A major in Ceramics offers a rigorous, hands-on investigation of clay as a multifaceted medium with great expressive possibilities. Students explore the rich multicultural history of ceramic objects and through interaction with professors, peers and visiting artists, are able to grasp the full range of contemporary practices and ideas.

Degree programs

4-year undergraduate degree
2-year graduate degree

Ceramics majors experiment with throwing, building, molding, glazing, firing and developing new techniques using specialized tools and equipment, including workstations for handling digital images, glaze formulation and remote kiln firing.

Anina Major | MFA 17

“Ceramics comes with a lot of history and a lot of rules—and in our department people work to push beyond those rules to innovate. The faculty fosters a relaxed energy that allows you to come into your own as an artist and connect with your peers in a way where you want everyone to succeed.”

Katy Schimert | department head

“The study of ceramics results in a wide spectrum of applications – from fine art sculpture, to studio pottery, to architectural projects. The fact that our department is part of a school of both fine art and design allows us to collaborate across disciplines while maintaining the highest level of discipline-specific ceramic education.”

Regardless of the path they choose after graduation, Ceramics alumni are original thinkers and skilled artists capable of using their creative talents in a variety of meaningful ways. Alumni go into teaching, establish studio practices, design products, create prototypes, specialize as muralists, run galleries, work on commission and pursue all sorts of interesting work that makes use of their expertise in spatial design.

Alumni at work

Arlene Shechet MFA 78 | sculptor

Dividing her time between studios in Manhattan and upstate New York, Arlene Shechet creates sculpture from clay, but keeps her hand in a variety of materials—including plaster, paper pulp and glass. Critics and the public applauded her 2015 retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and New York Times art critic Roberta Smith has called her ceramic work “sexy, devout, ugly and beautiful all at the same time.” Shechet serves as an occasional visiting critic at RISD and credits her experiences here with exposing her to “a lot of materials and processes, ideas and images—and perhaps most importantly, conversations.”


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