Ceramics Graduate Overview

The Ceramics department provides the material, skills, and processes traditional to the medium, but emboldens our students to subvert the ordinary.

Ceramics MFA students experience a wealth of traditional and high-tech approaches to production while engaging in critical reflection about the complexities and malleability of the medium. They create work that ranges from traditional vessels to contemporary installations, performance, mixed media, time arts, or community-based practices. In a field with a strong attachment to traditional and established models, the Ceramics department at SAIC encourages experimentation in order to develop a new language for ceramic art production in the form of objects, designed multiples, collaborations, and installations.

Breadth and Depth of Study

Ceramics faculty teach students to investigate the relationships between idea and realization, tradition and innovation, and art and craft. Unique to SAIC, graduate students may take courses across disciplines and work with graduate advisors in any department to broaden their skills and the content of their work. Additionally, students participate in interdisciplinary critiques with panels composed of faculty and visiting artists from all fields, alternating with disciplinary critiques, allowing a broad context for critical feedback. Ceramics graduate students develop cohesive bodies of work, displaying well-developed content and superior technical skills for their practices.

World-Class Resources

SAIC faculty and students influence and embrace a culture of investigation, exploration, innovation, and conceptual growth and play a vital role in shaping contemporary discourse in the field. The Art Institute of Chicago's collections of ceramics, design, architectural ornamentation, painting, and sculpture provide an outstanding resource for study.

The city itself is rich in ceramics resources, from architectural façades to the extensive holdings of the Field Museum, Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures, and others. The Ceramics department is located in the same building as our museum, whose excellent collections of ceramics, pottery, painting, and sculpture provide an outstanding resource for study.

There is an ever-increasing number of ceramic-based work in galleries and museums throughout the city, making Chicago an ideal setting in which to engage in the in-depth study of a changing discipline within a department committed to interdisciplinary practice and experimental research.

In addition to working with renowned faculty, you have full use of the department's state-of-the art equipment and facilities.

Graduate Projects

The cornerstone of SAIC's graduate studio program is its focus on tutorial-guided studio practice. Each semester in addition to selecting from graduate advisors in the department, you will select from more than 100 graduate faculty advisors at SAIC, representing a myriad of disciplines, approaches, and intellectual positions. Ultimately, it is the student's work that drives the choice of advisor, and both disciplinary and interdisciplinary work is supported and advanced. Faculty from the academic programs in Art History, Arts Administration and Policy, Art Education, and Visual and Critical Studies also serve as graduate advisors, providing yet more expertise in support of SAIC Graduate Projects.

Critique Week

Critique Week, one of the principal means of assessment each semester, is a week-long schedule of critiques during which classes are suspended and the entire faculty and invited visiting artists and designers assemble into panels that conduct intensive studio critiques with all studio and writing graduate students.

Fall semester critiques are organized by department, with panels representing the discipline. They provide you an opportunity to have your work evaluated by the department, look at your work from a disciplinary point of view, and reinforce the expectations for your graduate study.

Spring semester critiques are interdisciplinary, with panel members of faculty, visiting artists, and peers from across SAIC departments. Interdisciplinary critiques in the spring semesters allow for a broader range of responses to the work, and are intended to assess the success of your work for a more general, yet highly informed, audience.

Studio critiques are required of every full-time graduate student pursuing an MFA in Studio or Writing degree. Typically, SAIC graduate students have at least four critique panels throughout their studies at SAIC, augmenting biweekly tutorials with their graduate advisors.

Take the Next Step

MFA in Studio Admissions Information
Curriculum & Courses

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 312.629.6100, 800.232.7242 or gradmiss@saic.edu for information on how to apply.