At SFAI, sculpture is conceived as a process through which artists probe diverse questions in three-dimensional, and sometimes four-dimensional, form.

Working in ceramics, wood, metal, plaster, textiles, and new materials, students merge the conceptual with the material not only in objects, but also in installation, site-specific works, environmental public artworks, and social practices. Students are also encouraged to integrate video, sound, and electronics into their work, and to work with found objects.

The Sculpture curriculum introduces students to various materials used to produce three-dimensional forms, while also emphasizing drawing skills, and a knowledge of the historical context for contemporary sculpture practice. Coursework emphasizes three areas—3D Materials and Practices, Kinetics, and Environments and Systems.  

Past Courses

  • Ceramics I: Fabrication
  • 3D Strategies I: Beginning Sculpture
  • Cross-Media Ceramics Projects
  • Electronics and Activating Objects
  • Nomadic Structures
  • Useful/Useless Objects
  • Active Wearable Objects
  • Kinetic Sculpture: Inflatable/Light Workshop
  • The Unexpected Site

Virtual Tour of Sculpture Studios


Sculpture and Ceramics facilities are organized into shops and labs of common material, process, or emphasis. The fully equipped work areas include ceramics, with multiple electric kilns and two large gas kilns, large slab roller, glaze laboratory, extruders, and a clay mixer; wood shop, with table saw, two bandsaws, drill presses, sanders, mitersaw, table router, and panel saw; and metal shop with CNC plasma cutter, MIG welders, TIG welder, cold forming equipment and milling equipment. The tool room also carries a wide section of hand and power tools. There is a walk-in spray booth, electronics lab, sewing mezzanine, plaster and flexible mold area, an installation gallery, and mixed classroom fabrication spaces. Through adjacent departments, students have access to a wide range of alternative media including video, photography, film, and digital technology.


See a sample four-year academic plan in the BFA in Sculpture program to help you decide what courses to take when.

Summary of Required Credits

Liberal Arts Requirements (Examples: Global Social Movements, Un/Natural Ideologies, Concepts of Creativity, Mathematics: A Visual History, Extinction)33
Studio & General Elective Requirements 72
Art History Requirements15

Sculpture Major, Elective + Exhibition Requirements

Beginning Sculpture3
Beginning Ceramics3
Design-Based Drawing3
Ceramics or Sculpture Seminar/Lab3
3D Material/Practice Distribution3
Kinetics Distribution3
Systems & Environment Distribution3
Advanced Sculpture6
Sculpture Elective (Ex: Three-Dimensional Collage, Nomadic Structures) 6
Contemporary Practice3
Electives in any Studio Discipline (Ex: Expressionistic Drawing, Introduction to Robotics, Soundscape 5.1)24
General Electives (Ex: Sacred and Profane II, Letterpress for Artists) 9
Senior Seminar3
BFA Exhibition0

Art History Requirements

Topics and Foundations in Global Visual Culture3
Topics and Foundations in Contemporary Art3
History of the Major3
Art History Elective3
Art History Elective3


María Elena González (Sculpture/Ceramics Department Chair)

See the full list of current faculty.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Students gain in-depth knowledge and articulation of the historical, theoretical, and philosophical foundations of sculptural and ceramic practice and the relationship of their work to those concepts.
  • Demonstration of how their ideas, motivations, and concepts are relevant in the language and issues of their time.
  • Students demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the creation of relevant and critical problems in sculpture and/or ceramics and use of innovative methodologies for engaging and resolution of those problems.
  • Students demonstrate an ability to work within an interdisciplinary context with the material, conceptual, theoretical tools necessary for an effective engagement with the contemporary art world, in particular sculpture and/or ceramics.
  • Students demonstrate a reflective and informed self-criticality for themselves and their work, a comprehensive and working knowledge of the visual, material, conceptual, contextual, and spatial languages of art and in particular, sculpture and/or ceramics.
  • Students exhibit willingness to benefit from critical analysis of their and their peers’ work, and identification of strengths, weakness, and challenges in work presented for critique.
  • Students demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the use of a wide range of technical information, processes, tools, and materials in the direct and conceptual accomplishment of work.
  • Students demonstrate a well-developed artistic practice culminating in a coherent body or bodies of work, portfolio and articulation of artistic position directed towards further engagement with advanced educational and professional opportunities.
  • Students acquire self-motivation and self-direction.
  • Students demonstrate the applicability of a range of depth encounters with all aspects of three dimensional conception and realization to the social, economic, and conceptual mechanisms that configure our world.