimester one

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.

Trimester two

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 one, 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.

Trimester three

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.

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the course handbook or definitive programme document for full details on which modules are core, required or optional.

  • Research Methods
  • Ceramics 1: Initiating Creative Practice
  • Ceramics 2: Developing Creative Practice
  • Analysis of Contemporary Context
  • Master's Project.

How will I be assessed?

At the end of each trimester, modules are assessed by internal staff and moderated by an external examiner. Practice modules are assessed through a studio exhibition of work with a supporting statement. Theory modules are assessed through written assignment and verbal presentation. The final Master's project is assessed through exhibition and your Evaluative Report. There are no written examinations.

How will I be taught?

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 delivered by the department of Design and Critical Studies and you’ll be taught alongside students from all postgraduate courses in the Schools 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. Throughout modules 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.


Field trips

The department organises two study visits to London each year as well as visits to other centres and exhibitions. We offer a series of study trips including the British Ceramics Biennial, Collect, and gallery visits with talks by ceramics practitioners. Please note that you may have to pay for some of these study visits.

Work placements, industry links and internship

Our students have worked with The Holburne Museum, British Ceramics Biennial, Collect, Ceramic Art London, New Designers, The Contemporary Craft Fair, Ceramic Review and Crafts.


Typical career destinations include:

  • Exhibiting
  • Ceramic design
  • Museum work
  • Arts administration
  • Public art
  • Research
  • Teaching.

Competitions and awards

MA Ceramics student and graduate achievements:

  • Vilas Silverton - 2015 MA Ceramics Graduate: Exhibited at the British Ceramics Biennial, 2015 and Art in Clay, 2016
  • Taz Pollard - 2013 MA Ceramics graduate: Winner of One Year On at New Designers 2014
  • Jane King - 2012 MA Ceramics graduate: Prize Winner at 58th Premio Faenza: International Competition for Contemporary Ceramic Art, International Museum of Ceramics, Faenza, Italy
  • Jo Taylor and Jane King - 2012 MA Ceramics graduates: Shortlisted for Young Masters Art Prize 2014
  • Maria Wojdat - 2007 MA Ceramics graduate: Featured in Elle Magazine and showing at Ceramic Art London 2015.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

Our Art and Design courses are based at our Locksbrook Road (2019) and Sion Hill campuses.

You'll have access to:

  • New, purpose-built facilities, specifically designed to encourage creative cross-disciplinary encounters with other artists and designers
  • Specialist Art and Design library (Sion Hill)
  • Dedicated subject librarian
  • Specialist ceramics workshops: glazing, throwing, plaster mould-making and slip casting
  • 3D digital processes workshop
  • Glaze laboratory
  • University-wide workshops: woodwork, metalwork, photography, audio visual studio, silkscreen, etching and litho, sculpture casting and plastics.

Your new campus

Our new Locksbrook Campus is truly a unique and inspirational space, providing a state-of-the-art learning environment for you to flourish. Located next to the River Avon in Bath city centre, the open-plan building has technical workshops surrounded by open, flexible studio spaces, as well as large, open social areas.


Please note: Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland are no longer eligible for the UK (Home) fee status. Please refer to the international student rate.

UK students full time

Course fees
2021/22 entry £8,405
2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022
2023/24 entry Published Jan 2023

International students full time

Course fees
2021/22 entry £15,685
2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022
2023/24 entry Published Jan 2023

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

You’ll need a good undergraduate degree in Ceramics or equivalent experience. This could include a first degree in other disciplines together with subsequent studio practice. The key is having an open attitude to learning and the potential, in the view of the interview panel, to successfully complete the programme.

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the "apply now" button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply webpages.

Interview and portfolio guidance

Your portfolio is an important part of the application process, giving us an insight into who you are as a ceramics practitioner. We ask that you include a wide variety of work in your portfolio, including sketchbooks, visual research, tests and trials as well as finished ceramics works.

Want to apply for this year? 

Many of our postgraduate courses have a limited number of student spaces. To avoid the disappointment of the course being full, we recommend that you apply now.

Late applications (generally those made after 31 July) will only be considered if places remain on the course.

Need more information or still have questions? Contact us to discuss your situation.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Course leader: Conor Wilson

Locksbrook Campus image credits: Chris Wakefield, Crescent Photography

Website feedback to