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Art History MA Thesis: Thesis

View examples of in-progress and completed theses from School students and alumni.


Before beginning work on a master’s thesis, the student must receive the Supervisory Committee's approval of a written proposal. The thesis may be an extension of a seminar paper, and it must demonstrate the student's ability to conduct rigorous research, indicate familiarity with bibliographical and reference materials, and show a capacity for the synthesis and critical evaluation of the material under consideration. A complete draft of the thesis approved by the Chair of the Supervisory Committee must be delivered to each member of the committee at least 30 days before the date of the Final Examination.

Supervisory Committees

Students should consult with the Graduate Program Coordinator and the faculty member of the field in which the student wishes to write a thesis to determine the appropriate chair of the Supervisory Committee. In consultation with the committee chair, the student forms a Supervisory Committee consisting of three faculty members, two of whom must be current members of the Art History faculty, including the committee chair. Adjunct or Emeritus faculty may serve on committees if the committee also includes two regular members of the Art History faculty. One or more members of the committee may be selected from a field other than art history if appropriate to the subject. The Supervisory Committee will be available for consultation with the student and will be responsible for final evaluation of the thesis. The Graduate School does not require notification of the membership of this committee. The committee chair shall keep written records concerning any formal agreements or stipulations regarding the student’s program of study and thesis.

Final Examination

The final examination is an oral defense of the candidate's thesis conducted by the Supervisory Committee. The Supervisory Committee must certify the results of the final examination. At the final examination, the graduate student and at least one Art History faculty member from their committee (or a substitute from the Art History faculty, if necessary) should be physically present when any members participate through audio or electronic conferencing.

Degree Application

Students must apply online to the Graduate School for a master’s degree in the quarter in which they expect to graduate; check the Graduate School website for deadlines. The filing of the online application (warrant) is the responsibility solely of the student, who must be registered for the quarter in which the degree is expected. Master's degree applications are valid for one quarter only; if requirements for the degree are not completed during this quarter the student must file a new application. The thesis must be submitted electronically to the Graduate School by the last day of final examinations of the quarter in which degree requirements are completed. Students will need to apply online in MyGrad for their degree updates and forms and to schedule their defense date. The application for graduation must be completed at least three weeks prior to the defense. The Master’s Supervisory Committee Approval Form and the warrant, generated by the online application, need to be submitted with original ink signatures of all committee members; when this is not possible, email approvals are permitted by the Graduate School. For further instructions, see the Graduate School website.