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Areas Of Study » Undergraduate Studies » Ceramics

Undergraduate Ceramics Studies

General Overview

CeramicGarden The Ceramics specialization is part of the Applied Design emphasis in the Art major. It offers students the opportunity to work with both hand-built and thrown forms, low-fire and high-fire techniques, and functional and sculptural images. The use of other media with clay is encouraged whenever it is appropriate to the content of the work. The traditions of the craft of ceramics are emphasized along with contemporary art issues and current themes. The program includes a balanced program in clay as an art medium focused on skillful manipulation of materials along with conceptual issues. Classes are offered in basic methods of forming, decorating, glazing and firing pottery forms with emphasis on the use of the potter's wheel, as well as classes in the design and construction of hand-built ceramic forms.

The Ceramics area is fully committed to giving students a broad education in both the conceptual and technical aspects of the field. This includes fostering awareness in students of the conceptual and aesthetic course of the contemporary art world in general, and the smaller subset specific to the ceramics arts. It is the emphasis' goal to have committed students who leave the program with the skills necessary to survive as artists in the world outside academia. The emphasis also encourages the best and most committed students to consider continuing their education at the graduate level at other institutions.

The ceramics area presents each student with the opportunity to learn the major contemporary, historical, and technical aspects of of the ceramic arts. Craft traditions which are covered include throwing, handbuilding, moldmaking, glaze and firing techniques (stoneware, lowfire, raku, majolica, salt, wood, saggar, luster), and glaze technology.

A student's development within the ceramics program involves a process of layering technical, aesthetic and conceptual information. As it is generally required for students to have taken two- and three- dimensional design and drawing as prerequisites, most of the students are sophomores when entering at the beginning level in ceramics. Beginning courses focus heavily on technical skills and physical manipulation of the media. One course is devoted entirely to handbuilding and the other course focuses primarily on throwing. The intermediate course has a more conceptual focus while also introducing students to clay mixing, kiln firing skills, and more advanced manipulations of the clay. The advanced course encourages students to hone their individual aesthetic expressions. The emphasis also offers a Clay and Glaze Technology course which helps students to fine tune their use of the media through chemistry and empirical analysis. When all courses have been taken, students are encouraged to pursue independent studies to refine personal directions.

For more information on the degree requirements for the Ceramics specialization, please download the undergraduate Applied Design emphasis checklist. You can also refer to an advisor for specific questions. Note: Documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view. Download Adobe Acrobat Reader(external link).

Admissions and Financial Assistance

You can learn more detailed information about the admissions process on the Undergraduate Admissions page. For more information on financial assistance, please visit our Financial Aid page or our student scholarships page to find scholarships available through the School of Art and Design.


Read detailed information on our facilities on the Facilities page, where you can also link to other interdisciplinary facilities within the School of Art and Design.

You can also read more about local art material supplier resources on our Art Supplies page, as well as learn more about our library research facilities by visiting SDSU's Love Library website(external link).

Glaze Database / CeramicsWeb

Started by Professor Richard Burkett, CeramicsWeb(external link) is an educational resource site for the ceramics community. One of it's main features is a database for glazes(external link), to which users can also contribute.

Student Organizations

The SDSU Ceramic Arts Association, a student-run organization, helps to fund and make decisions about extracurricular activities. The student organization supports a visiting artist program or lectures and critiques and workshops by artists who are nationally and internationally known. The organization also provides a well-stocked library of current periodicals and purchases books on technical, aesthetic and safety information.

Previous Visiting Artsits

One of the strong points of the SDSU Ceramics program is the Visiting Artist Program. At least two, and often four or more visiting artists are scheduled for the ceramics area each year. Visiting artists in ceramics in the last few years include:

  • Beverly Mayeri
  • Walter McConnell
  • Susan Beiner
  • Akio Takamori
  • Jeff Oestreich
  • Adrian Arleo
  • Peter Beasecker
  • Adrian Saxe
  • Judy Moonelis
  • Chris Staley
  • Linda Arbuckle
  • Tony Hepburn
  • Tre Arenz
  • Don Reitz
  • Kathy Royster
  • Richard Shaw
  • Aurore Chabot
  • Eddy Dominguez
  • Sandy Simon
  • Robert Brady
  • Patti Warashina

For information on upcoming visiting artists, please visit our Upcoming Visiting Artsits page. Listed below are some of the visiting artists the School has hosted specific to the X discipline:

The Faculty

To contact or learn more about individual faculty in this department, please click on their names below:

This page was last updated at 2:48PM on December 21, 2012