Ceramics MFA


About the Program

The Ceramics program at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture is a two-year, 60-credit program leading to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree that offers personal mentorship from faculty and visionary visiting artists in state-of-the-art facilities and encourages experimentation with media, interdisciplinary projects and public art to ignite social change.

The Ceramics program fosters mastery of the discipline through access to internationally recognized faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and Philadelphia’s rich clay culture, resulting in work that challenges the medium’s traditional boundaries. The close-knit Ceramics MFA community is connected to the extended Tyler MFA cohort through interdisciplinary mentorship from a faculty of socially conscious artists, technologists, designers and art historians. The Ceramics faculty engage one-on-one with students to develop individual direction and encourage the exchange of ideas—in the studio and across Philadelphia—supported by the resources of Temple, a large public research university.

As members of the region’s preeminent Ceramics program, Tyler MFA students partner with organizations in Philadelphia, a city with an established clay tradition and a thriving contemporary art scene, as well as other major cultural centers nearby, including New York. Philadelphia also offers opportunities for students to join a thriving arts and culture community and work as practicing artists and professionals.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 4 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: Full-time status is required.

Interdisciplinary Study: Through a studio-based approach complemented by art history classes, electives and seminars, students are engaged in emerging topics in the field and the broader art world. Tyler’s rigorous program empowers students to engage deeply and develop a holistic practice with supportive research and interdisciplinary exploration.

Study Abroad: Tyler MFA students may pursue study abroad opportunities at Temple’s Japan Campus and Temple University Rome to expand their studies in a global context.

Accreditation: This degree program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Areas of Specialization: In the Ceramics program, equipment is available for wheel work, mold-making and slip-casting projects, and digital fabrication. Large kilns are available for hand building and sculpture. Students are expected to demonstrate both conceptual and technical excellence in the area, as well as a profound interest in research and experimentation.

Job Prospects: The MFA program prepares graduates for careers as professional artists, craftspersons, designers and educators.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: MFA courses are restricted to matriculated students.

Financing Opportunities: In addition to federal student aid, teaching assistantships and fellowships are available on a competitive basis to support Tyler MFA students.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: January 6

Applications are evaluated together after the deadline date.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members, gallery directors and/or curators familiar with the applicant's academic and artistic competence. The letters should be submitted with the application at https://apply.temple.edu/Tyler/, along with the statement of goals and resume.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: 40 undergraduate studio credits and 12 art history credits are required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree and portfolio in Ceramics are required. Official transcripts from all universities/colleges attended, whether or not a degree was awarded, must be sent to the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Graduate Admissions Office, 2001 N. 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122-6016.

Statement of Goals: In approximately 500 to 1,000 words, share your interest in Tyler's program, your research goals, your future career goals, and your academic and artistic achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:
Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 53

Portfolio: As a Master of Fine Arts applicant, you must submit a portfolio that consists of 20 images representative of the immediate direction of your work. Portfolios are to be uploaded at https://temple.slideroom.com, as instructed at the website. SlideRoom requires an additional fee for this service. Original work, slides, CD-ROMs, catalogs, photographs, books and/or binders are not acceptable substitutes for the SlideRoom portfolio and will not be reviewed or returned.

Resume: Current resume required.

Transfer Credit: Upon approval of the Art Department Chairperson and the Vice Dean, up to 9 credits of graduate work may be transferred into the MFA program as Art History or Studio electives. Only credits received within five years of the transfer request are eligible. No decisions are made concerning transfer credits until students have successfully completed 15 matriculated credits at Tyler. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 9.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 60

Required Courses:

Project and Seminar Courses
ART 8004Critique and Critical Discourse I (2 terms)6
ART 8005Critique and Critical Discourse II (2 terms)6
ART 8101/8102Graduate Projects, Ceramics (4 terms) 112
ART 9991Directed Studio Practice (3 terms)9
Art History Courses 29
Electives 315
Culminating Course
ART 9995Master of Fine Arts Thesis3
Total Credit Hours60

Culminating Events:
Thesis Exhibition:
An approved thesis exhibition, written statement of working philosophy, and slide and/or CD portfolio are required at the final review in order to meet the MFA requirements. The thesis exhibition should be the fruit of the two years' studio research and practice in which the student engaged. The student defends her/his thesis exhibition to the review committee. The committee then evaluates the exhibition as pass with distinction, pass or fail.


Program Web Address:


Department Information:

Tyler School of Art and Architecture

Graduate Admissions Office

2001 N. 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6016



Mailing Address for Official Transcripts:

Tyler School of Art and Architecture

Graduate Admissions Office

2001 N. 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6016

Submission Address for Portfolio:


Submission Address for All Other Application Materials:


Department Contacts:

Ceramics MFA Program Director:

Lauren Sandler



Art Department Chairperson:

Byron Wolfe