BA (Hons) Ceramic Design

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

Miche Follano, 2012
Miche Follano

Miche Follano

5 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

Course Location

King's Cross, London. Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 7023

Study LevelUndergraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length3 years full time
Home/EU Fee

£9,000 per year (2016/17).

Please note that fees are subject to inflationary increase.

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

International Fee

£17,230 per year (2016/17)

Please note that fees are subject to inflationary increase.

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Start DateMonday 25 September 2017
Autumn Term DatesMonday 25 September - Friday 8 December 2017
Spring Term DatesMonday 8 January – Friday 16 March 2018
Summer Term DatesMonday 16 April - Friday 22 June 2018
Application Route


Application DeadlineApplications for 2017/18 entry will close on 15 January 2017.
UCAS CodeW270
University CodeU65

Content and structure

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.

BA Ceramic Design is part of the Product, Ceramic and Industrial  Design programme. 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).

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the Levels for a BA are: Level 4 (which is stage 1 of the course), Level 5 (Stage 2) and Level 6 (Stage 3).

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 4, or a Diploma in Higher Education following the successful completion of Level 5.

To gain a BA (Honours), students must successfully complete 360 credits. The final award consists of marks from Level 6 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 2 and all of Stage 3.

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.


Course Leader: Anthony Quinn

Stage 1 Leader: Professor Rob Kesseler
Stage 2 Leader: Anthony Quinn
Applied Technology Tutor: Duncan Hooson
Contextual Studies: Alex Fraser
Contextual Studies: Dr Elizabeth Wright 


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.

Entry requirements

This degree course requires portfolio evidence. Entry to BA Ceramic Design is highly competitive.

Selection is determined by the quality of the application, indicated primarily in your portfolio of work 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 detailed below:

  • Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
  • A pass in 1 GCE A level
  • Passes at GCSE level in 3 other subjects (grade C or above)

This educational level may be demonstrated by possession of equivalent qualifications; e.g. International Baccalaureat or High School Diploma.

Applicants may also be considered for portfolio review exceptionally 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.

In such cases candidates would be expected to present a portfolio of equivalent standard to a one-year Foundation course in Art and Design and have achieved, or expect to achieve:

  • Passes in 2 GCE A Levels (80 UCAS tariff points normally including one single award)
  • Passes at GCSE level in 3 other subjects (grade C or above)

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 standard English language requirement for entry is IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one paper, or equivalent. 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 Border Agency (UKBA) requirements.

International applicants can download the International Application For Admission PDF below:

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.

Student selection criteria

We select 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 or 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 a recently learned technical skill
  • Demonstrate an awareness of planning and time management skills

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 individual and 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 both set and personal project briefs
  • Show willingness to collaborate
  • Show initiative
  • Reflect your knowledge of this course

Portfolio and interview advice

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 and maquettes. 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.

Both through your work and in talking to you at interview 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.


2017/18 entry

Home / EU applicants

Apply to BA Ceramic Design through the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). From the UCAS home page go to 'Apply', where you’ll be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your application form.

The University UCAS code is UAL. The University code is U65. The course code is W270 BA/Cdes.

International applicants

If you are from outside the European Union You have three options to apply for undergraduate courses.

  • Apply through UCAS
  • Apply directly to Central Saint Martins.‌ Choose this option if you are only applying to undergraduate courses at UAL. (Application form below)
  • Apply through one of our overseas representatives

Visit the undergraduate application page for full details of these options.

If applying direct to Central Saint Martins, please complete the form below and sent it along with copies of supporting documents (such as previous qualifications / references) by mail to: International Office, Central Saint Martins, The Granary Building, Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA, UK.

International Undergraduate application form [PDF, 185 KB]

Study Abroad

For information on applying to Study Abroad please visit the Study Abroad section.

We're here to help

Our website includes all the information you need to successfully apply. However, if you still have unanswered questions about the admissions process, please fill out our course enquiry form.

The University has a dedicated team to help prepare you for your studies. For help on visa requirements, housing, tuition fees and language requirements visit the University's International section.

The Language Centre offers international students quality language training from qualified and experienced teachers. The Pre-sessional Academic English Programme is available to all international (non-EU) students who have been offered a place on a full time course at the University of the Arts. For further information visit the Language Centre website.

We also offer a number of short courses that enable students to improve their portfolios and English skills before applying to their chosen course. For further information visit our Short Course section.

Deferred entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

What happens next?

Home/EU applicants

All application forms, personal statements and references are read and considered by the course team against the selection criteria listed under What We Look For. Depending on the quality of your application, you may then be invited to submit a portfolio.

When you attend with your full portfolio, your application may be successful, you may be invited to interview in order to clarify any aspect of your application or your work, which is not evident from the material submitted, or you may be rejected.

Selection is conducted by two members of staff and offers of places are made on the basis of the selection criteria. Notes are kept in relation to decisions made following the interview process.

Please note that if you are unable to attend the portfolio review the College may not be able to re-schedule.

International applicants

When you have submitted your application you will be asked to upload a portfolio containing a number of images of your work for consideration.

Your portfolio should contain up to 30 images of artwork. Include images from sketchbooks, rough work and finished pieces. Show us the development of your ideas and your research and arrange the images so that the admissions tutors can easily follow how you developed your ideas from initial research through to the finished piece.

Receiving results of your application

If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS track.

If you made a direct application, the result will be emailed or sent by post.

If you applied through one of our overseas representatives, they will tell you the result of your application.

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. Find out more about the News UK client project. 

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.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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