Student work by Ceramics alum Stephanie Hanes

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

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

The Ceramics BFA program teaches you to use traditional techniques and new technologies to transform clay and other media into exceptional work across several fields, from studio and environmental art to architecture.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Through an emphasis on research-based studio practice, the MFA in Ceramics offers a thought-provoking context for you to develop a purposeful visual language rooted in knowledge of the medium’s history and contemporary trajectory.

In the studio

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.

Featured stories

Printing on Clay

Students in a fall Ceramics studio led by Associate Professor Lesley Baker are introducing printmaking techniques into their work.

New RISD MFAs Show in NYC

Recent Photography and Ceramics graduate students present historically grounded work at Microscope Gallery in Chelsea and Sculpture Space in Long Island City.

Rose B. Simpson Thinks in Clay

The New York Times profiles the Native American sculptor, Ceramics alum and rising star.

Student work

An intricate Ceramics sculpture

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

Nicole Cherubini BFA 93 | sculptor

New York-based artist Nicole Cherubini works largely in sculpture and mixed media. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at such institutions as the Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia, PA), the Jersey City Museum (Jersey City, NJ) and the Santa Monica Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA). She has also participated in numerous group exhibitions across the US and beyond. Her work has been reviewed in Art in America, Artforum, Art News, Bomb, Frieze Magazine, The New York Times and The New Yorker.

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.”

Panoramic view of site-specific installation of sculptures on coastline