BA (Hons) Contemporary Design Crafts (Ceramics and Glass) with Optional Sandwich Placement/ Study Abroad

About the course


Please note, the course title is changing to BA Design Crafts (Ceramics and Glass)

The Contemporary Design Crafts Ceramics and Glass degree at the University of Hertfordshire involves a practical workshop programme, establishing and refining your understanding of the tactile qualities and properties of materials and how they can be manipulated to express your ideas.

In the First Year you'll learn contemporary approaches to designing and making across a range of two and three-dimensional media in the fields of textiles, jewellery and ceramics and glass. 
Second Year students choose to focus their interests within the ceramics and glass medium and approach, enabling them to reach the high level of refinement necessary for the professional marketplace. We are offering a balance between focused specialist study and experimental mixed media approaches.

The workshops are the focus of the student experience our students are using the latest digital textiles printing, laser cutting and rapid prototyping equipment as well as the traditional equipped workshop to develop their practice. Progressive studio projects also provide an initial framework for individual research and creative interpretation, to establish your unique identity.

This results in the production of a richly diverse range of artifacts - such as tableware, experimental objects, sculptures, architectural pieces, tiles for interiors/ exteriors and conceptual pieces for exhibition or commission. The emphasis is on questioning function and tradition to arrive at fresh, lively alternatives for a sophisticated market.

Contemporary Design Crafts (Ceramics and Glass) Gallery

Why choose this course?

  • Contemporary Design Crafts Ceramics and Glass degree encourages fresh ideas, inventive use of materials and techniques, and awareness of contemporary markets.
  • You establish and refine your interests in the field of ceramics and glass to reach the high level of skills demanded by the professional marketplace.
  • Placements develop a versatile understanding of the workplace, establishing our graduates as contemporaries in a competitive professional market.

Student Testimonials:

"My favourite thing about the course, is the opportunity to explore different materials and disciplines".
Scott W, Ceramics & Glass Student.

Entry requirements...

2017 entry

UCAS are introducing a new tariff for 2017 entry so the points being asked for are substantially different to previous years.

  • 96 UCAS points
  • GCSE Maths and English Language at grade 4 or above (Grade C or above under the old grading structure).  
  • A levels/BTECs to include an art related subject.
  • IB - 96 points from a minimum of 2 HL subjects at H4 or above to include Visual Arts at SL or HL  (with the remaining points to come from a combination of HL, SL and Core).
  • Subject to portfolio interview.
  • All students from non-majority English speaking countries require proof of English language proficiency, equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 6 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band.
  • If you do not have the required IELTS or equivalent for direct entry on to your degree programme, our Pre-sessional English and International Foundation courses can help you to achieve this level.
  • For country specific qualifications, please visit our Your Country page.

Key staff

Ms Antje Illner (Subject Leader)
Her focus is in 3D applied arts, with particular interest between traditional craft skills and new technology methods within production. Her practice includes working as a jewellery designer and design consultant.
Find out more about Ms Antje Illner (Subject Leader)

Professional Accreditations

Ranked 10th in the country in the design and crafts section of the Guardian's 2017 University League Tables.


The degree can potentially lead to a wide range of career opportunities, from small business, to design for manufacture, unique artifacts for exhibition and commission, museums and collectors, running workshops, teaching, curating and retail, journalism and styling, as well as postgraduate study.

Teaching methods

The course combines studio projects and practical workshop based sessions, where ideas and making are integrated. Students have a base studio, where design development, group tutorials, crits and presentations take place. The Critical and Cultural Studies modules combine lectures, workshops, seminars, and tutorials, and encourage a high level of debate and interaction. Students are encouraged to see their learning as an interactive experience, in which they play an active part, so that they emerge as resourceful and independent professionals, committed to pursuing their ambitions beyond graduation. The degree is staffed by practicing professionals, and Visiting Lecturers who regularly contribute specialist expertise.

Work Placement

A period of work experience is a requirement in your second year of study. We encourage our students to think of themselves as versatile practitioners, able to adapt to the ever-changing contemporary market. The focus throughout level 5 is to identify markets for your interests, develop a personal direction with tutorial guidance, and establish external contacts. This requires a resourceful and enterprising attitude, a sense of ambition, and confidence based on self-reliance. The Professional Practice module is the basis for recognising these qualities, as well as preparing students to promote and present themselves professionally through CVs, and portfolio preparation.

Study Abroad

This course offers you the opportunity to study abroad through the University's study abroad programme.
Study abroad opportunities are available worldwide and in Europe under the Erasmus+ Programme.
Find out more about Study abroad opportunities


Year 1

Core Modules

  • Studio Practice B: Thinking Through Making

    This module focuses on the development of imaginative and personal responses to set projects addressing, for example, textiles, jewellery, ceramics and glass. It aims to establish design thinking, extend visual development skills through traditional media and digital technologies, and emphasise the importance of ongoing documentation of working ideas as a basis for personal expression, communication and reflection on progress. The exploration of ideas through making and response to materials continues to be of primary importance. Thematic projects offer a framework for individual creative interpretation and problem solving, allowing for specialist or mixed media methods and outcomes within the scope of the brief. Study time is normally divided equally between studio and workshop activities, to allow for progressive development of ideas through sampling and encourage increasingly independent working within a supervised environment.

  • Studio Practice A: Materials and Form

    The purpose of this module is to provide a diagnostic experience as a basis for further study and to introduce students to a range of contemporary design craft practices. Students establish the creative exploration of materials and processes as part of the design process. The module provides a series of inductions to the disciplines of textiles, jewellery, ceramics and glass, allowing students of disparate prior learning experience the opportunity to establish basic skills and knowledge as a starting point for making informed choices of subject interest in subsequent modules. Studio and workshop based sessions introduce the principals and practices of learning through making and the creative generation of ideas. Two main project blocks provide a framework for the exploration of individual interpretations of set themes, and the creative and inventive use of materials and process skills as a means of expressing ideas. Students are introduced to a range of current and digital technologies as visualisation tools, including varied approaches to drawing, photography, Photoshop and Illustrator.

  • Workshop Skills

    This module provides a range of introductory technical and practical skills workshops across the range of contemporary applied arts subjects offered. It allows all students to acquire basic experience in a range of media, as a basis for making decisions about future specialist study. These might include printed and constructed textiles, jewellery including piercing, filing and soldering, ceramics and glass including coiling, mould making and slip casting. It aims to establish good workshop practices, and some of the techniques and methods involved in manipulating materials. Experimental and unconventional approaches are encouraged, in order to challenge preconceived ideas and constraints, allowing for innovative approaches and combinations. These workshop sessions provide starting points for continued exploration and development within studio projects. All students are expected to keep technical records documenting techniques, methods and procedures as a basis for further development.

  • Working in Collaboration

    This module enables students to work together on an external or live project, linked to a specific professional context. Typically this might take the form of a site-specific proposal, social enterprise venture or commercial opportunity, allowing the students to look at a wide spectrum of creative applications within the field of contemporary design crafts. This will require students to work together, sharing knowledge and skills to resolve a design problem, and will introduce the underlying issues and roles necessary in effective group working.

  • Critical and Cultural Studies L4: Creative Product Design


Year 2

Core Modules

  • Enterprise and Employability

    This module focuses students on identifying and investigating areas of business and professional practice relevant to contemporary design crafts. Through a series of presentations and workshops, students will develop an understanding of professional opportunities, and make contacts within a selected area specialist interest. Students will start to address professional presentation and self-promotion skills appropriate to their chosen career ambitions, and this will help them to understand how to present work to a professional standard. By the end of this module, students will have an informed awareness of a chosen area of professional practice, and will have established the necessary presentation and communication skills to present themselves in an appropriate manner. Alternatively, students may undertake a School work experience instead of this module, subject to agreement with the Programme Tutor.

  • Studio Practice A: Identifying Practice (Ceramics and Glass)

    In this module students establish and develop their specialist interest in ceramics and glass, through taught sessions on design process, trends, and visualisation methods, leading to the interpretation of a themed project brief, and the development of a negotiated project proposal defining their specialist interests. As part of their investigations, students are expected to familiarise themselves with related fields supporting the practice of ceramics and glass, including galleries and exhibitions, material suppliers, and specialist resources linked to the production of jewellery. Students extend their specialist workshop skills and working methods, covering a wide range of traditional and contemporary ceramics and glass techniques and material processes including the use of emergent technologies.

  • Critical and Cultural Studies L5: Creative Product Design

  • Studio Practice B: Personal Direction (Ceramics and Glass)


  • Professional Work Experience 30: Visual Arts

    Students may identify a work experience opportunity or have a work experience suggested to them. Before starting students meet with the Programme Leader or their nominated tutor, to discuss the impending placement. All aspects of the intended experience are addressed from health and safety to client confidentiality and students are given guidance on behaviour and how to manage expectations. Proposals need to identify an outline work programme, the number of days in placement and the main learning outcomes; and are subject to agreement of the Programme Leader.

Year 3

Core Modules


  • Year Abroad

    The Year Abroad will provide students in Creative Arts with the opportunity to expand, develop and apply the knowledge and skills gained in the first two taught years of the degree within a different organisational and cultural environment in a partner academic institution. The host institution will appoint a Programme Co-ordinator who will oversee the student's programme during the Year Abroad and will liaise with the appointed UH Supervisor.

  • Sandwich Year (Creative Arts)

    The optional 'Sandwich' placement year may be undertaken between the levels 5 and 6. Students undertake the placement within a commercial, public or not for profit setting that is able to provide an appropriate learning experience related to the creative and cultural industries. A placement could take a variety of forms, including: * working in an external organisation; * working with a University company or professional team within the University; * self-employment within defined context and externally refereed. The placement duration would typically be sustained for at least 36 weeks (from a maximum of two separate placements, neither of which should normally be less than 12 weeks in duration), though may be sustained for a full year. While the School actively supports the placement process, ultimately it is the placement provider that will agree to manage and select students, normally through an interview process. During the placement a member of the academic staff will be assigned to the student as a tutor and will monitor the student's progress during the placement period.

Year 4

Core Modules

  • Creative Product Design: L6 Degree Essay (C&CS)

    Designers need to be informed practitioners who engage critically with their discipline, its history, the ideas which inform it and how it is likely to evolve in the future. This module will enable students to conduct an in- depth enquiry of an aspect of design culture with an emphasis on the analysis of appropriate social, cultural, economic, technical, historical and aesthetic issues germane to students chosen topic and their studio work. The content of the module will be student-generated in that each student will bring their identified interests to the sessions. Independent learning will be supported through a programme of study workshops, tutorials and learning support materials on StudyNet which will enable students to develop skills in research, organisation and planning, critical analysis, constructing an argument, studentship (independent learning processes) and presentation including academic protocols. The assessed element of this module consists of a 6000 word essay/report or negotiated equivalent.

  • The Design Project

    This module forms the major contribution to the degree study. The module is the student's opportunity to demonstrate the extent of their know ledge and skills and to project their abilities to a professional audience. The results of this self-defined studio project form the basis of the end of year exhibition, accompanied by a professional portfolio that demonstrates their abilities within Product or Industrial Design or Design Crafts in preparation for employment or further study. This module also allows the students to reflect on their process and progress, in the submission of a 2000 report and a 15 minute panel presentation which justifies their decisions.

  • Degree Planning (Ceramics and Glass)

    This module provides students with the opportunity to appraise their prior learning in contemporary design crafts ceramics and glass, confirm the nature of their practice and devise a proposal f or the final project in Semester B. The proposal consists of extended research and progressive practical developments that are resolved in relation to form and concept. The proposal is defined by the student with the approval of their tutor. This self -defined proposal must be appropriately challenging but also realistic within the time and resources available. It should also take into account the professional context or audience for the proposed work. This is likely to build upon previous interests and working methods, but should take these to a deeper and more ambitious level. The assessment presentation must give evidence of the ability to complete the proposed final project to a professional level, supported by a visual and/or oral presentation. Qualifying work experience can be undertaken either during the previous summer vacation (between L5 and L6) with appropriate evidence, including a reflective report, submitted to be accredited within the module; or during term time in place of one assessed component within the module, or alternatively included as part of a larger portfolio of work. It is the responsibility of the student to negotiate the detail of their work placement; further information is available in the programme specification and School’s Accredited Work Experience Handbook.


Fees & funding

Fees 2017

UK/EU Students

Full time: £9,250 for the 2017 academic year

Part time: If you decide to study this course on a part time basis you will be charged £1155 per 15 credits for the 2017 academic year

International Students

Full time: £11,850 for the 2017 academic year

Part time: If you decide to study this course on a part time basis you will be charged £1395 per 15 credits for the 2017 academic year

*Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.

View detailed information about tuition fees

Additional course-related costs

There may be some additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. These costs or charges may be compulsory (ie you have to pay them if you are studying this course) or they may be optional (ie you don’t have to pay them, but they may help you get the most out of your course).

Any such costs or charges will be outlined in the About your course factsheet that can be found on the course Overview page.

Other financial support

Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

Living costs / accommodation

The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

View detailed information about our accommodation

How to apply


Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201720/05/2018Apply online (Full Time)
28/09/201720/05/2018Apply online (Part Time)
28/09/201720/05/2018Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
28/09/201720/05/2018Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)


Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201820/05/2019Apply online (Full Time)
28/09/201820/05/2019Apply online (Part Time)
28/09/201820/05/2019Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
28/09/201820/05/2019Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)