Ceramics Emphasis - B.F.A.

Degree Information

Format: Face-to-face

Credits: ~126

Ceramics students are encouraged and challenged to explore various approaches to clay while drawing from other art and design disciplines. You will explore a variety of applications of ceramic art including function, design, sculpture, mixed-media, installation and performance that will prepare you for numerous professional opportunities. 

Degree Options

Students interested in a Ceramics education may pursue a B.F.A. in Studio Art with this emphasis, or pursue a B.A./B.S. degree in Art Education with this emphasis as well.

BFA Studio Art, Ceramics Emphasis

The B.F.A. in Studio Art is designed for students interested in a professional career in art. Aside from Ceramics, seven other Emphasis Areas are available to choose from in the B.F.A. degree.

BA/BS in Art Education and K-12 certification

Students may also pursue a BA or BS Degree in Art Education in which they can choose to take Ceramics courses. 


The curriculum includes the rigorous development of a student's individual approach to ceramics through the integration of ideas, materials, and processes. They gain an understanding of all phases of working with the medium including clay making, hand-building, wheel throwing, slip casting, glaze calculation, and firing. As students advance through the program they experiment with different conceptual frameworks including function, design, sculpture, mixed-media, installation, and performance. 

Studio Art (Ceramics) - B.F.A. Advising Guide 2022-23Transitional Advising GuideCeramics - Degree Checklist (Previous)Ceramics - 4-year plan (Previous)

A ceramics course designed for art and non-art majors covering all basic clay and ceramics techniques and their historical background. Some clay geology, clay making, and kiln loading/unloading will be covered within the context of general studio practices and safety. Fulfills Foundations - Arts. 

Credits: 3

Students will learn ceramic-making processes, including hand-building, wheel throwing, slip casting, and other processes not covered in ART 275. Students will strengthen their technical skills by combining a diverse range of ceramic making processes. Students will be encouraged to further research and develop their own areas of interest.

Prerequisite: ART 275.

Credits: 3

Students will learn about clay as applied to visual media arts, based on their individual interests. Students will explore extended ceramics techniques and strengthen their forming methods, surface design, decoration skills, and improve their understanding and practice of high/low-fire glazing, under/overglazing, and firing.

Prerequisite: ART 275.

Credits: 3

Students will develop a portfolio about a concept of interest that supports ideas and/or processes developed in previous Ceramics courses. Students will conduct research and identify conceptually important influences and artists. The body of work and its underlying concept should have cultural/social relevance and a strong personal voice.

Prerequisite: ART 275.

Credits: 3

Students will learn about the origins and properties of raw materials and clay and glaze calculations, and different firing processes. This course introduces ceramic materials such as clay bodies/glazes at various temperatures. Students will recognize, analyze, and compare basic clay bodies and glaze components in raw and fired forms.

Prerequisite: ART 275.

Credits: 3

For studio artists and designers about to enter graduate school or professional design studios. Includes a required three-day field trip to Chicago, information concerning resume preparation, exhibitions, interviewing, portfolios, design agencies, galleries, museums, and analysis of the professional literature through written assignments. Students will learn how the professional art world works.

Prerequisites: Art major and senior standing.

Credits: 3

Students will work one-on-one with a faculty advisor within their personal studio to develop a major body of work. Students will craft a self-driven/self-explorative project. Students may begin work for their Senior Project if they are ready. This course may be repeated for studio elective credit.

Prerequisites: ART 376, ART 377, and ART 378.

Credits: 3

Students must work closely with their emphasis area mentor to complete a body of studio work over the course of a full semester, culminating in their BFA thesis exhibition. Students must seek the counsel of their mentor throughout the creation, curation, and installation of work for this exhibition. 

Credits: 3


Hoon Lee

Hoon Lee
Associate Professor
Area Coordinator

Students' Work

“"Overall, the skills I developed from GVSU helped me become a better artist and thinker. I started my own gallery and clay studio in Illinois and Iowa. I taught ceramics for 5 1/2 years at Everett Community College. I still make art regularly and market it."”



The ceramics area includes ample classroom studios for group and individual projects. The facilities provide a complete array of resources for students including clay production, wheel work, glaze preparation, as well as gas, electric, and wood-fire kilns. Students earning a BFA in the ceramics emphasis are given individual studios while in the program.

Ceramics Facilities

Alumni Outcomes

Graduates of the Studio Art – Ceramics program possess knowledge, experience, and unique skills that are highly desirable and transferable, enabling them to seek employment in career fields both within and outside of the fine arts. Art degrees can lead to future work opportunities in a gallery, non-profit cultural organization, or museum.

Ceramics Emphasis Graduates Work As...

  • Freelance artist/ entrepreneur
  • Ceramist
  • Gallery owner/assistant/ director/ curator
  • Exhibition planner/ coordinator
  • Community-based artist
  • Ceramics Studio Technician

Where GVSU Alumni Have Worked / Been Accepted to Graduate Degrees...

  • Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL
  • Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Arthur E. Canty Elementary School, Chicago, IL
  • University of Montana, Missoula
  • The Clay Studio of Missoula, MT
  • Professional Studio CMS Ceramics, Seattle, WA

Professional Networking

Ceramics emphasis students are encouraged to pursue professional connections from the start in the program, engaging in exhibition work, on-campus employment, among other options.

Clay Club Video

Contemporary Ceramics Association

Contemporary Ceramics Association provides students of all majors a chance to experience and interact with clay as a material. Members gain access to clay, tools, potter's wheel, and glaze material, all included in an annual fee.

Contemporary Ceramics Association Facebook Group

GVSU Career Center

The Career Center offers a wide variety of events to help you successfully land after graduating from GVSU! 

Career Center Website


Interested in visiting VMA? Schedule your student lead tour today! 

Tours are available during open VMA Office hours:
Monday -Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
(Closed on Public Holidays)
VMA Main Office: (616) 331-3486
[email protected]

Request Information/Visit

For questions about the Ceramics area, please contact:

Hoon Lee
Ceramics Coordinator
1402 Calder Arts Center
(616) 331-3102
[email protected]


Page last modified March 9, 2023