Ceramics

Undergraduate

  • BFA | 4-year program

    Through challenging assignments, critiques, lectures, demonstrations, fieldtrips and one-on-one conversations, faculty members in Ceramics help students to discover individual artistic strengths, develop a personal voice and express a range of experiences.

  • Inspiring Community

    A small department with approximately 10 undergraduates and 8 grad students, Ceramics offers strong individual support from faculty mentors. Every year a wide range of professionals in the field visit to offer demonstrations and workshops, along with critical feedback and new perspectives.

  • Learning Environment

    Ceramics majors work in private and communal workspaces on the third floor of RISD’s Metcalf Building, where the studio environment fosters a ready exchange of ideas among both undergraduate and graduate students. The department also supports an outward focus through everything from the annual Bowlarama street fair/fundraiser to studios designed to connect students with members of the off-campus community. Ceramics majors often work on interdisciplinary projects with Architecture and Interior Architecture classes, install site-specific installations for various locations on campus and in the city, and design and fabricate tableware to complement a specific restaurant’s cuisine and décor.

  • Curriculum

    Sophomores are introduced to sculpture and pottery through the processes of throwing, hand-building, mold-making, glazing and firing. Technique is integrated with ideas, aesthetics and personal expression in the context of contemporary and historical ceramic practice. Juniors move beyond the studio and into the world through commissions and community-engaged projects. Digital technology is central in the Materials Research class for clay, glaze and advanced kiln firing approaches.

    Foundation Studies

    • Fall
    • Drawing I
    • Design I
    • Spatial Dynamics I
    • Liberal Arts courses
    • Wintersession
    • Non-major studio elective
    • Spring
    • Drawing II
    • Design II
    • Spatial Dynamics II
    • Liberal Arts courses

    Sophomore

    • Fall
    • Slipcast Clay Object
    • Object as Idea in Clay
    • Materials and Science
    • Liberal Arts elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Pottery
    • Figure Modeling
    • Liberal Arts elective

    Junior

    • Fall
    • Topics in Ceramic History
    • Ceramic Sculpture
    • Elective
    • Liberal Arts elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Clay in Context
    • Elective
    • Liberal Arts elective

    Senior

    • Fall
    • Senior Tutorial Studio
    • Seminar: Source Presentation
    • Advanced Pottery and Production
    • Liberal Arts elective
    • Wintersession
    • Open elective
    • Spring
    • Senior Thesis
    • Directed elective

  • Thesis Project

    During senior year, students create an independent body of work, supported by individual tutorials with faculty, group critiques and discussions. Professional practice is emphasized, with coaching on presentation skills, documentation, marketing, exhibitions and residencies.

  • Application Requirements

    1. application form + fee
    2. official academic transcripts
    3. test scores: SAT or ACT and TOEFL or IELTS if English is not your first language
    4. portfolio of work 12–20 examples
    5. drawings 2 RISD-assigned samples
    6. writing samples 2 RISD-assigned pieces
    7. optional: letters of recommendation 1–3 suggested

    All freshman applicants apply to RISD as opposed to a specific department and begin with a required year of Foundation Studies. Students select a major midway through the first year but don’t begin those programs until sophomore year.

    For more information or to begin the application process, visit the Apply page.