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The University of Montana prides itself on its Ceramics program, offering beginning through graduate instruction in all areas of ceramics studies from traditional construction and firing,to contemporary ceramic forms and conceptual works. Individual expression and experimentation are stressed throughout the curriculum. Traditionally known for its vitality in the ceramic arts, Montana continues to be home to a thriving clay arts community. Our extensive visiting artist program, complemented by nearby ceramic arts organizations such as the Archie Bray Foundation, keeps students in touch with major figures and recent technical advances in the field.

Careers Students Pursue After Finishing in Ceramics

  • Artist
  • Pottery
  • Art administrator
  • Studio Technician
  • Product design


The Ceramics program features 5675square feet of large, open workspace, with dedicated wheel throwing and hand building areas. Adjacent BFA, graduate and visiting artist studios provide a dynamic exchange between students and artists at all levels. In addition clay mixing rooms, outdoor sculpture yard, slip casting area and exhibition space add to our comprehensive facilities.

Our indoor Kiln room feature 11 gas and electric kilns; and our outdoor, covered kiln area features five salt, soda, updraft and an oversized(180 Square foot) downdraft car kiln. At 225 square feet, the large Anagama kiln commences it’s week-long firing every term in the Lubrecht Experimental Forest35 minutes from campus.

Our thriving visiting artist program in ceramics brings four to seven guests per year. Since 2002, some of our visiting artists have included: Gail Nichols, Adrian Arleo, Josh DeWeese, Kathy Butterly, Dennis Parks, Paul Soldner, Karen Swyler, Beth Cavener Stichter, Anne Hirondelle, Ayumi Horie, Jeanne Quinn, Richard Notkin, Rudy Autio, Doug Baldwin, Robert Harrison, Al Tenant, Kevin Snipes, Jack Troy, Judy Fox, Mardis Nenno, Jeremy Hatch, Sadashi Inuzuka, Sarah Jaeger, Doug Jeck, Steve Lee, Eddie Dominguez, Arthur Gonzolez, Matt Wedell and more.

In addition, each year ceramics hosts”Archie Bray Day”. Three current residents from the Archie Bray Foundation give a day long workshop demonstrating their techniques and creative process, culminating in visiting artist lectures.

There are ample opportunities for become involved in the thriving ceramics community at UM.

  • UMECA (University of Montana Emerging Ceramic Artist) is an active student-run organization which sponsors exhibitions and sales event to benefit scholarships, and send many students to workshops, conferences and residencies nationally.
  • Exhibitions combining University of Montana and Montana State University faculty and student occur at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena Montana.
  • Special artist residency opportunities are available UM students at the Clay Studio of Missoula, the Red Lodge Clay Center, and at the Medalta Ceramics Center in Medicine Hat, Albert Canada.

The ceramics area accepts 1-3 post baccalaureate students. Studio Residents sign up for a modest amount of class credits, sitting in on advanced courses and critiques; in addition, they are required to perform 8 hours of service to the studio a week. To apply, email 10 images of work, two references with contact information, a resume, and cover letter stating what you hope to accomplish during the year and why to Associate Professor Trey Hill

Ceramics Courses

  • ARTZ 131A Ceramics for Non-Majors
  • ARTZ 231A Ceramics I
  • ARTZ 331 Ceramics II
  • ARTZ 331 Ceramics II: Advanced Handbuilding
  • ARTZ 331 Ceramics II: Advanced Throwing
  • ARTZ 331 Ceramics II: Slip Casting
  • ARTZ 331 Ceramics II: Clay and Drawing
  • ARTZ 331 Ceramics II: Ceramic Surfaces
  • ARTZ 331 Ceramics II: Kiln Building
  • ARTZ 331 Ceramics II: Anagama / Atmospheric Firings
  • ARTZ 335 Clay and Glaze
  • ARTZ 430 Advanced Research-Ceramics
  • ARTZ 493 Independent Study

Majors also take…

  • Foundations courses.
  • Art courses across SVMA, such as Painting & Drawing, Printmaking, Photography, Sculpture, or Media Arts.
  • Art History courses.
  • Theory and Criticism courses.
  • University General Education courses.

Majors earn either a B.A. or a B.F.A in Art (concentration in Ceramics). Throughout your studies, we encourage you to take classes across all areas in SVMA.

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