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Ceramic Design MA (Full time)

Course Description

MA Ceramic Design is recognised worldwide as one of the leading postgraduate programmes in ceramic design for small and mass manufacture. Taught in Stoke-on-Trent, the home of UK ceramics for over two centuries in the Potteries, this long-established course consistently produces career-ready graduates that are in demand by leading ceramic companies both in the UK and overseas. With world-famous ceramic manufacturers quite literally on the doorstep, Stoke-on-Trent provides a unique venue for the study of ceramic design.

This course provides a design-led creative experience of ceramics within a broad subject context. Designing through intelligent making allows you to access ideas through a unique material. The deep knowledge of one material helps you to appreciate the opportunities in ceramics but also its translation into other materials and professional opportunities. Whether your personal aspirations are embedded in 2D surface and pattern, and or 3D shape, form and function.

The relationship between the course and the global ceramic industry is mutually beneficial and is primarily responsible for the unique character and international reputation of the course. The strength of this award lies in the accumulated wealth of specialist knowledge and practical skills, which are the essential tools of the ceramics designer; and in the good working practices developed over many years. In the close working relationship with industry, and in the clarity of purpose that ensures academic coherence, and the credibility of the award.

Students are encouraged to pursue new and innovative ideas, redefining established ceramic craft and ceramic design market opportunities. These ideas may now be less wedded to the immediate perceived needs of the mass manufacturing industry and for the mass market. As a consequence encouraging students to take a wider perhaps more entrepreneurial, enterprising standpoint – working as designer-producers for example, engaging with small to medium sized factories in developing aspirational products of contemporary relevance with ‘added value’ aimed potentially at new and different niche markets.

The MA Ceramic Design course has in recent years provided the creative genesis for The New English ceramic design brand and the University’s unique Flux, blue and white fine bone china collection.

This course can be studied part time. For more information on part time study, see the website: http://www.staffs.ac.uk/course/SSTK-06801.jsp?utm_source=findamasters&utm_medium=courseprofile&utm_campaign=postgraduate

Course content

Semester 1
-Tools and Techniques
-Collaborative Project

Semester 2
-Ceramic Design, Professional Pathways
-Creativity & Innovation

Semester 3
The Masters Project

Graduate destinations

Many of our Ceramic Design graduates now work as designers or senior managers and creative directors within the ceramics and related creative industries. Some have set up in business as designer-producers or as freelance design consultants. And others have become retail developers, stylists, buyers, trend forecasters, lecturers and teachers.

Other admission requirements

For you to be able to execute your own ideas whilst on the course, You would be expected to demonstrate:
-Your ability to communicate your creative design ideas visually, this is critically important. Through traditional sketching and drawing (drawing with your own hand) and through digital techniques (the use of appropriate computer softwares).
-A broad understanding and experience of ceramic moulded techniques (the use of plaster moulds, typically slipcasting) or hand making techniques would be expected.
-Alternatively you may be interested in ceramic surface, ideas for surface pattern design whether this be for graphics; textiles or ceramics.
-Evidence that you have an awareness of the global marketplace for ceramic design, and as such develop innovative ceramic ideas informed by this knowledge.

Visit the Ceramic Design MA (Full time) page on the Staffordshire University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Alex Allday

4411.jpg Following a first degree in 3D Design at Loughborough University, Alex enrolled on a Masters in Ceramic Design at Staffs and graduated in July 2015.

“The course, and art and design faculty as a whole at Staffordshire, has a great reputation, really good industry links and offers fantastic facilities.”

The 24-year-old set up a studio at a creative hub in Burslem with two fellow Staffs graduates, Jasmine Simpson and Jade Simpson. Visitors to their Tame Studios workshop at the newly-restored Middleport Pottery will be able to watch them in action and buy their finished work.

The friends are also planning to hold ceramics workshops at Middleport to demonstrate a range of skills, techniques and processes, as well as working with fellow creatives based at the historic site to hold events and exhibitions.

“Providing these workshops will enable us to promote ceramics within the area and get more people interested and involved in it,” says Alex, “as well as the opportunity to promote our craft and what recent Staffordshire graduates have to offer.

As well as building up her own business, Alex has done freelance work for Churchill China, designing new surface designs for a collection of mugs to be launched in spring/summer 2016.

She is also making a name for herself at events around the country, and recently won a showcase award at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, presented by the craft shop from Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, where she will hold a solo exhibition in April and May 2016.

“Studying MA Ceramic Design at Staffs has played a huge role in getting me to where I am now. I’m extremely passionate about ceramics and surface pattern design and it has taken a lot of hard work, drive and determination to get to this point and gain the opportunities that I have.

“The last two years at Staffordshire have enabled me to realise and develop my own approach and style to create distinctive ceramic and surface pattern design collections.

“Staffordshire also exposed me to an extensive range of both traditional and more advanced digital skills, techniques and processes, provided opportunities working on live briefs with a selection of companies within the industry as well as invaluable knowledge for continuing and developing my practice professionally once I’d graduated. It has definitely opened the door to many opportunities.”

(Student Profile)

Yuka Kikumoto

4413.jpg Yuka Kikumoto chose Staffordshire Univesrity – in the heart of The Potteries – to study MA Ceramic Design and launch a career making “indispensable and enriching objects”. She has displayed her work in prestigious exhibitions in the UK, Turkey and Japan, sold items in galleries and shops, and won an international award.

“My goal is to be a world famous designer-maker. My influence and inspiration comes from a rich cultural background in Japan. I am proud to be Japanese; my work reflects my country, identity and culture.

“My passion for industrial ceramic design brought me to the UK. I researched many universities about studying ceramics and found out only Staffordshire University’s MA Ceramic Design course specialised in industrial ceramic design – that’s why I chose it.”

She has already participated in numerous shows including New Designers, Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, Innovations in Ceramic Art, Ceramic in the City, Handmade in Britain and, most recently, one of the world’s biggest trade fairs, Ambiente.

“I got the Future Light award last October, which gave me the opportunity to display my work with others from all over the world. In the past three years I’ve taken part in 18 exhibitions in the UK, Turkey and Japan. I’ve sold many items at the exhibitions and I’ve also had the chance to sell in galleries and shops. I produced bespoke plates and bowls for Japanese restaurant Jidori, in London, who are selling my works and using original pieces for customers.”

As well as home, in Japan, Yuka takes inspiration from her surroundings and the practical use of the items she is producing. “The motive for my works come from the natural world, such as mountains, sky and culture. I am creating stunning contemporary ceramic designs by using slipcast techniques to create functional tableware and pushing the boundaries of everyday kitchenware. All my works concentrate on how people actually use objects but I consider most items need to have more than one use.”

“I chose the MA Ceramic Design course after seeing graduate design students’ works on the University website. I visited and talked with my professor and felt it gave me a good opportunity to be a professional designer-maker. I want to build my own design company and make indispensable and enriching objects for people’s lives.”


International Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

The Merit scholarships will be awarded automatically on application to the University as follows:Applicants with results equivalent to UK First Class degree: £2,000
Applicants with results equivalent to UK 2:1 degree: £1,500
Applicants with results equivalent to UK 2.:2 degree: £1,000

Value of Scholarship(s)



Available to international students enrolling for the first time on campus in September 2015 are are domiciled in one of the following countries:Africa: Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya and Uganda
Europe: Norway and Turkey
East Asia: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam
Middle East Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE
South Asia: Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka
South East Asia: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand

Application Procedure

For information on how to apply, please refer to the Staffordshire University website.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

In making an application to us, we would expect you to have a genuine interest in ceramic DESIGN - The course is NOT about ceramic Art or Sculpture. See course description for further admission details.

Last Updated

22 March 2017

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