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Professional Potter Advanced Diploma

10-month advanced diploma

Where: Comox Valley
Starts: To be confirmed
  • Develop advanced-level design skills and production techniques, plus the business education you’ll need to market your work effectively. 
  • Progressively develop design and production skills, while integrating technical knowledge of clays, glazes and firing processes.
  • Learn in our 7,510 square foot, fully equipped Shadolt Studio with an excellent selection of kilns.
  • Complete an internship with a practicing professional potter or apply for residency at Medalta International in Alberta.

Career possibilities: As a graduate, you will possess the advanced skills, industry knowledge and business expertise to become a practicing professional potter with your own studio or workshop-based business.


Why Choose North Island College?

  • Applied learning, advanced techniques. Develop advanced-level design skills and production techniques, along with the business education you’ll need to market your work effectively.
  • Fully equipped facilities. Learn in our 7,510 square foot, fully equipped Shadbolt Studio with an excellent range of electric and gas-fired kilns. Gain access to a Tozan-style Anagama wood-fired kiln, one of only three in existence in North America.
  • Master potters, qualified instructors. Your instructors are internationally known, practicing professional potters who have extensive knowledge and expertise to share.
  • Watch our NIC ceramics video.
    Get an exclusive tour, meet instructors, learn more.

Program Highlights

The ten-month Professional Potter advanced diploma is designed to give you the skills to establish your own studio or workshop-based business and make a living as a practicing professional potter. The program allows you to progressively develop your design and production skills, while integrating the technical knowledge of clays, glazes and firing processes. You will also learn how to analyze and evaluate your design and production choices in order to optimize productivity, produce work of quality and character and develop a marketing plan for the work.

During the first term, you will be immersed in studio practice. A series of short, intensive courses allow you to progressively master fundamental to advanced elements. Courses include Throwing for Production, Design and Practice, Clay Technology, Surface Enrichment techniques, Kilns and Firing technology, Mold Making and Hand-building Techniques for Production. In the first term, you will focus on technical skills, best practices, and will define your production preferences and business direction.

In the second term, you will continue to develop your design and technical skills throughout the creative process and you will begin  producing work aimed for the market and portfolio development. Business courses provide you with a detailed range of business skills specific to planning, maintaining, and marketing a pottery business. You will learn market research, developing a business plan, legal issues, bookkeeping and accounting procedures and marketing strategy applicable to your pottery business. A digital media course will give you enough digital photography and computer skills to develop, manage and maintain your own website.

In FIN-348 Kilns and Firing technology IV, a highlight of the second term, you will spend three days on Denman Island, BC, firing a Tozan-style Anagama wood-fired kiln, one of only three in existence in North America.

Before completing the program, you will complete a mandatory two-month practicum with two options:

  1. An approved internship with a practicing professional potter, which will be structured as either volunteer or paid and give you invaluable experience.
  2. Or, apply for a two-month residency at the Medalta International Residency Program in Medicine Hat, Alberta. If you choose this option, you will have the opportunity to begin developing your work and testing out markets. Residency fees apply.

Admission Requirements

  1. A portfolio of recent work (minimum of 10 pieces).
  2. A two year Diploma in Art & Design with a ceramics component, or a BFA with a ceramics major who can demonstrate significant pottery skills, or permission of the program coordinator.
  3. A 300-word statement of expectations.
Transfer Options (in and out of program): Although the aim of this program is to graduate students who will enter the work place or go on to establish a workshop based business, efforts will be made to establish transfer options with other educational institutions.

Upgrade with us to meet prerequisites

Upgrade your English, math and science courses for entry into the program of your choice. Succeed with the help of NIC’s supportive instructors. Courses are flexible and start several times a year so you can learn at your own pace. We offer daytime and evening options. Learn more

International Language Requirements

For international language requirements click here.

Program Requirements

First Term:

  • FIN-330 Throwing for Production, Design and Practice I
  • FIN-335 Clay Technology I
  • FIN-340 Surface Enrichment techniques I
  • FIN-345 Kilns and Firing technology I
  • FIN-331 Throwing for Production, Design and Practice II
  • FIN-336 Clay Technology II
  • FIN-341 Surface Enrichment techniques II
  • FIN-346 Kiln and Firing technology II
  • FIN-350 Mold Making
  • FIN-355 Hand-building Techniques for Production I rs
  • FIN-337 Clay Technology III
  • FIN-342 Surface Enrichment techniques III
  • FIN-333 Advanced Throwing, large forms

Second Term:

  • FIN-332 Throwing for Production, Design and Practice III
  • FIN-360 Documentation and Digital Media
  • FIN-366 Glaze sciences I
  • FIN-347 Kilns and Firing technology III
  • FIN-356 Hand-building for Production II
  • FIN-362 Business Practices for the Potter
  • FIN-363 Marketing for the Potter
  • FIN-367 Glaze sciences II
  • FIN-348 Kilns and Firing technology IV
  • FIN-370 Portfolio Development
  • FIN-368 Glaze Sciences III
  • FIN-364 Professional Practices

Third Term:

  • FIN-371 Professional Pottery Work Experience Practicum OR FIN-372 Pottery Residency at Medalta

Note: Total 984 hours to complete the Program.  After two terms of courses at North Island College the student will have six months to complete the 240 hours internship with a professional potter (the potter to be approved by NIC) or 240 hours in the Medalta International Residency program.

Completion Requirements

For successful completion of the program, students must achieve a minimum of 70% in all courses and pass FIN 371 or 372.

Tuition & Costs Estimate for
Fall 2016, Winter, Spring & Summer 2017

Costs indicated are estimates for a 100% course load per year, unless otherwise noted. Additional fees may also include necessary equipment, supplies or field trips not included in these estimates.

While we do our best to share accurate and timely fee information, changes may occur. For more information, visit tuition page.

Domestic Fees

Year 1
Tuition $9,750
NISU Fees $120
Lab Fees $325
Books $1,500
Learner Resource $135
Total $11,830

International Fees

Year 1
Tuition $15,600
NISU Fees $120
Lab Fees $325
Books $1,500
Learner Resource $135
Total $17,680
Additional Costs for International Students include the $100 Application fee and the $280 Accommodation Placement fee (optional).

Learn from the industry's best

Alan Burgess
Master Potter, Program Coordinator

Alan is a core member of “Fired Up!” Contemporary works in clay, now in their 30th year. He has shown his work across Canada the USA and Europe. He is a self-employed potter in North Wales and later in Comox, BC, where has taught ceramics and sculpture in North Island College's Fine Arts department for more than three decades. 

Gordon Hutchens
Master Potter, Tozan Anagama Specialist 

Gordon operates his studio and rare Tozan Anagama kiln on Denman Island while instructing and exhibiting across Canada, the United States, and Japan. His work appears in many permanent collections including the Bronfman family’s “Claridge Collection” and the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Tony Clennell
Internationally Recognized Potter, Pottery Making Blog 2013 Finalist

Tony is a second generation potter with 34 years of experience as a self-employed functional potter. He has a bachelor's degree in business management and a second bachelor's degree in education as well as an MFA in ceramics. Tony is a Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts member and author of 55 published ceramics articles. When not in studio, he teaches and conducts workshops internationally.

Russell Hackney
Master Mould Maker

Russell in Vancouver whose portfolio includes a figurative clock presented to Her Majesty the Queen. He specializes in embossed work, handcarving original models to make moulds for casting porcelain.

Cathi Jefferson
Sculputure Specialist

Cathi creates salt-fired stoneware at her studio and gallery in the Cowichan Valley. Her highly sought after pieces are inspired by the river and landscape near her Vancouver Island home. Cathi teaches clay at the University of Victoria, and has also taught at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and the Kootenay School of Art as well as workshops and conferences throughout North America, the UK, and Korea.


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