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Program Overview

The Hood College Master of Arts in Ceramic Arts program offers academic training in the aesthetics, creative processes, science, technology and management of a career in the ceramic arts. Lectures and critiques provide students with an understanding of the history of ceramics and the issues and ideas that underpin contemporary work in all aspects of the medium, as well as a firm grounding in the science of glaze formulation, clay body development and firing theory. The combination of skill building, the practical application of the science and technology of the ceramic arts, art history and personal aesthetic exploration lead to the development of exhibition-quality work.

The program culminates with a comprehensive exam and a capstone exhibition of original ceramic art. With full-time study, the Master of Arts in Ceramic Arts may be completed in two calendar years; part-time study allows up to seven years for completion. Hood College graduate programs are designed for working adults and distance learners. Classes are offered in various formats, including evenings, weekends, four-day, one-week and two-week intensive courses.

Entrance Requirements:

Candidates for the Master of Arts in Ceramic Arts degree must have a baccalaureate degree or equivalent training in the ceramic arts. Students with an undergraduate degree in an area other than ceramics who provide evidence of study, life experience and skill in the ceramic arts may be accepted with permission of the program director.

To be considered for admission to the Master of Arts in Ceramic Arts program, students must meet the admission requirements of the Hood College Graduate School, including a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA and submit:

  • A completed application to the Hood College Graduate School
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with recent work
  • A formal essay of no more than 500 words discussing previous academic and personal experience with clay, current work and professional goals in relation to the Master of Arts in Ceramic Arts 
  • A portfolio submitted as an all-inclusive package on a CD. The portfolio must include
    • 20 images of current work (300 dpi digital images)
    • A corresponding image list stating title of work, medium, size and dates of completion
    • An artist statement about the portfolio work addressing concept, objectives and process 
    • A résumé

Program Requirements

The Master of Arts in Ceramic Arts requires candidates to complete a studio emphasis in ceramic arts with a GPA of 3.0 or greater. 36 credits are required for graduation.

ARTS 501 Glaze Application 1
ARTS 502 East Asian Coil 1
ARTS 504 Ceramic Decoration 3
ARTS 505 Ceramic Wheel: Masters’ Throwing 2
ARTS 508 Ceramic Sculpture 3
ARTS 511 Properties of Clay 1
ARTS 512 Eastern and Western Techniques in Trimming 1
ARTS 521 Properties of Glaze 2
ARTS 525 Electric Kiln 1
ARTS 530 Kiln Technology and Firing Theory 2
ARTS 569 Survival Skills for Visual Artists 1
ARTS 570 Graduate Seminar in Personal Studio Research 3 Comprehensive exam 3
ARTS 506 Ceramic Wheel: Masters’ Throwing II 2
ARTS 507 Plates and Platters 1
ARTS 509 Throwing Large Forms 3
ARTS 510 Brushmaking 1
ARTS 515 Ceramic Arts Throwing Lab 1
ARTS 517 Dynamic and Asymmetrical Wheel 3
ARTS 520 Photographing Ceramics 1
ARTS 531 Wood Firing Theory 2
ARTS 532 Multi-Chambered Kiln Wood Firing 2
ARTS 540 Clay and Glaze Chemistry, Theory and Practice 3
ARTS 542 Modeling the Figure 3
ARTS 545 Composite Sculpture 3
ARTS 547 Creating with Porcelain 3
ARTS 552 Kiln Design and Construction 3
ARTS 571 Arts Management and Marketing 3
ARTS 575 Independent Study 1-6
Visiting Artist Special Topics 1-3
ARTS 543 Visiting Artist Special Topics 3
ARTS 564 Aesthetics and Criticism 3
ART 505 The Youngest Art: The History of Photography 3
ART 540 Art of Prehistory 3
ART 549 Art of Egypt and Mesopotamia 3
ART 550 Art of the Classical World 3
ART 551 Medieval Art 3
ART 552 Northern Renaissance Art 3
ART 553 Early Renaissance Art 3
ART 555 Art of Asia 3
ART 557 High Renaissance and Mannerist Art 3
ART 558 Baroque Art 3
ART 560 Nineteenth Century Art 3
ART 561 Nineteenth Century Art 3


Joyce Michaud, associate professor, is the founding director of the MFA, M.A. and Graduate Certificate in Ceramics Arts programs. She graduated magna cum laude from Lycoming College with a bachelor’s degree in art and education, pursued her graduate degree in ceramics at Columbia Visual Arts College and completed her MFA in ceramics with a specialty in museum studies at The George Washington University. Michaud brings her in-depth research of structural strength concepts in clay to her teaching of advanced throwing skills, sculptural applications of East Asian wedged coil techniques and paper thin and large format sculptural porcelain work. Her work is represented in numerous public and private collections nationally and internationally, including the Wuxi Museum of Art in Yixing, China and the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery.

Philip Berneburg, industrial ceramic engineer and studio potter, earned a master’s degree in geology and clay mineralogy from Harvard University and has been teaching pottery for more than 15 years. He is a past technical editor for Ceramics Monthly Magazine.

Rebecca Bafford, assistant professor and curator at Howard Community College in Columbia, Md., earned an MFA from The George Washington University in arts administration, curatorial research and planning, exhibition development, course design, community initiatives, financial management, fund raising, community relations and program execution. She has served as the executive director of Columbia Art Center for 11 years.

Brad Birkhimer, assistant professor and technical coordinator for the ceramic arts program, earned his BFA from The Ohio State University and his MFA from West Virginia University in ceramics. A studio potter who exhibits his work locally, he also conducts workshops, gives lectures and slide talks and teaches at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Va.

Kevin Crowe, an internationally acclaimed potter, produces wood-fired, functional pottery in a three-chambered hybrid kiln at Tye River Pottery. He has taught courses and workshops on wood kiln construction, firing, throwing large-scale work and teaware throughout the nation.

Ann Hobart earned her MAT from Wesleyan University. A professional potter with more than 30 years of experience making and teaching pottery, she has taught at the Delaplaine Visual and Arts Education Center in Frederick and is the Founder of the Potters’ Guild of Frederick.

Anthonio Tobias Mendez has been creating figure sculpture for more than 20 years, producing monuments and memorials and other public art works around the country. A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he has created more than two dozen public art projects.

Catherine White earned an MFA in ceramics at Antioch University in Maryland and, as an assistant professor there, taught ceramic wheel, hand-building and drawing. She has served as an adjunct instructor of ceramics at American University and is an adjunct instructor a Corcoran College of Art + Design, both in Washington, D.C. Catherine is a working potter who fulfills yearly commissions for OMEN, a restaurant in the Soho area of New York City.

Visiting Artists
Hood College regularly brings well-known artists to campus to teach classes and conduct workshops.

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