Cardiff School of Art & Design>Courses>Ceramics - BA (Hons) Degree

Ceramics - BA (Hons) Degree

Entry Year

Feel the world through your hands and engage with the transformative power of materials.

Clay has a visual and material language crossing all cultures. It is intrinsic to people’s lives, needs and memories. A ceramist is skilled in working with this most versatile of materials. They feel the world through their hands and engage with the transformative power of materials.

The BA (Hons) Ceramics degree at Cardiff Met gives you the skills to contribute to this expanding field. You will explore an anthropological approach to making, socio-geographic mapping of materials and practices, and the social capacity of skills by working with local initiatives, such as galleries, marketplaces, collections, and as part of our ‘global studio’. You will examine creative strategies to identify your own tendencies and patterns in idea development, studying glaze and material technology to turn those ideas into form. You will learn about provenance and alchemy, from traditional processes through to new technologies​.

You will be equipped with the skills to respond to both conceptual and commercial contexts, to appreciate the breadth of the field from function to figurative, from installation to technological innovation. ​With opportunities to work real-world contexts on live briefs, creative competitions and interdisciplinary projects, you will be encouraged to identify and build your own independent practice and work towards your future career.

Course Content

We embody the material of ceramics from the iron in our blood to the calcium in our bones; from the bricks making up our homes, to the cup from which we drink. It is easy to recognize that clay is the one material that we share with every single person on earth.

The vibrancy of the material has enabled Ceramics at CSAD to continually take risks and rise to creative challenges. This stems from fostering a community of ceramicists operating at undergraduate, postgraduate, and Doctoral levels, who produce a wealth of critically engaged enquiry.

Our dedicated studios will be your home throughout the course. You'll work across a broad range of processes, exploring the full potential of ceramics and gaining advanced skills. You'll learn from a team of practising ceramicists and have opportunities to experience a variety of taught practices – including:

  • Alchemy - Ceramics and Material Science, glaze technology, encompassing geographical and socio-historical debate
  • Throwing – traditional pottery techniques from domestic ware to sculptural composite forms
  • Hand modelling – the human form in clay, from ornamental and sculptural work to fine base relief
  • Mould making – casting in plaster, mixed-media moulds (fabric/combustible), composite moulds, lathe turning
  • Surface pattern - printing techniques – including transfers, screen print and on-glaze
  • Firing – electric, gas, raku, soda, saggar, building external kilns to explore both function and performance
  • Digital fabrication – including learning software and application of 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC modelling

The course is structured to give you valuable insight into the ceramics industry as you plan for your future – whether you want to set up your own studio, extend your studies or join a professional practice. There are opportunities for industry work placements, studying abroad or collaborating on a research project.

In your third year you can complete either a dissertation or business plan, paving the way for your career after you graduate.

Year One

Subject: Beginning - 40 credits
Subject: Individual Project - 20 credits

Begin to examine the power of material language. Your first term introduces you to a diverse range of clay practices – and core skills of throwing and plaster work, multiple hand building and construction processes and different firing methods.

Research Basics - 20 credits*

This module aims to develop students' core academic research skills including locating sources, evaluating credibility, and analysing information. It will provide the foundations from which students will cultivate their confidence to engage in theoretical discourse and idea-driven dialogues which will be required throughout their undergraduate studies.

Interdisciplinary Understanding - 40 credits

This module aims to introduce you to the principles of Interdisciplinary working: collaborative working, critical thinking and reflection. Projects within the module will challenge you to work with another discipline to explore a societal and cultural theme or challenge.

Year Two

Subject: Create - 40 credits

This is your opportunity to experiment with different techniques and approaches as you start to define your practice. You'll explore the diverse options that clay has to offer – and decide on a specialisation. For example, you could focus on domestic tableware, sculpting the human form, surface pattern or environmental, time-based installation.

21st Century Challenges - 40 c​redits

The 21st Century Challenges module builds upon the introduction to Interdisciplinary problem-solving developed at level 4 to continue to refine, and begin to apply, your skillsets through real-world projects and live briefs. Projects will tackle 21st Century Challenges to develop your leadership, collaboration, future literacy/critical thinking skillsets.

Real-World Contexts - 20 credits

The Real-World Contexts module challenges you to apply the situated awareness and future-thinking skills to deploy your own practice in the creation or promotion of value for a variety of external stakeholders and communities.

Research Proposal - 20 credits*

The Research Proposal offers you an opportunity to strengthen your research skills, consolidate your research experience and orientate your level 6 contribution around an enquiry of your choosing that is inspired by your learning across all modules at level 4 and 5. This research proposal will be used to continue your personal and professional development at level 6 where you will identify a route for your own enquiry.

Year Three

Subject: Research & Development - 60 credits

Your final year concentrates on professional practice and career planning as you continue to transform into a ceramicist with a strong skillset and distinctive voice. You'll make plans for your future – whether it's to join a studio, start your own practice, go into teaching, become a museum curator or opt for further study.

Positioning in Practice - 20 credits

The module aims to support your readiness in developing your unique professional career. It will embed attributes reflective of the requirements of real-world practice aligned to your specialist discipline.

You will have the opportunity to reflect upon how your experiences over the last 3 years have allowed you to position yourself as a professional in preparation for graduate level work, continued study, research, and entrepreneurial ventures.

Contribution - 40 credits*

Your practice is underpinned by your knowledge. Demonstrate your research and analysis skills in your final research submission, where you explore ideas in both written and practical forms.​

*modules available through the medium of Welsh

Learning & Teaching

From the outset, you will gain hands-on experience in practical studio sessions and workshops – developing your core ceramic material skills. Lectures, led by members of the academic staff, will broaden your theoretical understanding of your subject, whilst smaller, targeted seminars are designed to provide guidance for meeting more individual intellectual and practical demands.

As a ceramics undergraduate student you would have access dedicated studios and specialist workshops and over time have the opportunity to receive inductions in the safe use of equipment and material resources. As well as subject specific teaching and access to workshops all CSAD undergraduates have the opportunity to engage with teaching and learning within the entire school both through elective teaching modules in the second year as well as bookable workshop inductions.

In addition to the physical working environment you will have access to our dynamic virtual learning environment Moodle through which teaching is disseminate and communicate to student cohorts.

With the diversity and opportunity available to students there is enormous opportunity for individuals to have significant personal autonomy, no two students’ journey is the same.

All academic staff are as passionate about teaching creative practice as they are about their wider contributions to the field of study though their practice as ceramic artists and righting within the subject area.

In addition to the academic staff CSAD have a fantastic team of ceramic specialist staff who work as technical demonstrators with the critical role of supporting students at the interface of their creative ambition and its physical realisation. Support from these specialist staff is available to students from 9am – 9pm Monday to Thursday and 9am – 5pm Friday.

Regular student UK wide study trips are planed annually within the program as well occasional international residential study trips.

Pastoral support is a critical component to supporting students journey through the program and every student will have assigned to them a personal tutor who will assist them in negotiating their studies, supporting them with issues relating to their wellbeing and guidance towards their professional trajectory within the program.


Throughout the duration of your studies, you will be evaluated on three main criteria, which underpin all of the disciplines being taught at CSAD:

SKILLS: The practical, technical and conceptual skills you acquire during your course.

CONTEXT: Your understanding and knowledge of broader intellectual context within which your discipline and work is located. This includes historical, environmental and ethical issues and will often be explored in your 'Theory and Context' modules.

IDEAS: Your understanding of intellectual and creative ideas from within and beyond your discipline; plus your ability to acquire new concepts and form new ideas. Ideas will be explored in your written work, as well as being evident in your practical progress.

Each of these criteria is given equal weighting during the assessment process. That is to say that they are seen as equally important and critical to your development; an emphasis which is designed, for example, to enable a more well-rounded skill set from a student who may be skilled technically, but weak in generating ideas, or a student with much creative flair who may struggle to hone a broad concept into a strong, individual design.

We provide a number of ways for you to track your progress en route to submitting your work for marking. Understanding that the emphases will revolve around the core areas of skills, context and ideas, you will also become familiar with the structured assessment form used by your tutors and learn to relate to your work back to the intended learning outcomes of each brief.

The main types of formative assessment are; academic (feedback from your tutors); peer (from your course-mates or project partners); and self-assessment (which is your own critique, in light of other forms of feedback). You won't just be receiving feedback at the end of a brief, however – your tutors will often assess your progress as your work develops, providing formative feedback at crucial moments where it is hoped to encourage you to take risks, maintain your motivation or shape-up your ideas ahead of deadline.

Employability & Careers​

Whilst your learning is designed to develop you into a rounded and capable artist/designer and intellectual, your curriculum is similarly structured with your potential in mind.

As such, the emphasis that will have been placed upon your work ethic, both creatively and academically, is matched with significant focus on real world experience; from building contacts and undertaking placements to live briefs and, should you choose so, support in forming your own business.

You can elect to take a route through your second and final years of studies where you can engage with businesses or launch your own for the moment you graduate. In your final year, rather than submit a dissertation, you have the option of devising a detailed business plan.

Throughout your time at CSAD, you will be meeting and hearing from professional ceramic artists and designers, honing your skills and ideas for commercial and professional advantage. Cross-disciplinary projects will prepare you for teamwork later on, whilst live briefs will prepare you for deadlines and the demands of tight specifications.

CSAD has an internationally renowned reputation for postgraduate and PhD studies in Ceramics, and on completion of their undergraduate studies students have the opportunity to progress their academic and creative ambition further through these pathways.

Entry Requirements & How to Apply

Typical Offers

  • Tariff points: 96-120
  • Contextual offer: See our contextual offers page.
  • GCSE: Preferably five GCSEs at Grade C / 4 or above to include English Language / Welsh First Language, Mathematics / Mathematics – Numeracy.
  • English Language Requirement: Academic IELTS 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in all elements, or equivalent.
  • A level: Minimum three A levels. No specific subjects required. Welsh Baccalaureate – Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate considered as a third subject.
  • BTEC National / Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma: MMM-DDM
  • T Level: No specific subjects required.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: 24 points. No specific subjects required.
  • Irish Leaving Certificate: No specific subjects required. Higher level subjects only considered with a minimum grade H4.
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: No specific subjects required.
  • Other requirements: Successful interview and portfolio review. Applicants will be required to submit a digital portfolio.

Combinations of the above qualifications are accepted if they meet our minimum requirements. If your qualifications aren’t listed, please contact Admissions or refer to the UCAS Course Search.

Further information on Overseas qualifications can be found here.

If you are a mature applicant, have relevant experience or RPL that you would like us to consider, please contact Admissions.

How to Apply

Further information on how to apply can be found here.

Tuition Fees, Student Finance & Additional Costs

For up to date information on tuition fees and the financial support that may be available whilst at university, please refer to

Undergraduate costs of study in CSAD 


CSAD provides a variety of basic materials. These enable students to develop their competence in a range of skills and demonstrate their technical ability. Materials needed in unusual quantities, or those that are specialised, expensive or unusual are at the student’s expense. Advice will be given about how ‘unusual’ is defined, which materials are deemed to be ‘expensive’, and examples given of what is viewed to be ‘unusual’. CSAD students often elect to spend on materials they prefer to work with, including sketchbooks and pens, as well as specialist equipment of their own choosing. 

In the main, no charges are made for the use of equipment, with the exception of some specialist high end equipment such as the Mimaki and 3D printers. Access to Cardiff FabLab is subject to student membership; it offers reduced fees for student use. 

For further information about additional course costs, including fees, equipment requirements and other charges for each undergraduate programme, please visit

Field trips and visits 

Field trips that are part of core learning will be paid for by the School. Additional visits are occasionally arranged which are optional and where the students may be asked to share the costs. The costs of study abroad, including exchanges, placements and projects are the responsibility of the individual student.

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email

For course specific enquiries, please contact BA (Hons) Ceramics Admissions Tutor, Duncan Ayscough:

Tel: 02920 416343

We endeavour to deliver courses as described and will not normally make changes to courses, such as course title, content, delivery, and teaching provision. However, it may be necessary for the university to make changes in the course provision before or after enrolment. It reserves the right to make variations to content or delivery methods, including discontinuation or merging courses if such action is considered necessary. Please read our Terms and Conditions for the full information.

Key Course Information

UCAS Code:
W232 - 3 year degree

Place of Study: 
Llandaff Campus

Cardiff School of Art & Design

Course Length:
Three years full-time. Four years full-time if undertaking year-long sandwich placement.

Degree Highlights

Senior Lecturer Duncan Ayscough explains what the BA (Hons) Ceramics degree course at Cardiff School of Art & Design has to offer.

Meet the Team: Duncan Ayscough

Senior Lecturer Duncan Ayscough discusses his career as a ceramic artist, and how he shares this wealth of experience with his students on the Ceramics course at Cardiff Met.

Ceramics Workshop Tour

Take a virtual walkthrough of our Ceramics Workshops.

Life After Uni: How I turned my passion for Ceramics into a 6-figure business

Graduate Charlotte shares her insight of studying at Cardiff Met and how she turned her passion for ceramics into a 6-figure business.
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Ethan - Ceramics
3 things I've been thankful for while studying Ceramics at Cardiff Met

Final year student Ethan reflects on his time studying Ceramics at Cardiff Met and shares some of his favourite things about the course.
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Why I chose to study Ceramics in Cardiff as a mature international student

Kai’s passion for ceramics took her to studying in Cardiff, where the interdisciplinary curriculum and workshops are now expanding her skills and making methods.
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Ceramics throwdown challenge

Great Pottery Throwdown guest judge Geoff Swindell set our Ceramics students a challenge - find out what happened.

Hey Clay collaborative project

As part of the Hey Clay Festival, Ceramics students were set the task of representing poems through clay. Find out how they tackled the challenge.

Ceramics skills demonstrations

Ceramics students from Cardiff Met demonstrate a range of ceramic techniques for a group of visiting students from Iceland.

What to Include in Your Portfolio

Student Recruitment Officer and Cardiff School of Art and Design graduate Abbie shares her portfolio tips.