How to Apply
Undergraduate Studies
Graduate Studies

Hard Materials (Ceramics & Glass)

The creative process, and that of ‘making’, is founded on an informed insight into, and understanding of, materials and techniques. As a student in the Department of Applied Material in the School of Fine Art, you continually expand your knowledge through practical studio work, by connecting your practice to contemporary culture and audiences, and through interdisciplinary debate. This department offers two unique pathways to a BA in Applied Materials: Textile, Art & Artefact and Hard Materials (formerly Ceramics & Glass). Materials such as Ceramics & Glass and other hard materials will challenge your relationships with objects, surfaces, transparency, light and space. Embracing diverse creative practices - including design for manufacture, uniquely crafted art objects, and architectural framing of ceramics, glass and silicate-related materials - responding to materials, and an engagement with ‘making’ are fundamental to this programme. We encourage students to have an existing awareness of a broad range of traditional and emerging hard materials processes.

What will I study?

You will develop your personal creative identity, proficiency in design principles and techniques, and learn the theory of contemporary art practices. Practically, you learn through ongoing studio work and a blend of workshops, lectures and tutorials. The study of Ceramics & Glass provides an ideal environment to experiment with new material considerations, and to explore what ‘making’ means.

Year 1

First semester explores interdisciplinary Art and Design research, observation and analysis. In the second semester, all Fine Art students get a working taste of subjects with six weeks of workshops in two pathways selected from: Ceramics & Glass, Media, Painting, Print, Sculpture and Textile Art & Artefact. The balance is spent in the Applied Material Cultures Department, making work with student peers similarly interested in exploring different kinds of approaches, materials and processes, and developing skills in the language of Ceramics & Glass.

Year 2

The focus in the second year is on developing a personal visual language and the skills necessary to translate this into a successful practice. You will also focus on researching and defining a specific audience and developing a market and gallery understanding through professional practice.

Year 3: Studio+ & International

An optional opportunity to gain experience in a range of social and cultural contexts in the world beyond NCAD. Build your skills as an artist while working with an organisation with links to the School of Fine Art. Studio+ can also include a period of study abroad through the Erasmus programme with internationally recognised art faculties partnered with NCAD. Students who choose Studio+ will complete a 4 year BA Fine Art or a 4 year BA Fine Art (International).

Final Year

Develop a programme of study which reflects your individual skills, interests and knowledge base within ceramics and/or glass. This will culminate in a substantial body of work for assessment and display at your degree show, and at exhibitions and events.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment in both studio practice and in Critical Cultures is continuous: at the end of each completed module and each semester (half-year). Formal assessment results are issued at the end of each academic year. Modes of assessment include practical and written assignments, oral and visual presentations, portfolios and exhibitions.

Critical Cultures

Become a critically engaged, reflective and effective practitioner through studying the connections between history, theory and practice in modern and contemporary contexts.
Find out more

Opportunities after graduation

Hard Material graduates discover opportunities at national and international level. Graduates have careers as designers, makers, artists, educators and as creative entrepreneurs. Increasingly, graduates are bridging contemporary art practices, and pursuing further study to refine their creative abilities and approach. Postgraduate opportunities exist at NCAD with MFA and practice-based PhD pathways, as well as nationally and internationally.

Hard Materials (Ceramics & Glass)

BA Applied Materials 

NFQ Level 8

3 or 4 Years


Course code/s:
AD204 Fine Art
AD101 First Year Art & Design (Common Entry)

Entry Requirements:
Leaving Cert: 6 subjects, 2xH5 and 4xO6/H7
Subjects must include Irish, English and one of the following: A 3rd Language or Art or Design Communication Graphics (DCG)

QQI/FETAC: Level 5 or Level 6:
5 Distinctions, Full Award

A Level/GCSE: 2x A Levels at C+ and 4x GCSE Ordinary or AS level
Subjects to include English and Art or a second language

Portfolio Requirement:
Portfolio submission by Friday 10th February 2023 in line with NCAD Portfolio Submission Guidelines. For further details please go to:

Degree awarded:
BA Applied Materials (with Critical Cultures)
BA Applied Materials (International)

Find out more on the Critical Cultures Pathway
Find out more about Studio+