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Undergraduate

BA (Hons) Ceramic Design

Four terracotta cat heads
Elena Gomez de Valcarcel - Familia, Elena Gomez de Valcarcel, Familia
College
Central Saint Martins
UCAS code
W270
Start date
September 2024
Course length
Three years full-time or four years full-time with Diploma in Professional Studies

BA Ceramic Design is a unique, specialist design course.

Apply to start in September 2024 

This course has places available. Read our Guide to applying for a course starting this September through UCAS Extra. For a full list of UAL courses open for 2024/25 entry, visit the Courses with places available page.

It will introduce you to the transformational material of clay, exploring contexts of making, craft and manufacture. This course is part of the Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • The subject itself: BA Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martins is one of only two single honours ceramics courses in the country. The design lens through which the course operates offers a unique insight into the subject.
  • Design responsibility: The course has long-recognised the need for responsible design practice. This addresses ethical and sustainable studio practice, meaningful public engagement and the need for ceramics education.
  • Collaboration: Collaboration within the ceramics profession is at the heart of the course. This way of working is enhanced by a number of live opportunities available to students. In the past, they have worked with clients including Boskke, the British Museum, Camden Libraries, Drink Shop & Do, Luna & Curious and Studio Levien.
  • Course team: BA Ceramic Design is delivered by a team of high-profile practitioners and specialist technicians. They are actively involved in professional practice and research and will become part of your individual network.

Open days

There are currently no open days scheduled for this course, please check back at a later date.

Scholarships, bursaries and awards

Course overview

BA Ceramic Design embraces and challenges the versatility of clay as a creative and functional material. On this course, teaching focuses on design through making and haptic engagement with the material. You will apply clay to a diverse range of contexts and design opportunities. We define design as the methodology and strategy through which we teach – a productive enquiry founded in a curiosity for the application of clay in a range of creative or challenging contexts towards a breadth of conceptual responses and a wide range of possible creative applications. These range from the handmade bespoke object to public sculpture, performance, installation and designs for industrial production. Students may define their practice through a range of lenses from designer, maker, craftsperson through to artist. 

On the course, the studio and workshop culture are important. The course team work to foster a vibrant designer-maker-community. You will benefit from excellent workshop facilities as well as the support of specialist technicians. You will learn both traditional hand skills and digital production skills. This includes throwing, modelling, casting, moulding, hand building, decoration, glazing, drawing, printing and firing. As well as hands-on techniques, the course will also provide you with an intellectual framework. You will examine the potential of ceramics to progress into other visual languages, critical discourses and a wide range of professional opportunities.

BA Ceramic Design aims to send its students out into the world as confident and critically aware designers, artists and makers. Teaching is delivered in relation to professional models of practice. Through self-initiated projects, you will question, articulate and present your ideas. The course also has links with a range of practitioners and external organisations. This provides opportunities for collaborative projects. Previously, these have included the British Museum, Busaba Eathai, Ella Doran, Joseph, National Memorial Arboretum, NIO, Marks & Spencer, The Conran Shop, Traidcraft, Vista Alegre and Wedgwood. 

We are committed to developing ethical ceramic design practices. To achieve this, we are working to embed UAL's Principles for Climate, Social and Racial Justice into the course. 

Course units

BA Ceramic Design is designed to help your creative and professional development. You will undertake a series of creative projects which engage with professional communities across the breadth of the subject – from art, through craft and into design. You will develop your own visual language, while also learning transferable skills to suit a variety of work environments.

Students explore their practice through hands-on engagement with skills and processes within the subject of ceramics. Stage 1 focuses on craft and skill; it’s process-rich and built on the acquisition of a multitude of core skills that act as a toolkit for future practice. In Stage 2, you will apply these skills within broader contexts and develop a conceptual framework in which to apply these skills. In Stage 3, you will begin to inhabit a specialist practice and become a confident, critical practitioner. Over time students start to bring other materials into their studio practice or seek opportunities within other disciplines. This reflects a growing self-awareness and confidence in the student designers. 

The course promotes student-centred experiential learning, enabling you to identify and expand on your own strengths, through active reflection and an immersive iterative making process. 

Across the three stages of BA Ceramic Design, studio practice is the main component of the course. Supporting studies include specialist technical teaching; contextual studies; and personal and professional development. These elements provide a critical understanding, so you can explore and develop your work with the ceramic medium.

Stage 1

Unit 1: Capacity to Learn: Introduction to Study in Ceramic Design Contexts
Unit 2: Skilling Up
Unit 3: The Production of Art: Capacity To Do
Unit 4: Ceramics +

Stage 1 focuses on developing an awareness of material. Regardless of prior ceramics knowledge, you will be introduced to a broad spectrum of skills and processes focusing on the making experience and the intrinsic qualities of objects and material. 

Stage 2

Unit 5: The Art of Manufacturing
Unit 6: Agency to Change 
Unit 7: Atelier Me
Unit 8: Creative Unions

In Stage 2, you will undertake a series of workshop-based activities which engage with the subject and its relationship to the wider creative fields. You will be introduced to how to design in response to specific briefs and how to design using a reflective and concept based approach.

Stage 3

Unit 9: Practice in Context 
Unit 10: Making It Real

In Stage 3, you will grow your own intellectual practice, developing your personal agenda and research approach. You will develop a professional persona: the crafts person, designer-maker, artist, or designer for production, supported by a relevant portfolio of work. 

Diploma in Professional Studies

Between Stage 2 and Stage 3 of the course there is an option for you to work with industry for the duration of an academic year (across three terms/two blocks) and complete a Diploma in Professional Studies. Whilst the Diploma is an optional aspect of the course, it is designed as an integrated and assessed part of your journey through the course, if you do take up this option. The Diploma results in a standalone qualification (rated at 120 credits), which involves researching, undertaking and reflecting on a 100 day/20-week (minimum) placement related to your professional interests and aspirations. The Diploma provides a valuable opportunity to make professional contacts and to develop your personal employability skills. In recent years, BA Ceramic Design students have had placements at Maham Anjum, Simon Stevens Design Studio, Studio Levien and Wanted Design Festival.

Mode of Study

BA Ceramic Design runs for 90 weeks in full-time mode. It is divided into three stages over three academic years. Each stage lasts 30 weeks. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study.

Credit and award requirements

The course is credit-rated at 360 credits, with 120 credits at each stage (level).

On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA Hons degree).

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the stages for a BA are: Stage 1 (Level 4), Stage 2 (Level 5) and Stage 3 (Level 6). In order to progress to the next stage, all units of the preceding stage must normally be passed: 120 credits must be achieved in each stage. The classification of the award will be derived from the marks of units in Stages 2 and 3 or only Stage 3, using a dual algorithm.

If you are unable to continue on the course, a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) will normally be offered following the successful completion of Level 4 (or 120 credits), or a Diploma in Higher Education (DipHE) following the successful completion of Level 5 (or 240 credits).

Learning and teaching methods

The learning and teaching methods devised for this course include: 

  • Designing through doing 
  • Studio practice 
  • Applied technology 
  • Skill demonstrations
  • Facilitated workshops 
  • Workshop-based teaching 
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Group and peer to peer learning
  • Professional practice presentations
  • Industry engagement 
  • Interviews 
  • Research practice
  • Creative Futures Blog

Explore work by our recent students on the UAL Showcase

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

Instagram

Course publications

BA Ceramic Design stories

410 Gone

410 Gone


openresty

Facilities

  • An object covered in lilac liquid
    Image courtesy of Central Saint Martins,
  • Students working with clay and ceramic pieces on display inside the Ceramics Workshop at Central Saint Martins
    Image courtesy of Central Saint Martins,
  • A room with people working at computers
    Image courtesy of Central Saint Martins,

Staff

Course Tutor: Ian McIntyre

Associate Lecturer: Sara Christie
Associate Lecturer: Patricia Van Den Akker
Associate Lecturer: Mella Shaw
Associate Lecturer: Mahum Anjum
Associate Lecturer: Kathryn Hearn

Visiting Practitioner: Rachel Long
Visiting Practitioner: Mike Webber
Visiting Practitioner: Barnaby Barford
Visiting Practitioner: Anna Barlow
Visiting Practitioner: Matt Raw
Visiting Practitioner: Richard Miller

Fees and funding

Home fee

£9,250 per year

This fee is correct for entry in autumn 2024 and is subject to change for entry in autumn 2025.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£28,570 per year

This fee is correct for entry in autumn 2024 and is subject to change for entry in autumn 2025.

Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

One or a combination of the following accepted full level 3 qualifications:

  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4) and 1 A Level at Grade C or above
  • 2 A Levels at grade C or above (preferred subjects include Art, Art and Design, or Design and Technology)
  • Merit, Pass, Pass (MPP) at BTEC Extended Diploma (preferred subjects include Art, Art and Design, or Design and Technology)
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferred subjects include Art, Art and Design, or Design and Technology)
  • Equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma (24 points)

And three GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*- C).

Entry to this course will also be determined by assessment of your portfolio. A high proportion of successful applicants complete a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference

OR a combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

IELTS level 6.0 or above, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

We select applicants who can demonstrate current ability and potential 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. 

What we are looking for

We are 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 design practice.

Apply now

Places available 2024/25 

This course has places available for 2024/25 entry. Applications for 2025/26 entry will open in Autumn 2024.

Apply to UAL

Home students can apply to this course through UCAS with the following codes:

University code:

U65

UCAS code:

W270

Start your application

Apply now

Places available 2024/25 

This course has places available for 2024/25 entry. Applications for 2025/26 entry will open in Autumn 2024.

Apply to UAL

International students can apply to this course through UCAS with the following codes:

University code:

U65

UCAS code:

W270

Start your application
or

Apply with a UAL Representative

Based across the world, our local UAL representatives can support you with your application from your home country. Check to see if there is a representative available in your country currently.

Find your representative

How to apply

Follow this step-by-step guide to apply for this course

Step 1: Initial application

You will need to submit an initial application including your personal statement.

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement should be maximum 4,000 characters and cover the following:

  • Why have you chosen this course? What excites you about the subject?
  • How does your previous or current study relate to the course?
  • Have you got any work experience that might help you?
  • Have any life experiences influenced your decision to apply for this course?
  • What skills do you have that make you perfect for this course?
  • What plans and ambitions do you have for your future career?

Visit our personal statement page for more advice.

Step 2: Digital portfolio

We will review your initial application. If you have met the standard entry requirements, we will ask you to submit a digital portfolio.

You’ll need to submit this via PebblePad, our online portfolio tool.

Digital portfolio advice

Your portfolio should consist of recent work that reflects your creative strengths.

It should:

  • be maximum 25 pages
  • include both finished work and works in progress to demonstrate your development processes from initial concept to final outcome
  • demonstrate your ability to experiment with a wide range of techniques and materials
  • show how your research helped to inform and shape your ideas and creative identity
  • include 1 sentence per page to outline the ideas and interests behind your work.

For more support, see our Portfolio advice and PebblePad advice.

Step 3: Interview

You may be invited to an interview following our review of your application. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes.

For top tips, see our Interview advice.

You also need to know

Communicating with you

Once you have submitted your initial application, we will email you with your login details for our Applicant portal.

Requests for supplementary documents like qualifications and English language tests will be made through the applicant portal. You can also use it to ask questions regarding your application. Visit our After you apply page for more information.

Visas and immigration history check

All non-UK nationals must complete an immigration history check. Your application may be considered by our course teams before this check takes place. This means that we may request your portfolio and/or video task before we identify any issues arising from your immigration history check. Sometimes your history may mean that we are not able to continue considering your application. Visit our Immigration and visas advice page for more information.

External student transfer policy

UAL accepts transfers from other institutions on a case-by-case basis. Read our Student transfer policy for more information.

Alternative offers

If your application is really strong, but we believe your strengths and skillset are better suited to a different course, we may make you an alternative offer. This means you will be offered a place on a different course or at a different UAL College.

Deferring your place

You must apply in the year that you intend to start your course. If you are made an offer and your circumstances change, you can submit a deferral request to defer your place by 1 academic year. You must have met your conditions by 31 August 2024. If you need an English language test in order to meet the entry requirements, the test must be valid on the deferred start date of your course. If not, you will need to reapply. Requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contextual Admissions

This course is part of the Contextual Admissions scheme.

This scheme helps us better understand your personal circumstances so that we can assess your application fairly and in context. This ensures that your individual merit and creative potential can shine through, no matter what opportunities and experiences you have received.

Careers

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 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.