Pottery Classes in New York with School Overviews

Aug 01, 2019

Research pottery programs in New York, which currently has ten schools offering programs. Read an overview of programs, tuition info and program options for these schools and decide which program is right for you.

Essential Information

A few schools in New York offer pottery classes through continuing education; however, most colleges and universities offer ceramic classes as part of art departments' programs. Students may choose from programs leading to bachelor's or master's programs and a couple of institutions offer minors in art that allow for pottery and ceramics classes. Applicants to graduate programs should hold a bachelor's degree and provide a portfolio of work in their medium of choice; some programs are highly competitive. Baccalaureate programs often facilitate students to develop just such a portfolio. Exhibition opportunities are not uncommon in art and ceramics programs.

The following list of ten schools outlines various ceramic programs offered by each institution. The table at the end gives a quick view of the schools, programs and tuition.

Alfred University

Alfred University is located in Alfred, and offers BFA and MFA programs in ceramics. BFA students take courses in kiln building and raw materials (properties and origins of glazes and clays). The studio space includes numerous outdoor and indoor kilns and separate areas for plaster mold work, hand building and throwing. Final year students in the BFA program in ceramics in are given personal studio spaces and work with their own advisers. The university also offers a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Ceramics that was ranked first in 2012 by U.S. News and World Report. Entry into the master's program is extremely competitive. Finally, a Bachelor of Science in Ceramic Engineering focuses on the study of ceramics from an engineering point of view. Students majoring in ceramics or ceramic engineering at Alfred State may be eligible for scholarships from associations like the Association of Glass and Pottery Manufacturers.

The College at Brockport, State University of New York

This Brockport university offers a BFA program in studio art in which students can create functional pottery and large sculptures in ceramics. There are three indoor kilns and one raku kiln, and students have their own workspaces. Studio art students may be eligible for various scholarships. All studio art students complete foundation courses and concentration area courses, along with one course in each studio area. In order to be admitted to the BFA program, students must present a portfolio, which can be built by taking foundational studio art courses through the BA or BS program in studio art.

New York University

The Art Department of New York University in New York City offers several art degree programs in which students can work in ceramics. Students have access to exhibition spaces, classrooms, studios, labs and shops. Undergraduate students complete internships in their third and fourth years. Enrollment in the MFA program is limited to 20 students. Students in the MFA program are eligible for scholarships, which are awarded competitively in both the first and second years of study. There is also a Master of Arts (MA) program is a summer program that takes place over three summers.

Pratt Institute

The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn offers the largest ceramics program in New York City. In addition to taking fine art foundation courses and liberal arts, students in the BFA program learn about wheel-throwing, hand-building, 3D printing and computer-assisted technology used in ceramics. Ceramic majors have their own studios, which can accommodate large projects and allow students to produce their works in quantity. In the senior year, students work independently on thesis projects, which are displayed in the campus gallery.

Rochester Institute of Technology

The BFA program in ceramics at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester focuses on education and practical training. Students learn to teach, manage galleries, maintain equipment and operate a ceramics studio business. The MFA program in ceramics covers topics related to aesthetics, ceramic sculpture, utilitarian pottery and mixed media. Students are required to complete a thesis involving formal exhibition and written documentation.

A residency program is available through the School for American Crafts. This program may be of interest to individuals who are looking for studio experience before starting their graduate or undergraduate studies. Applicants must submit references, transcripts and portfolios.

State University of New York at New Paltz

Situated in New Paltz, this university's ceramics facilities (totaling 10,000 square feet) are industry-current and open from 7 am to 11 pm. Undergraduates majoring in ceramics receive their own storage and workspaces, which are available from 7 am to 2 pm. They must share kiln, mold forming, glaze and clay mixing rooms with other students. MFA students have their own studios. Undergraduate students may participate in workshops and lectures at other adjacent institutions. They may also get opportunities to complete studio assistantships, apprenticeships and/or internships.

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University in Stony Brook offers a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and an MFA in Studio Art - Ceramics. Undergraduate students are provided with a solid background in criticism and art history emphasizing modernism. They also study sculpture, painting, design and drawing, along with ceramics.

The MFA program is three years long and is limited to only 20 students. Students have their own studios. They must spend at least two semesters observing and teaching an undergraduate course. There are also a few paid teaching assistantships that come with partial tuition waivers, and students may apply for academic fellowships. Graduate students must show their works (either in group or solo shows) on a regular basis.

Stony Brook also has a 'Craft Center' with courses open to the community, including faculty members and students. Individuals can buy a ceramics membership, which allows them access to the ceramics studio without taking classes. Courses offered include potter's wheel and clay hand-building.

SUNY Fredonia

Students enrolled in the BFA in Ceramics program at SUNY Fredonia in Fredonia develop their abilities in using the potter's wheel and their techniques in hand-building. Students may use a wood, electric or natural gas kiln. Admission to the program requires a portfolio. Ceramic students may be eligible for various awards and scholarships.

SUNY Plattsburgh

SUNY Plattsburgh in Plattsburgh offers a BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in ceramics, as well as a BA in Art - Studio Art. The BFA program prepares students for professional careers while the BA program allows students to major in a second discipline. In order to apply to the BFA program, students must have portfolios. If an applicant does not have a portfolio, he or she may enroll in the BA program to put together a portfolio before applying to the BFA program.

The BFA program seeks to provide students with a solid art background and studio experiences. Students concentrate on one area, such as ceramics, in-depth. The ceramics facilities at Plattsburgh have kiln and glaze rooms in addition to a large studio area. There are three electric and two gas kilns. Other equipment includes extruding equipment, a slab roller and potter's wheels.

Syracuse University

Syracuse University, located in Syracuse, offers BFA and MFA programs in ceramics. The ceramics facilities at Syracuse cover 12,500 square feet and house private studios for graduate students. The facilities also include materials and clay making rooms along with a wet glaze lab, throwing studio, computer room, sculpture studio and indoor and outdoor kilns. BFA students take foundation, studio concentration, studio elective and art history courses. They explore tile mosaics, sculptures, pottery and other areas. They also have the opportunity to study abroad. MFA students take major studio, studio elective and art history courses, along with a graduate seminar. They must also give final presentations.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Pottery Classes Offered Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Alfred University 4-year, private not-for-profit; remote town BFA in Ceramics,
BS in Ceramic Engineering,
MFA in Ceramics
$29,188 (undergraduate)
$37,045 (graduate)*
The College at Brockport, State University of New York 4-year, public; fringe rural Studio Art Minor,
BFA in Studio Art
$8,412 in-state; $18,192 out-of-state*
New York University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Studio Art Minor,
BFA in Studio Art,
BFA Studio Art/M.A. Art Education,
MFA in Studio Art,
M.A. in Studio Art
$51,828 (undergraduate)
$45,426 (graduate)*
Pratt Institute 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city BFA in Ceramics $51,870*
Rochester Institute of Technology 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb BFA in Ceramics,
MFA in Ceramics
$42,345 (undergraduate)
$45,808 (graduate)*
State University of New York at New Paltz 4-year, public; fringe town BFA in Ceramics,
MFA in Ceramics
$8,254 in-state; $18,034 out-of-state (undergraduate)
$12,474 in-state; $24,034 out-of-state (graduate)*
Stony Brook University 4-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art,
MFA in Studio Art
$9,625 in-state; $27,295 out-of-state (undergraduate)
$13,007 in-state; $24,567 out-of-state (graduate)*
SUNY Fredonia 4-year, public; distant town BFA in Ceramics $8,488 in-state; $18,268 out-of-state*
SUNY Plattsburgh 4-year, public; distant town BFA in Studio Art,
BA in Art - Studio Art
$8,369 in-state; $18,149 out-of-state
Syracuse University 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city BFA in Ceramics,
MFA in Ceramics
$51,853 (undergraduate)
$38,708 (graduate)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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