M.F.A. in Ceramics

Program Overview

The Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A) degree in Ceramics is a concentrated three-year program devoted to studio, seminar, art history, and elective coursework. The program emphasizes diversity, rigorous conceptual investigation, and contemporary critical discourse to develop individuals who challenge existing norms while producing compelling artwork. Through individual research, students develop skills, techniques and use of material as evidenced through a mature body of creative artwork. Ceramics graduate students have the unique experience of an annual short-term off-campus residency, the Morean Spring Residency Program each spring at the Morean Center for Clay (MCC) in St. Petersburg, Florida. While at the MCC, students interact with visiting artists and curators and participate in the vibrant art scene of St. Petersburg-Tampa through professional learning and exhibition opportunities. Additionally, graduate students take part in the Morean Center for Clay at Western Michigan University Summer Workshop Program, an annual summer intensive workshop series where students have the opportunity to work alongside and connect with visiting artists, designers and curators.

Graduate or Teaching Assistantships

All prospective graduate students who apply by the March 1, 2023 deadline are eligible for Graduate or Teaching Assistantships. Consideration for these awards is based on the quality of your application materials and portfolio of artwork. Once enrolled, the Graduate College offers a variety of additional funding opportunities based on research and creative activities. 




The 8,000 sq. ft. studio, supervised by a full-time technician, includes: wheel throwing and hand building areas, a well-stocked glaze lab with spray booth, plaster lab and individual 170 sq. ft. private studio spaces for each graduate student.  

Tools and Equipment 

30 electric pottery wheels, 7 computer-controlled electric kilns, 32 cu. ft. gas-fired downdraft kiln, 90 cu. ft. gas-fired downdraft car kiln, and 180 cu. ft. gas-fired downdraft car kiln, 300 cu. ft. wood-fired barrel-arched anagama kiln, 80 cu. ft. gas-fired downdraft salt kiln, 6 cu. feet gas-fired drum/cantilevered raku kiln, 40 cu. ft gas-fired updraft kiln, Two Brent Slab Rollers, Laguna Spray Booth, Soldner and Bluebird Clay Mixers, Bluebird and Shimpo Pugmills and a Shimpo Ballmill.

Career Opportunities

Graduates have several avenues for employment across multiple industries including:

  • Professional Artist or Designer
  • University or Secondary Educator
  • Entrepreneur
  • Fabricator or Studio Assistant
  • Art Handler or Preparator
  • Artist-in-Residence
  • Arts Administration, Museum and/or Non-Profit Positions
  • Gallery Manager, Owner, Curator, Exhibition Designer
  • Art Writer, Librarian, or Consultant 

Applying to the Program

Please prepare the following items as part of your application. All information must be uploaded and received by March 1, 2023.

1. Online Application - WMU Graduate College.

Within this application you will be required to submit the following:

  • Application Fee - $50: Domestic Students, $100: International Students
  • Official set of transcripts sent to:
    Western Michigan University
    Office of Admissions
    1903 W Michigan Ave
    Kalamazoo MI 49008-5211
    or sent electronically to graduate-transcripts@wmich.edu from the institution.

2. Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV).  

3. Written Statement - Please submit a personal statement outlining your goals for graduate study, your interest in the media(s) you plan to study, the thematic concerns and form(s) present in your current artwork, and the artists or theories that have been influential. (1-2 pages)

4. Portfolio - 20 examples of artistic work with size and material descriptions submitted as a single PDF.  Detail slides are acceptable where necessary. (10MB size limit)

5. Three Academic or Professional References - References should be a person who is familiar with your artistic abilities who can discuss your artwork, critical and conceptual thinking capabilities, work habits, and potential for graduate study in art. References will be contacted via email with a questionnaire regard the applicants’ qualifications for graduate study. Optional: References may also upload a reference letter. Responses should be submitted by March 1, 2023.

International Student please visit the International Admissions and Services site for assistance.