Contemporary ceramics represents the extension and synthesis of clay sculpture and vessel traditions. Students are acquainted with the technology of ceramic materials and firing processes while developing sound craftsmanship as a means to personal expression. Enrichment is provided through the ceramics collection of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum, numerous ceramics exhibitions, and visiting guest artists. Juniors and seniors in the program may compete for one of the Ellen Stoddard Eccles Scholarships, an endowed scholarship fund set aside especially for undergraduate ceramics majors.
The Ceramics Emphasis Requirement Sheet contains specific information of courses required for graduation. This information sheet is also available from the Department of Art and Design office in the Fine Arts Visual building, room 122 (FAV 122).
The program at USU is a small but active one. MFA graduation requirements include 60 semester credits of study; most students find that this requires three years. Enrollments average around six students, with two new students joining the program every year. Admission is highly competitive; applicant/admission ratio is usually 10:1 or higher.
In addition to the criteria set forth in the general graduate admissions guidelines for all applicants to the MFA program, students with significant life experience outside the academic environment will find themselves at an advantage in the application process.
Students are encouraged to visit USU before making application. John Neely and Dan Murphy share the primary responsibility for the ceramics area and are assisted by Todd Hayes (MFA, Wichita State University).
Ceramics occupies an area of approximately 15,000 square feet, plus a covered outdoor kiln area that currently houses seven kilns, a mix of salt, soda, wood kilns and pizza oven. Graduate students, as well as junior and senior majors, are assigned individual studio spaces and share access to a broad variety of studio equipment including seven gas kilns of various sizes, even more electric kilns, a variety of wheels, slab roller, clay mixers, de-airing pug mill, ball mills, impact mill, jaw crusher, blungers, casting facilities, chainsaws, log splitter, spray booths, sand blaster, washing machine, and stereo microwaves.
The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, adjacent to the Department of Art and Design, is actively involved in both collecting and exhibiting ceramics. The permanent collection includes over 1200 pieces, of which approximately ten percent is on view at a given time.