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. Our 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.

Program Highlights

  • Morean Spring Residency: Each spring, graduates participate in a funded, short-term residency through the Morean Workshop Space (MWS) in St. Petersburg, Florida. While at the MWS, students interact with visiting artists and curators and participate in the vibrant art scene of St. Petersburg-Tampa through professional learning and exhibition opportunities. As part of the residency, students also travel to Miami, FL for a 2-day trip filled with museum tours and gallery visits. The Morean Spring Residency typically includes three trips to Florida: 1.) January: Florida Heat Woodfiring Workshop (16 days), 2.) February: 1-2 Visting Instructor(s) Workshop (5 days) and 3.) April:1-2 Visting Instructor(s) Workshop (5 days).
  • Morean Ceramics Research Center Summer Workshop Series: Each summer, graduate students participate in an intensive on-campus workshop series, working alongside and connecting with visiting artists, designers, and curators.
  • Funding: Each graduate student receives the Audrey Morean Petersen Graduate Fellowship. Graduate Fellowship awards include full or partial tuition coverage, a generous material budget, and stipend. Once enrolled, Frostic School of Art and the Graduate College offer a variety of additional funding opportunities for travel and research.
  • Paid teaching opportunities that provide valuable classroom experience. 
  • 170 sq.ft. private studio space.



  • Applying to the Program

    Please prepare the following items as part of your application. Applications are reviewed during the rolling admission period of February 1st - April 1stAll information must be uploaded and received by April 1st.

    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 (need-based fee waiver available; contact kyle.triplett@wmich.edu)
    • 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.

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

  • Curriculum

Visiting Artists

The mission of Frostic School of Art’s Visiting Artist program is trifold: to provide students direct, meaningful contact with working artists, both established and emerging; to elevate the regional, national, and international profile of the Frostic School of Art and Richmond Center for Visual Arts; and to nurture a sense of community among students, faculty and staff within WMU’s College of Fine Arts. Ceramics Graduate Students have the unique opportunity to work with 10-12 visiting artist each year through the Morean Spring Residency Program and the Morean Center for Clay at WMU Summer Workshop. Students have direct input on our visiting program and are encouraged to recommend artists, designers and curators they would like to work with. Recent visiting artists and scholars that have enriched the ceramics curriculum include; Raven Halfmoon, Stuart GairKyle JohnsChandra DeBuseJamie Bates SloneLars ZoltzGustav HamiltonKristen CliffelMichael LorsungJenn Cole, Andrew GilliattAkeylah Imani WellingtonSavanna LaBauve, & Eric Zohn


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. 

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, 50 cu. ft. gas-fired crossdraft soda kiln, 6 cu. feet gas-fired drum/cantilevered raku kiln, 40 cu. ft gas-fired updraft kiln, 2 Heated Plaster Dryers, 2 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 

About Kalamazoo, MI:

Kalamazoo, Michigan is a metropolitan community of 150,000 residents located in Southwest Michigan, a little over two hours from Chicago, IL and Detroit, MI. Home to nationally recognized Western Michigan University (WMU) and Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo is a city filled with energy and innovation.  A vibrant downtown features quality dining, unique shops, galleries, and live entertainment. In Kalamazoo, you’re never far from a number of lakes and other outdoor recreation or one of over 20 breweries, wineries and distilleries. Kalamazoo averages around $750-950 monthly rent for 2-bedroom apartments, with minimal commutes to campus and an average cost-of-living. Our students enjoy easy access to a wide range of art-making materials and several options for groceries from Trader Joe’s to Costco.