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BA (hons) Ceramics

Course Overview

Cardiff School of Art & Design is one of the largest ceramics centres in Europe, with a reputation for research and teaching that attracts students, practitioners and academics from all over the world. Ceramics at CSAD has a long-standing reputation for excellence, based on an approach that is dynamic and progressive.

Throughout this course you will have the opportunity to work across a broad range of processes, exploring the full potential of ceramic applications and acquiring advanced skills in a range of technologies with which you may not have previously engaged.

Download a BA Ceramics prospectus here

You will create your own route through the programme, working in both traditional materials and, where appropriate, digital media. Throughout your studies, you will be supported by a dynamic team of technician demonstrators.

Although a specialist ceramic programme, the course welcomes students who are keen to work with other materials, including glass, textiles, metal and ‘smart’ materials. You will have access to excellently equipped workshops as well as a dedicated personal studio space.

Imogen Higgins“The material itself is so interactive. It’s instant and has always appealed to me – I’ve always lived in a 3D world.” Imogen Higgins Read about Imogen’s first year at CSAD here.

The structure of the course enables you to gather strong business experience, with the option to undertake a work placement within the industry, carry out research with one of our Professors and research staff, or travel to study ceramics in countries where the traditions are very different. In the third year, ceramics students can elect to undertake a business plan or a dissertation, preparing the way for your career on graduation. The choice is yours, and it’s there to help realise your ambitions – whether that is to set up your own studio, establish a gallery profile, or continue your personal development through further study.


The focus of the degree is not only to develop you as a student and critical thinker, but to inspire your growth into a skilled and intellectual ceramicist. These attributes, which are dependent on one another, combined with practical experience and an understanding of the ceramics industry, will form the beginning of your career, and stand you in the strongest possible position to carry it forward.

The ceramics programme is taught by a dedicated team of academics – and all staff are practicing ceramicists. Staff interests and research areas range from figurative ceramics, materiality, utility, new technologies and creativity.

Year One (level 4)

Materials and Processes: This module is designed to develop your understanding of the key concepts of a practicing ceramicist, and will provide you with the process skills and material understanding to realise your creative intent. You will be learning to employ ceramic materials, process, equipment and tools with skill and imagination whilst observing good working practices.

Ceramics in the City: In this module, you will be offered the opportunity to collaborate across subject disciplines. By tackling a set of concerns as a group, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your own strengths, skills and artistic insight in relation to the broader creative field.

Module Three: Constellation – Concept In term one, a series of keynote lectures from across the Constellation team will introduce you to the staff and their areas of interest and expertise. Through interdisciplinary working – such as collective presentations – you will be developing your academic and research skills, across concepts ranging from post-modernism, identity and globalisation to post colonialism, technology and embodiment.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).

Year Two (level 5)

Create: This module is designed to enable you to reflect upon your own strengths and interests and to begin to shape your career by building that intellectual expertise and vocation into the core of your practice.

Project: You will be set a challenging project which will require you to negotiate and learn beyond the curriculum of your subject discipline. It may take you abroad for international study; to an existing company for work experience or voluntary social engagement; or result in working with School’s leading research teams or individual staff. Designed to encourage you to explore and experiment, individual projects will be graded by a common form of assessment.

Module Three – Critique: In terms one and two you will attend a series of seminars lead by different Constellation team members, thus engaging in a diverse range of topics where you will be able to put your academic skills into practice. This will include critiquing current literature as well as contemporary journals and exhibitions, with the purpose of examining a range of modern research ideas; from interactivity and design to metaphor, critical theory, ecology, art and science. In doing so, you will be introduced to additional research methodologies, such as ethnographic research, content analysis, archival research.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).

Year Three (level 6)

Research and Development: This module is student-led in terms of both content and outcome, and is designed to help you further your creative practice. As such, it could be that your work is founded in a professional context, or that it centres around entry into competitions.

Exhibition: Built around a major project and an exhibition brief, the module will see you produce a professional presentation of your design collection; this being the culmination of your creative practice, often serving as the launch-pad for a final year student’s future career.

Dissertation: Your final Constellation module will demonstrate your ability to produce a dissertation of significant value to your field, with a sense of authority stemming from thorough research and academic rigour.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).


From the outset, you will gain hands-on experience in practical studio sessions and workshops – developing your core material skills. Lectures, lead by members of the academic staff, will broaden your theoretical understanding of your field, whilst smaller, targeted seminars are designed to provide guidance for meeting more individual intellectual and practical demands.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).


Throughout the duration of your studies, you will be evaluated on three main criteria which underpin all of the disciplines being taught at CSAD:

Skills The practical, technical and conceptual skills you acquire during your course.
Context Your understanding and knowledge of broader intellectual context within which your discipline and work is located. This includes historical, theoretical and social issues and will often be explored in written or theoretical work, known as your Constellation modules.
Ideas Your understanding of intellectual and creative ideas from within and beyond your discipline; plus your ability to acquire new concepts and form new ideas. Ideas will be explored in your Constellation assignments, as well as being evident in your practical progress.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).


Whilst your learning is designed to develop you into a rounded and capable artist/designer and intellectual, your curriculum is similarly structured with your potential in mind.

As such, the emphasis that will have been placed upon your work ethic, both creatively and academically, is matched with significant focus on real world experience; from building contacts and undertaking placements to live briefs and, should you choose so, support in forming your own business.

You can elect to take a route through your second and final years of studies where you can engage with businesses or launch your own for the moment you graduate. In your final year, rather than submit a dissertation, you have the option of devising a detailed business plan.

Throughout your time at CSAD, you will be meeting and hearing from professionals within your industry, honing your skills and ideas for commercial and professional advantage. Cross-disciplinary projects will prepare you for teamwork later on, whilst live briefs will prepare you for deadlines and the demands of tight specifications.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).


Applicants should have a strong art and/or design portfolio and demonstrate a commitment to art and/or design, five GCSE passes including English and Maths at grade C or above plus:
• 300 points from a successfully completed Art & Design Foundation Diploma or/and
• At least 3 A Levels / Scottish Advanced Highers from any Subject, (General Studies excluded)
• QCF BTEC Extended Diploma: Distinction Distinction Merit
• 300 points from the Irish Leaving Certificate at Highers to include 3 x B1 grades from any subject (minimum grade C2 considered)
• Pass Access with 45 credits at Level 3 within a relevant subject
• 300 points from the Welsh Baccalaureate to include grades CC at A Level within any subject, General Studies excluded, Core counted as fourth subject
• Qualifications equivalent to the above

If your qualification isn’t listed above, please refer to the UCAS website.

For applicants only undertaking 2 A Levels / 12-unit BTEC or equivalent, or applying with other life experiences, other qualifications and/or art & design achievements will be considered. If you are a UK or EU student intending to enter the first year and are confident you will meet the academic level (the tariff points) for your preferred undergraduate course, then you should apply through the usual means (UCAS in the UK) as detailed on the applications page of the Cardiff Metropolitan University website.

Selection Procedure:
Selection is based on the receipt of a completed UCAS application and attendance at a School of Art & Design Interview.
Acceptance at interview is based upon a balance of three criteria.
(i) Personal enthusiasm for and immersion in the practice and theory of Art & Design.
(ii) Academic Achievement and ability.
(iii) Quality of work, ambition and skills demonstrated in a portfolio.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).


UCAS code: W232
Course length: Three years full-time.
Subject Leader: Duncan Ayscough;

For course specific enquiries, please contact Subject Leader Duncan Ayscough;

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).

Ceramics Virtual Learning Environment

The National Centre for Ceramics have created a Virtual Learning Environment with links to student pages, staff and student exhibitions along with examples of staff practice and research and award winning learning and teaching resources.

Visit the National Centre for Ceramics VLE here.

Below is a list of other related courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Visit the courses page for the full list.
BA Fine Art
BA Artist Designer:Maker
BA Textiles
Postgraduate Certificate in Research Skills: Art & Design (CRS)
Ceramics - MA
MA (Art & Design) with pathways
Master of Design (MDes)
Master of Fine Art (MFA)

Cardiff School of Art & Design is home to 1200 students, united by ambition and a true passion for creative enquiry. We are makers and thinkers in the fields of fine art, design, architecture and a range of craft practices. We have workshops and studios that ensure our students can operate as professionals from the moment they start their studies.

Why choose CSAD? Read three big reasons here.

150 years of Cardiff Metropolitan University

2015 marks our 150th anniversary.

Read more about the events to celebrate the occasion on the Cardiff Met website.

Open Days

Dates for Undergraduate Open days for 2016/17 entry will be posted on the Open Day web page.

The next Masters Open Day is on Friday 19th June 2015 at 12pm. Please email to book a place.

Visit the Open Day web page for more information.

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Download a prospectus

Click here to visit our Prospectus page with links to pdf prospectuses for the range of subjects covered at CSAD.

Research & Enterprise Newsletter

CSAD releases a regular pdf newsletter featuring the latest Research & Enterprise news from across the School. Click the links below to view a selection of recently published R&E Newsletters (pdf format):

Spring 2015 | Autumn 2014 | Summer 2014 | Autumn/Winter 2013/14 | Summer 2013 | Spring 2013 | Autumn 2012 | Summer 2012 | Spring 2012 | Autumn 2011 | Summer 2011 | Spring 2011 | Winter 2010 | Autumn 2010

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