• CollegeCSM
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length3 years, or 4 years with Optional Diploma in Professional Studies full time
  • UCAS codeW270

BA (Hons) Ceramic Design

Unique nationally, this course provides a design-led creative experience of ceramics within a broad subject context and brings an ethos of responsible design to the study of markets and manufacture.

This course is part of the Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design Programme.

Great reasons to apply

  • Designing through 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
  • Ceramics as a subject spans a number of differing professional practices. We visit studios, factories and retail opportunities on study visits in the UK and Europe
  • The course has consistently very high responses in the National Student Survey for its supportive learning community and its relevance as a creative career
  • There are many product designers, fashion designers, graphic designers and fine artists in the job market. There are very few Ceramic Designers; this means on graduation you have a different creative story, think differently and other skills which will make you stand out in a crowd
  • Ceramics has a visual language in all cultures and is intrinsic to people’s lives, needs and memories. Design projects with the profession whilst on the course help appreciate the currency of culture and its extraordinary value.

Course Leader, Anthony Quinn talks about the course experience, alongside students Jo Pearl and Ewelina Bartkowska

Amanda Tong
Amanda Tong

Amanda Tong

Alasdair Nelson, BA Ceramic Design, 2013

Alasdair Nelson

Aisha Al Saif, 2013
Aisha Al Saif

Aisha Al Saif

Anna Krengal, 2012
Anna Krengal

Anna Krengal

<b>David Marques, BA Ceramic Design alum</b>

Everybody told me that it was the best place to get a degree in art and design.

David Marques, BA Ceramic Design alum

Course catalogues

Course detail

BA (Honours) Ceramic Design is a specialist design course. We believe that ceramics can engage an individual in the process of design and provides a gateway into its own and other visual languages, critical discourses and an increasing diversity of professional and personal opportunities.

The essential premise of the degree course's philosophy is explored through the understanding and knowledge of the material and technologies and the potential for designing and learning through making, to provide an intellectual as well as 'hands on' currency in creative work for the 21st century.

BA Ceramic Design seeks to explore and challenge the versatility of clay both as a creative and functional medium - a material that is universal and unique, sustainable and enduring, whilst also being both one of the oldest and newest technologies. Its classic characteristics can be developed into an almost infinite range of products and future contexts.

We help you to establish networks, which we believe are fundamental in linking methodology to practice through real world exposure. Positioned at the heart of these is ceramics, with its potential to engage with other subjects and disciplines - making explicit a unique pattern of experience that links education to industry, business, arts, science and technology, reflecting national and international lifestyles.

By definition, these networks create a constantly evolving curriculum, which you can react to and also propose new opportunities, looking to the future of the subject from a position of 'anything might be possible' including:

  • The mass produced, the multiple and the bespoke
  • The manufactured and the crafted
  • The illustrative, the ornamental, the decorative
  • The social, the cultural, the iconic, even the ironic
  • The sculptural, modelled and monumental
  • The technological and the experimental
  • The architectural, installation and the environmental
  • The responsible, ethical and sustainable
  • The high tech and the low tech.

BA Ceramic Design runs for 90 weeks full time over three years, and is divided into three Levels (or Stages), each lasting 30 weeks. The whole degree course is credit-rated at 360 credits, with 120 credits at each level (stage).

The Diploma in Professional Studies provides you with the optional opportunity to secure an industrial placement (or series of placements) related to product design to be carried out over 20 weeks in an additional year between stage two and three. The DPS is an additional award credited at 120 credits.

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the Levels for a BA are: level four (which is stage one of the course), level five (stage two) and level six (stage three).

There's a progression point at the end of each level and, in order to progress, all units of the preceding Level must normally have been passed.

If you're unable to continue on the course a Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) will normally be offered following the successful completion of level four, or a Diploma in Higher Education following the successful completion of level five.

To gain a BA (Honours), students must successfully complete 360 credits. The final award consists of marks from level six units only, weighted according to their credits.

Course outline

During the three stages of the degree course you will have staff-led projects at the beginning leading to self-determined and individually negotiated programmes of work towards the end of stage two and all of Stage three.

You'll use practical and CAD production skills such as modelling, casting, moulding, throwing, handbuilding, decorating, glazing, drawing, printing and firing and translating these explorations into creative work.

You'll learn by experiencing a range of design outlooks. BA Ceramic Design focuses in particular on three complementary approaches, through which your creative practice and learning style can usually be identified and from which projects are constructed.

Design by practice, introduced in stage one, focuses on the making experience and the intrinsic qualities of objects and materials.

Design by project explores design within distinct parameters. Introduced in Stage Two, the process is often linear with specific outcomes and points of delivery.

Design by concept, introduced in stage three, takes a more fluid approach. Highly reflective and research based, it focuses on building a framework for design thinking.

Towards the end of Stage two and throughout Stage three you'll draw on these methodologies in your self-initiated projects. These descriptions are not exclusive - they often overlap, and the way you negotiate them helps you develop your own design process while being able to use other approaches in differing professional contexts. Stage three is the most integrated of all the stages, mirroring as far as possible the challenges you might expect to meet in professional practice.

Areas of study - BA Ceramic Design has closely interrelated areas of study, delivered through project work, lectures, seminars, group tutorials and assignments. Areas of study are:

Ceramic design studies comprises studio practice, which is the main vehicle you will use to articulate your creative ambitions. applied technology, contextual studies and personal and professional development are embedded into studio practice and provide a critical framework for understanding, exploring and developing your personal and professional expression of design through the ceramic material (and where appropriate through other materials).

Applied technology provides specialist teaching, technical instruction and access to technical resources in order to explore craft, manufacture and production, and so underpins the Studio Practice element including health and safety awareness. Applied technology also embraces the study of clay, glazes and computer-aided design, e.g. Photoshop, Rhino and Illustrator. These introductory sessions will be largely timetabled in stage one and two, but it is expected that you will investigate and build on these areas as continuing development of your ceramic design practice.

Contextual studies is embedded into all units of the course. Additionally, there are discrete elements in stages one and two, and a dissertation in stage three. Contextual studies explores precedent and circumstances, methodologies and histories, theories of production and consumption, criticism and communication, purpose, potential and audience. Through 'contextual studies' you'll learn to reflect on your understanding of research, development and practice and to the kind of analysis, evaluation and synthesis that help you to identify your critical position or attitude.

Personal and professional development gives you the skills and knowledge you need to be an active member of a learning community, to become a self-sufficient learner, and to be able to enter the professional world and manage your subsequent career development.

Bigger picture unit brings together students from across the school to work in mixed groups. The unit promotes critical thinking through the presentation of ideas, debate and discussion, and requires you to consider your subject in a wider context and to position your practice within the ‘ bigger picture’ of cultural production and meaning making.

BA Ceramic Design Programme Specification 2018/19 (PDF, 160KB)

Industry collaborations

Working with paying clients on live briefs will give you valuable commercial experience which may mean your work being taken forward for production or, if so desired, in the purchase of your intellectual property. All paid projects are conducted within a carefully developed legal framework, which includes student agreements to protect your work and help you realise its commercial value. 

Recent client projects in the Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design programme include: Nespresso, Roche Bobois, John Lewis, Canal and River Trust, Action Dog.

Once you’ve graduated, you may be picked as part of a small team to work on a live creative brief, organised by our Business and Innovation department, under the supervision of an experienced tutor. This can be a valuable first step in working professionally in a chosen discipline and has resulted in graduates being hired by clients.

Facilities

Staff

Course Leader: Anthony Quinn
Stage One Leader: Duncan Hooson
Stage Two Leader: Emma Lacey
Applied Technology Tutor: Helen Walsh, Anna Barlow
Contextual Studies: Alex Fraser
Contextual Studies: Dr Elizabeth Wright

Associate Lecturers:
Matt Raw
Barnaby Barford
Kathryn Hearn
Clare Twomey
Sue Pryke
Patricia Van den Acker

How to apply

When to apply

The UCAS deadline for all applications (Home, EU and International) is 15 January 2018.

Please note that not all courses are able to consider late applications. Applicants may only change their course choice within 14 days of submitting an application. Any changes made to your application after 15 January 2018 will result in the application being marked as late.

Applying and how your application is considered

You will need to apply through the UCAS online application system.

Go to ‘Apply’ from the UCAS homepage, where you will be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your online application form. Central Saint Martins (CSM) courses are listed under University of the Arts London.

  • University code: U65
  • Course code: W270
  • There is no 'campus code' for CSM
  • This course does not accept Year 3 Entry.

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to attend a full portfolio review or submit a full portfolio digitally. 

Full portfolio review

  • If you currently live in the UK, you will be invited to attend a full portfolio review at college, normally taking place between February and March.
    • If you are unable to attend the full portfolio review in person, you will be asked to submit a FULL digital portfolio (up to 30 pages) through UAL’s online portfolio review system.
    • Please note that we do not accept portfolios by post.

Your work should demonstrate creative development, whether for a college project or in your personal work. By creative development, we mean:

  • Ideas that have originated in your own experience and research and progressed towards potential visualisation.
  • Ideas, visual research and experimentation are more important than finished design solutions and can be shown in 2D work, or through 3D objects.
  • It’s important that the creative work you include reflects and demonstrates your thinking, initiative and personal commitment to a particular project, theme or idea.

We are interested in you as an individual. Our focus is on your personal interests, your creativity and your initiative in finding out about your proposed area of study. We’d like to know about your favourite designers and artists, where you’ve seen their work at first hand, and how you’ve gathered more information about the work that interests you. 

Please remember:

  • The quality of the work is more important than the quantity.
  • Where possible, large or 3-dimensional work should be photographed and scanned
  • Please organise your work by project, with supporting work presented alongside final outcomes.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through UCAS track and UAL Applicant Portal.

Deferred entry

Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry. 

When to apply

The UCAS deadline for all applications (Home, EU and International) is the 15 January 2018.

Applicants may only change their course choice within 14 days of submitting an application. Any changes made to your application after 15 January 2018 will result in the application being marked as late. 

Please note that some courses will continue accepting late applications after the above deadline, subject to spaces available on the course. We recommend you apply by the end of March at the very latest to avoid disappointment.

Applying and how your application is considered

There are three ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at CSM:

Go to ‘Apply’ from the UCAS homepage, where you will be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your online application form. Central Saint Martins (CSM) courses are listed under University of the Arts London.

  • University code: U65
  • Course code: W270
  • There is no 'campus code' for CSM.
  • This course does not accept Year 3 Entry. 

Please note that you can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UCAS, UAL Representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate application will be withdrawn.

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

Immigration History Check (for International Applications only)

Whether you are applying online via UCAS or through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check.

Please note: If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

What happens next

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit a mini portfolio through UAL's online portfolio review system. 

Mini portfolio

The mini portfolio should be no more than 10 pages comprising of your best work showing your skills and thinking. It should include:

  • The work that you feel is strong, that represents a range of your skills and that is relevant to the course you have applied to. 
  • Please include some development work as well as finished pieces.
  • You can create the pages in any layout or have multiple images per page but do not 'overload' each page.
  • You can also include short captions to explain your work.
  • Prepare your pages in any software, then save as bmp/gif/jpg/jpeg/png images and upload through the PebblePad system.

Following a review on your mini portfolio, you will either be invited for a full portfolio review or your application will be rejected via UCAS Track or UAL Applicant Portal.

Full portfolio review

  • If you currently live in the UK, you will be invited to attend a full portfolio review at college, normally taking place between February and March.
  • If you currently live outside the UK or unable to attend the full portfolio review in person, you will be asked to submit a FULL digital portfolio (up to 30 pages) through UAL’s online portfolio review system.
  • Please note that we do not accept portfolios by post

Your work should demonstrate creative development, whether for a college project or in your personal work. By creative development, we mean:

  • Ideas that have originated in your own experience and research and progressed towards potential visualisation.
  • Ideas, visual research and experimentation are more important than finished design solutions and can be shown in 2D work, or through 3D objects.
  • It’s important that the creative work you include reflects and demonstrates your thinking, initiative and personal commitment to a particular project, theme or idea.

We are interested in you as an individual. Our focus is on your personal interests, your creativity and your initiative in finding out about your proposed area of study. We’d like to know about your favourite designers and artists, where you’ve seen their work at first hand, and how you’ve gathered more information about the work that interests you.

Please remember:

  • The quality of the work is more important than the quantity.
  • Where possible, large or 3-dimensional work should be photographed and scanned
  • Please organise your work by project, with supporting work presented alongside final outcomes.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through UCAS track and UAL Applicant Portal.

Deferred entry

Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry.

Study Abroad applicants

International undergraduate students may apply to join a BA course for a period of up to three terms as a study abroad student.

Please visit the UAL Study Abroad for details of how to apply to one of our courses or contact the UAL Study Abroad Team central offices for more information:

T: +44 (0)20 7514 2249
E: studyabroad@arts.ac.uk
W: UAL Study Abroad

Entry requirements

Selection is determined by the quality of the application, indicated primarily in your portfolio and written statements. A very high proportion of successful applicants complete a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

Applicants are normally expected to have achieved, or be expected to achieve, the course entry requirements details below: 

  • Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
  • 1 GCE A Level
  • 3 GCSEs grade C or above

OR

  • Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • 3 GCSEs grade C or above

OR

  • Other University of Arts London awarded level 3 Pre-University Diploma and Extended Diploma in Art and Design
  • 4 GCSEs grade C or above

OR

  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Lever 3 or 4)
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma pass achieved at 28 points or above 

OR

  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Lever 3 or 4)
  • An equivalent high school qualification from an EU or non-EU institution

 

In exceptional circumstances, applicants without Foundation Diploma qualification may be considered if they present a portfolio of equivalent standard to a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and have:

  • 2 GCE A Levels at Grade C or above
  • 3 GCSEs at grade C or above 

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered if the course team judges the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might be demonstrated by, for example: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement; a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The English language requirement for entry for this course is:

IELTS Academic 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the 4 skills (on one single test)

For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the Visa and Immigration page which provides important information about UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) requirements. 

What we look for

We're not just looking for a passion for ceramic design - we're also seeking people who are open to new ideas, informed risk taking and challenge, and who are willing to get involved in the different disciplines and activities of ceramic deign practice.

Selection criteria

We select degree applicants according to your potential and current ability to: 

Work imaginatively and creatively in 2D and 3D visual Media:

  • Engage with experimentation and invention
  • Show imagination and ambition in proposals for your work
  • Take informed risks

Demonstrate a range of skills and technical abilities:

  • Through your portfolio, demonstrate a range of approaches to design development, originated from personal experience of visual research and progressed through logical stages to a finished design solution
  • Evidence handling a material or medium (ideally clay) with sensitivity to its qualities
  • Demonstrate engagement and improvement in recently learned technical skill

Provide evidence of intellectual enquiry within your work:

  • Evidence an ability to evaluate your achievements critically

Demonstrate cultural awareness and/or contextual framework of your work:

  • Evidence an interest in contemporary art and design
  • Identify social and/or cultural influences on your work

Articulate and communicate intentions clearly:

  • Discuss your work in group situations
  • Present your work appropriately and effectively

Demonstrate commitment and motivation in relation to the subject and the course:

  • Develop your own ideas and address project briefs
  • Show willingness to collaborate
  • Show initiative 

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250 (2018/19). TBC

Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2018/19 academic year, subject to changes in the law. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our Undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.

International fee

£19,350 (2018/19).

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

BA Ceramic Design graduates take their knowledge of materiality into an ever increasing range of careers from ceramic practice, design practice and art practice, critical writing, commercial and broader design and cultural trend-spotting and also working with both bespoke, batch and volume production.

At present these are exemplified by BA Ceramic Design alumni such as Kathleen Hills, Ian Stallard of Fredrikson Stallard, Tamsin Van Essen, Jason & Lucy Boatswain of Diffuse, Annabel Johnson and Petr Weigl.

This designer/producer approach offers BA Ceramic Design design graduates a rich model of practice that creates autonomy and opportunity. The model is upheld by showcase marketing initiatives such as 100% Design, Designer's Block and Hidden Art, where our graduates consistently flourish.

Developing your skills

BA Ceramic Design has excellent links with a range of external affiliates in London and beyond that underpin the curriculum, including individuals and companies. It has a history of successful collaborative projects, including Thorsten van Elten, Marks & Spencers, Conran Shop, Vista Alegre Portugal, Few & Far, Wedgwood, Armourcoat, Stanton Williams, Joseph Joseph, Emel Magazine, Traidcraft, Ella Doran and the British Museum.

External projects in recent years have included;

Open competition across all years:

  • Across four European colleges:  Cersaie architectural ceramics project in association with Italian Tile Manufacturers in Bologna – first prize and two runners up.
  • Surface pattern for porcelain tableware with Viste Alegre, Portuguese manufacturer. Winner gained placement and 10 designs put onto ware.
  • Mug and surface designs with Ethos, volume manufacturer. Four students selected for production receiving royalty payments with cash prizes. Shown at trade fairs and shops such as Urban Outfitters and Argos.
  • Competition for a ‘Christmas Crib’ for St Martins-in-the Fields, Trafalgar Square, London. Two of our third year students designed and installed a sculpture that celebrated the meeting of international travellers and used as a focal point for the Christmas Carols.

Second year client based team projects:

  • As part of your professional development you will have the opportunity to undertake a number of collaborative projects. There are links with a range of household names including Conran Shop,Wedgwood, Ikea and also some key contributors to creative practice within architecture, spatial, product and decorative arts both in terms of unique, batch and volume production.
  • There are also opportunities to work with specific manufacturing sectors including tableware and architectural ceramics.

Third year individually framed projects:

  • Individuals often choose to frame one of their personal projects with outside collaboration. For example, a surface pattern project for pets with Marks and Spencers, a conceptually driven product which enriches contemporary life  informed by ancient cultural understanding with  product design consultancy Doshi Levien and a series of illustrative panels for Southwark Cathedral reflecting life in Borough Market, London.

Recent alumni activity demonstrates the breadth of student activity within the subject.

  • Pacharapong Suntanaphan (Yod)
    Collaboration with textile designer; showed at Designers Block and Design Boom; exhibited ' Art Hand Design'; showed at ICFF, New York and Metropolitan Works; colour and detail designer for Nissan UK.
  • Tamsin van Essen
    Showed at Designers Block, Design Boom and Apothecaries Guild; exhibited 'Art Hand Design', Crafts Council show and in USA; set up studio in Prague.
  • Patrick Morris
    Established a design company in New Zealand that is sourcing production, imminently launching collection; showed at Ambiente 2008; showed at 100% East and Designers Block; winner of Ceramic Industry Forum award at New Designers.
  • Angel Ha
    Designing for Chinese ceramic design company; full time employment German design company; showed at 100% East.
  • Mabel Bibby
    Designer-maker studio, group; teaching in Botswana.
  • Pedro Kalache
    Designer-maker studio with architectural ceramics; school and community based clay projects; commissions for architectural projects.
  • Hannah Padgett
    Architectural ceramics full time for Lambs Terracotta, Brighton; Thailand six-month sustainability placement developing ceramic product with Hill Tribes; working for websites selling design products; showed One Year On, New Designers; showed at Tendence Frankfurt; MA course on Design and Sustainability at Kingston University.
  • Matilda Moreton
    Designer-maker studio; teaching summer courses at CSM; two significant commissions for hospital panel installations; continuing practice.
  • Simeon Featherstone
    Part-time ceramics technician CSM; part-time MA Creative Practice for Narrative Environments; showed at Tendence Frankfurt.
  • Maham Chesti
    MA Design at CSM; freelance designer, also teaching in Pakistan and UK; PhD Royal College of Art.

Developing your skills

Recent external and competition projects have included: Cersaie architectural ceramics project across four European colleges in association with Italian tile manufacturer in Bologna - first prize and two runners-up. Surface pattern for porcelain tableware with Viste Alegre, Portuguese manufacturer - winner gained placement and ten designs put onto ware. Mug and surface designs with Ethos, volume manufacturer - four students selected for production receiving royalty payments with cash prizes, shown at trade fairs and shops including Urban Outfitters and Argos. Competition for a 'Christmas Crib' for St Martins-in-the-Fields, London - two third-year students designed and installed a sculpture celebrating the meeting of international travellers that was used as a focal point for Christmas carols.

Second-year client-based team projects

As part of your professional development you'll undertake a number of collaborative projects. The course has links with a range of household names including Conran Shop, Habitat, Wedgwood and Ikea. We also have links with key contributors to creative practice in architecture, spatial, product and decorative arts within unique, batch and volume production. There are also opportunities to work with specific manufacturing sectors including tableware and architectural ceramics.

Third-year individually framed projects

Students often choose to 'frame' their personal projects using outside collaboration. Examples include a surface pattern project for pets with M&S, a conceptually driven product that enriches contemporary life using ancient cultural understanding with product design consultancy Doshi Levien, and a series of illustrative panels depicting live in Borough Market for Southwark cathedral, London.

Alumni profiles

  • Sarah Christie

    Sarah Christie graduated from BA Ceramic Design in 2016. She is interested in giving voice through ceramics. She utlises clay’s place in everyday life with a political charge to engage audiences.

  • Robin Levien

    Robin Levien is a successful product designer whose porcelain tableware for Rosenthal Thomas has been a top seller for over 25 years. He now runs Studio Levien.

  • Amanda Tong

    Amanda first experienced ceramics when she was 14, and through studying has developed a real understanding of clay