High stress gradients occur at metal-to-ceramic joints due to the different thermal and mechanical properties of the materials. In some cases, the magnitude of the highly localized stresses lead to failure thus compromising the structural integrity of such joints. The study of notched ceramic bars with high stress gradients can assist with the prediction of failure of metal ceramic joints. Experiments and fracture mechanics analysis were performed on notched and un-notched POCO E.D.M 3 graphite and AS800 Silicon Nitride bars with different notch parameters. The twoparameter, multi-axial Weibull statistics method and a brittle fracture criterion based on the average stress over an area approach were used to predict the failure of the bars and the results obtained were compared with experimental results. The brittle failure criterion appears to give much better correlation with experimental results than the multi-axial Weibull statistics approach. The findings also appear to highlight the limitations of the Weibull’s statistics method in cases involving very high stress gradients.