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Guidelines for Writing Art History Research Papers

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Writing a paper for an art history course is similar to the analytical, research-based papers that you may have written in English literature courses or history courses. Although art historical research and writing does include the analysis of written documents, there are distinctive differences between art history writing and other disciplines because the primary documents are works of art. A key reference guide for researching and analyzing works of art and for writing art history papers is the 10th edition (or later) of Sylvan Barnet’s work, A Short Guide to Writing about Art . Barnet directs students through the steps of thinking about a research topic, collecting information, and then writing and documenting a paper.

A website with helpful tips for writing art history papers is posted by the University of North Carolina.

Wesleyan University Writing Center has a useful guide for finding online writing resources.

The following are basic guidelines that you must use when documenting research papers for any art history class at UA Little Rock. Solid, thoughtful research and correct documentation of the sources used in this research (i.e., footnotes/endnotes, bibliography, and illustrations**) are essential. Additionally, these guidelines remind students about plagiarism, a serious academic offense.

Paper Format

Research papers should be in a 12-point font, double-spaced. Ample margins should be left for the instructor’s comments. All margins should be one inch to allow for comments. Number all pages. The cover sheet for the paper should include the following information: title of paper, your name, course title and number, course instructor, and date paper is submitted. A simple presentation of a paper is sufficient. Staple the pages together at the upper left or put them in a simple three-ring folder or binder. Do not put individual pages in plastic sleeves.

Documentation of Resources

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), as described in the most recent edition of Sylvan Barnet’s A Short Guide to Writing about Art is the department standard. Although you may have used MLA style for English papers or other disciplines, the Chicago Style is required for all students taking art history courses at UA Little Rock. There are significant differences between MLA style and Chicago Style. A “Quick Guide” for the Chicago Manual of Style footnote and bibliography format is found http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html. The footnote examples are numbered and the bibliography example is last. Please note that the place of publication and the publisher are enclosed in parentheses in the footnote, but they are not in parentheses in the bibliography. Examples of CMS for some types of note and bibliography references are given below in this Guideline. Arabic numbers are used for footnotes. Some word processing programs may have Roman numerals as a choice, but the standard is Arabic numbers. The use of super script numbers, as given in examples below, is the standard in UA Little Rock art history papers.

The chapter “Manuscript Form” in the Barnet book (10th edition or later) provides models for the correct forms for footnotes/endnotes and the bibliography. For example, the note form for the FIRST REFERENCE to a book with a single author is:

1 Bruce Cole, Italian Art 1250-1550 (New York: New York University Press, 1971), 134.

But the BIBLIOGRAPHIC FORM for that same book is:

Cole, Bruce. Italian Art 1250-1550. New York: New York University Press. 1971.

The FIRST REFERENCE to a journal article (in a periodical that is paginated by volume) with a single author in a footnote is:

2 Anne H. Van Buren, “Madame Cézanne’s Fashions and the Dates of Her Portraits,” Art Quarterly 29 (1966): 199.

The FIRST REFERENCE to a journal article (in a periodical that is paginated by volume) with a single author in the BIBLIOGRAPHY is:

Van Buren, Anne H. “Madame Cézanne’s Fashions and the Dates of Her Portraits.” Art Quarterly 29 (1966): 185-204.

If you reference an article that you found through an electronic database such as JSTOR, you do not include the url for JSTOR or the date accessed in either the footnote or the bibliography. This is because the article is one that was originally printed in a hard-copy journal; what you located through JSTOR is simply a copy of printed pages. Your citation follows the same format for an article in a bound volume that you may have pulled from the library shelves. If, however, you use an article that originally was in an electronic format and is available only on-line, then follow the “non-print” forms listed below.

B. Non-Print

Citations for Internet sources such as online journals or scholarly web sites should follow the form described in Barnet’s chapter, “Writing a Research Paper.” For example, the footnote or endnote reference given by Barnet for a web site is:

3 Nigel Strudwick, Egyptology Resources , with the assistance of The Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge University, 1994, revised 16 June 2008, http://www.newton.ac.uk/egypt/ , 24 July 2008.

If you use microform or microfilm resources, consult the most recent edition of Kate Turabian, A Manual of Term Paper, Theses and Dissertations. A copy of Turabian is available at the reference desk in the main library.

C. Visual Documentation (Illustrations)

Art history papers require visual documentation such as photographs, photocopies, or scanned images of the art works you discuss. In the chapter “Manuscript Form” in A Short Guide to Writing about Art, Barnet explains how to identify illustrations or “figures” in the text of your paper and how to caption the visual material. Each photograph, photocopy, or scanned image should appear on a single sheet of paper unless two images and their captions will fit on a single sheet of paper with one inch margins on all sides. Note also that the title of a work of art is always italicized. Within the text, the reference to the illustration is enclosed in parentheses and placed at the end of the sentence. A period for the sentence comes after the parenthetical reference to the illustration. For UA Little Rcok art history papers, illustrations are placed at the end of the paper, not within the text. Illustration are not supplied as a Powerpoint presentation or as separate .jpgs submitted in an electronic format.

Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream, dated 1893, represents a highly personal, expressive response to an experience the artist had while walking one evening (Figure 1).

The caption that accompanies the illustration at the end of the paper would read:

Figure 1. Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893. Tempera and casein on cardboard, 36 x 29″ (91.3 x 73.7 cm). Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo, Norway.

Plagiarism is a form of thievery and is illegal. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, to plagiarize is to “take and pass off as one’s own the ideas, writings, etc. of another.” Barnet has some useful guidelines for acknowledging sources in his chapter “Manuscript Form;” review them so that you will not be mguilty of theft. Another useful website regarding plagiarism is provided by Cornell University, http://plagiarism.arts.cornell.edu/tutorial/index.cfm

Plagiarism is a serious offense, and students should understand that checking papers for plagiarized content is easy to do with Internet resources. Plagiarism will be reported as academic dishonesty to the Dean of Students; see Section VI of the Student Handbook which cites plagiarism as a specific violation. Take care that you fully and accurately acknowledge the source of another author, whether you are quoting the material verbatim or paraphrasing. Borrowing the idea of another author by merely changing some or even all of your source’s words does not allow you to claim the ideas as your own. You must credit both direct quotes and your paraphrases. Again, Barnet’s chapter “Manuscript Form” sets out clear guidelines for avoiding plagiarism.


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How to Write Your MFA Thesis in Fine Art (And Beyond)

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Ryan Seslow

Public Paper Draft

I enjoy writing and I find the process to be fun. Do you? I know that writing takes regular practice and it’s an essential part of my learning process. Writing helps me “see” and organize my thoughts. This allows me to edit and become clear about what it is I am expressing. Practicing my writing helps me identify mistakes (the endless typos..) as well as further emphasize what I really want to explore and write about. When a topic of interest strikes me the process is effortless. I notice how I feel about the topic and this is a key factor as to how quickly I will get working on as essay, blog post or tutorial. This is something I have identified in myself over time and through repetition. Writing induces and activates new awareness. In my experiences as a college art and design professor, I have taken notice of a few consistent patterns when it comes to more formal writing, especially a final thesis deadline. For some, the thought of generating a final graduate thesis can be a daunting thought in and of itself. Associated with that thought may be an outdated feeling that your body still remembers. This outdated association can be especially frustrating to the point of extreme procrastination. If you are unaware that you are the cause of this feeling then you will continue to perpetuate it. Sound familiar? If you choose to enroll into an MFA program you will be required to write a final thesis. This will be an in depth description of your concepts, process, references, discoveries, reflections and final analysis. The best part of writing a final thesis is that the writer gets to create, format, define and structure the entirety of it. Throw away any pre-conceived and or outdated perceptions of what you think you should do. You must take responsibility for your writing the same way that you discipline yourself in the creation and production of your art work.

Where do you begin?

Your final thesis is an official archival record of what you have completed, explored and accomplished throughout the duration of your MFA program. Not only will your thesis be written for yourself, it will prove and back up your convictions, theories, assessments and statements for other people. It should be known that the content in this tutorial could also be applied to other writing needs that may be similar to the MFA thesis structure. An MA thesis or undergraduate BFA thesis can also easily follow this format. By all means, you can share it and remix it.

A regular writing practice must be established. This means, you will need to create a plan for how and when practice will take place. The calendar on your mobile device or the computer that you use will work just fine to remind you of these appointments. Thirty minutes of practice twice a week can work wonders in the installation of a new habit. Are you up for that? Perhaps there is a way to make this decision seem effortless, keep reading.

You can get started right away. Technology in this area is very accessible and helpful. With the use of a blogging platform such as WordPress one can privately or publicly begin their writing practice and archiving process. Even setting up a basic default blog will do just fine. You can always customize and personalize it later. If a blog does not interest you (but I do hope it does) a word processing document will also do just fine. Either way, choosing to wait until your final semester to get started is a really bad idea and poor planning. Are there exceptions to this statement? Of course, and perhaps you will redefine my outlook, and prove me wrong, but until I experience this from someone, let’s make some longer-term plans.

I taught an MFA and MA thesis course between 2012 – 2019 at LIU Post  in NY (but this format transcends into my CUNY courses as well) that put an emphasis on content and exposure to help students generate their final thesis. The course revolved around several exercises that contributed to the process as a whole. They were broken down into individual isolated parts for deeper focus. Much like your thesis itself, this process is modular, meaning, many parts will come and work together to make up the whole. One of the first exercises that we do with the class is identify a thesis template format. This is the basic structure that I have students brainstorm via a series of questions that I ask them. Keep in mind; you most likely already have a default version of this template. This could be the writing format that you learned in high school and had redefined by a professor in college. You may have been forced to use it or suffer the consequences of a poor grade solely on that formatting restriction. This feeling and program may still be running inside you. So how do we deal with this? Together as a class we discuss and record the answers directly onto a dry erase board (or word document will also do just fine) I ask one of the students to act as the scribe to record the list manually while notes are also individually taken. I later put the information into a re-capped blog post for our class blog. Are you surprised that I use a blog for my class?

The Format-

The format for an MFA thesis in Fine Art (applied arts & digital) will in almost all cases coincide with a final thesis exhibition of completed works.   This formats fits accordingly with the thesis exhibition in mind.   This is a criteria break down of the structure of the paper. It is a simplified guide. Add or remove what you may for your personal needs.

  • Description/Abstract:  Introduction. A detailed description of the concept and body of work that you will be discussing. Be clear and objective, you need not tell your whole life story here. Fragments of your current artist statement may fit in nicely.
  • Process, Materials and Methods:  Here you will discuss the descriptions of your working processes, techniques learned and applied, and the materials used to generate the art that you create. Why have you selected these specific materials and techniques to communicate your ideas? How do these choices effect how the viewer will receive your work? Have you personalized a technique in a new way? How so? Were their limitations and new discoveries?
  • Resources and References:  Historical and cultural referencing, artists, art movements, databases, and any other form of related influence. How has your research influenced your work, ideas, and decision-making process? What contrasts and contradictions have you discovered about your work and ideas? How has regular research and exposure during your program inspired you? Have you made direct and specific connections to an art movement or a series of artists? Explain your discoveries and how you came to those conclusions.
  • Exhibition Simulation:  You will be mounting a final thesis exhibition of your work. How will you be mounting your exhibition? Why have you selected this particular composition? How did the space itself dictate your choices for installation? How will your installation effect or alter the physical space itself? Will you generate a floor plan sketch to accompany the proposed composition? If so, please explain, if not, also explain why? What kind of help will you need to realize the installation? What materials will you be using to install? Do you have special requirements for ladders, technologies and additional help? Explain in detail.
  • Reflection:  What have you learned over the course of your graduate program? How has the program influenced your work and how you communicate as an artist? What were your greatest successes? What areas do you need to work on? What skills will you apply directly into your continued professional practice? Do you plan to teach after you graduate? If so, what philosophies and theories will you apply into your teaching practice? Where do you see your self professionally as an artist in 3-5 years?

Individual Exercises to Practice-

The following exercises below were created to help practice and expand thinking about the thesis format criteria above. It is my intention to help my students actively contribute to their thesis over the course of the semester. The exercises can be personalized and expanded upon for your individual needs. I feel that weekly exercises performed with a class or one on one with a partner will work well. The weekly meetings in person are effective. Why? Having a classroom or person-to-person(s) platform for discussion allows for the energy of the body to expose itself. You (and most likely your audience) will take notice as to how you feel when you are discussing the ideas, feelings and concepts that you have written. Are you upbeat and positively charged? Or are you just “matter of fact” and lifeless in your verbal assertions? Writing and speaking should be engaging. Especially if it is about your work! The goal is to entice your reader and audience to feel your convictions and transcend those feelings directly. Awareness of this is huge. It will help you make not only edits in your writing but also make changes in your speaking and how you feel about what you have written.

  • The Artist Interview – Reach out to a classmate or an artist that you admire. This could also be a professor, faculty member, or fellow classmate. It should be one that you feel also admires or has interest in your work if possible. Make appointments to visit each other in their studios or where ever you are creating current work. This can even be done via video chat if in person visits cannot be made. In advance prepare for each other a series of 15-20 questions that you would like to ask each other. Questions can be about the artist’s concepts, materials, process, resources and references about their works. Questions may be about how they choose to show or sell their work. Personal questions about the artist’s outlook on life, business, and wellbeing may come to mind and may also be considered. Record and exchange each other’s responses in a written format. You will make a copy for yourself to retain. Re-read and study your responses to the questions that the artist asked you. This will be helpful for you to read your spoken words coming from another format of communication. Do you find that you speak the same way that you write? Where do these words fit into the thesis criteria format above?
  • The Artist Statement & Manifesto – Of course this will change and evolve over time but it is a necessary document that you will update each year as you evolve and grow. In one single page generate your artist statement or manifesto. Who are you? What is your work about? What are you communicating with your current work, projects and why? Who is your audience? How is your work affecting your audience, community and culture? Manifestos are usually published and placed into the public so that its creator can live up to its statements. Are you living up to yours? Keeping this public is a good reminder to walk your talk. Where do these words fit into the thesis criteria format above?
  • Reactive Writing – Create a regular online space, document or journal to generate a chronological folio of reactive writing. Visit museums, galleries, lectures and screenings regularly. If you live outside of a city this may require a bit of research, but if you are in NYC this is all too easy. Bring a sketchbook and take notes! For each experience share your impressions, thoughts, feelings and reactions. Describe what you witness. Be objective down to the smallest details that have stayed with you. Reflect and find similarities and contrasts to what you are working on. Use this exercise as a free writing opportunity. Write with out editing or with out any formatting restrains, just express yourself in the immediacy that you feel about your experiences. At the end of each month (or designate a class for this aspect of the exercise) sit down and re-read your passages. Select the reaction(s) that you resonate with the most. Edit and format this selection into a more formal essay paying proper attention to a formatting style, grammar, punctuation and spelling. Where do these words fit into the thesis criteria format above?
  • Tutorials  & How To Guides – Writing tutorials and how-to guides are great ways to practice getting really clear about what you are doing. It helps you cultivate your vocabulary and describe the actions that you are performing with specific detail. It puts you in a position to list your steps, process, materials, and references and explain what the contributing contextual aspects are. Try this with a specific project or with the art that you are currently creating. Are you painter? Explain how you create a painting from start to finish. This includes the very first spark that inspires the idea for the painting, as well as how it will be installed, packaged, transported and exhibited. Details matter. Are you sculptor working in woodcarving? Explain the process from start to finish. Ask a fellow artist if you can sit in on his or her process and record what you experience. This is a really fantastic and fun exercise. It also contributes greatly to creating lesson plans for teaching. (I’m actually obsessed with this exercise a little bit.) Where do these words fit into the thesis criteria format above?
  • Reviews & Critiques – Much like the reactive writing exercise above, generating reviews and critiques will foster great ways to find insight into your own work. With regular practice you will find common threads of thought and subject matter. You will discover similar referencing and contrasts. This can easily be done in two ways. You can visit specific museums, galleries, lectures and screenings to write about that excites you. This already puts a positive charge on the act of writing itself. I also suggest that you contrast this with subject matter and content that also does not agree with you. We want to be able to fully express what we do not like as well. Understanding why helps us become clear in our choices. Understanding this helps strengthen our position on what we do want to write about and what we want our audience to understand. It allows us to explore dichotomies. The second way to further exercises in writing reviews and critiques is to speak about them. Speaking about art in person is a great way to further the clarification of your writing. Where do these words fit into the thesis criteria format above?

Further Experimentation-

The spoken word versus the act of writing? I have come across many students and colleagues who find that they write much differently than they speak. I feel that writing needs to have a consistent flow and feel fluid to keep its reader engaged. Speaking well and articulating oneself clearly is also something that takes practice. I have found that sometimes recording my words and thoughts via a voice transcribing application is helpful to get ideas out and into a more accessible form. A lot of transcribing software is free for most mobile devices. Much like voice recording the powerful enhancement is to see your words take form after you have said them. You can simply copy and paste the text and edit what is valuable.

This essay is also a work in progress. It’s an ongoing draft in a published format that I will continue updating with new content and fresh ways to simplify the exercises.

I appreciate your feedback!

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what is a thesis for art

  • Pamm [missing word] 1. Artist Interview- Do you find that (you) speak the same way that you write? July 15, 2018 at 1:38 pm Reply
  • Ryan Seslow Hi Marilyn! I see you! So weird, this is the first comment that has appeared on the paper. I have gotten several e-mails about past comments but still cant see where those are, lol! :)) September 18, 2018 at 1:05 pm Reply

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Harvard History of Art & Architecture

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Undergraduate Program - Writing a Thesis

  • Created by Marcus Mayo , last modified on Jan 31, 2024

Pursuing a Thesis

Senior Concentrators wishing to graduate with honors in the Department must produce a senior thesis and carry academic standing of Group II or better, with a minimum GPA of 3.00 in concentration grades. In deciding whether one wishes to fulfill the honors requirements, students should consider their academic interests, commitment to independent research, and other deadlines and obligations during the thesis year. Many students find the task of producing a substantial piece of critical scholarship interesting and rewarding, but others find the senior thesis can become a frustrating and unwieldy burden. Some students prefer the freedom to take elective courses or savor extra-curricular pursuits during their last year at the College unhampered by the encroaching demands of thesis preparation. In general, it may be remarked that students are unlikely to do well in the honors program who are not already proven practiced writers committed to the process of scholarship; the senior thesis is not the place to acquire basic skills in writing, design, and/or research. In considering the Department's honors requirements, it should be remembered that students with honors grades overall may graduate with University Honors (Cum Laude) even if they do not receive Honors in History of Art and Architecture.

Department Timeline of Thesis Preparation 

A schedule of departmental dates and deadlines relative to the thesis will be available by the beginning of each Fall Term. The thesis writer and faculty thesis adviser should agree on a working schedule which will adequately conform to these deadlines.

Concentrators undertaking a thesis are required to enroll in HAA 99A (fall) and B (spring) for course credit. Students in the architecture track pursuing a design thesis should enroll in HAA 92r (fall) and 99B (spring). Joint concentrators will enroll in the 99 course of their primary concentration.

Overseen by the Senior Thesis Adviser, HAA 99A –“The Senior Thesis Seminar” – will meet several times during the fall semester for two-hour sessions devoted to facilitating the preparation and writing of a thesis. These sessions will cover such topics as compiling a bibliography, using archives, the use of key technology and software, and constructing and presenting an effective argument. All concentrators pursuing a written thesis project are required to enroll in this seminar. Joint concentrators enrolled in another department’s thesis seminar, and HAA design thesis students enrolled in HAA 92r, are welcome and encouraged to attend some or all sessions of 99A in addition to their primary thesis preparation course.

Late in the fall semester, each concentrator pursuing a thesis will deliver a twenty-minute presentation on the thesis topic, illustrated with digitally projected images, at the Senior Thesis Presentations. All departmental faculty and students will be invited to these presentations. By the end of winter break, each student will submit a complete first draft of the thesis, complete with illustrations.

Overview of Key Dates for Thesis Preparation

These dates apply to all HAA students wishing to pursue an honors thesis. For further criteria specific to students preparing a design thesis in the Architecture Track, see Academic Requirements: Design Thesis in the Architecture Track

Please consult the Senior Thesis Seminar Canvas site, or reach out to the Undergraduate Program Coordinator, for specific dates.

Spring Semester, Junior Year

  • February: Initial Meeting. Junior concentrators are invited to meet with the Senior Thesis Adviser for an introduction to the senior thesis writing process.
  • Early April: Short Proposals Due. Students submit a basic proposal outlining preliminary ideas, along with a list of potential faculty advisers. Faculty advisers are assigned to thesis projects in late April or early May.
  • Late April: Applications due for Pulitzer and Abramson Travel Grants. See Undergraduate Prizes, Grants and Opportunities for details on grants and applications. Information on how to apply will be provided by the Undergraduate Program Coordinator. Grant recipients will be notified by email.

Fall Semester, Senior Year

  • During the semester, students enroll in HAA 99A or 92r and follow course deadlines (Please consult the HAA 99A and 92r Canvas sites for additional details).
  • Students meet regularly with their faculty advisers.
  • Early December: Senior Thesis Presentations. All students pursuing a thesis will give a twenty-minute presentation to department students and faculty followed by discussion.

Spring Semester, Senior Year

  • Late January: First Draft . Before the spring semester begins, students submit a full draft of the thesis, with illustrations, to the faculty adviser for comments.
  • Late February/Early March: Second Draft. Students are encouraged to submit the near-final draft to their faculty adviser for a final review before formal submission to the Department.
  • Week before Spring Break: Final Submission Deadline. Late submissions will not be accepted. On the afternoon of submission, all students are invited to attend the Thesis Reception.
  • Late March: Gallery-Style public reception and presentation of Design Thesis projects. All architecture track students that have prepared a design thesis will present their work informally at this event. All HAA thesis writers, as well as faculty and graduate students, are encouraged to attend.
  • April: Thesis Review and Honors Recommendation . Senior Honors Theses are read and critiqued by Members of the Faculty in HAA (and the GSD and the Harvard Art Museums, where relevant) at the request of the Senior Thesis Adviser. Department Faculty meet to vote on final honors recommendations, after which thesis writers will receive an email from the Senior Thesis Adviser notifying them of their thesis grade and recommendation for honors. Students should speak with their Allston Burr Senior Tutor for the anticipated final honors decision of the College.
  • Mid-April: Senior Thesis Poster. All senior thesis writers are expected to prepare a digital file for a 24 x 36” poster summarizing the thesis to be exhibited in the HAA Department for the following academic year. A suggested template will be provided and a workshop will be held in late March for assistance with poster preparation. The printing and associated costs are taken care of by the Department. Examples of previous posters can be found here (AY21-22) and here (AY22-23) .

Senior Thesis Adviser 

The process of taking honors and producing the thesis in the Department is overseen for all concentrators by the Senior Thesis Adviser, Professor Carrie Lambert-Beatty. The Senior Thesis Adviser leads the Fall Term thesis-writing seminar (HAA 99A) and directs the meetings for departmental approval once theses have been submitted. 

Faculty Thesis Adviser 

When submitting their initial proposal in the spring of the junior year, students should include a list of three possible faculty advisers. The Department will then match students with advisers according to student preference and faculty availability. Faculty thesis advisers should generally be full faculty members of the History of Art and Architecture Department, although Harvard museum curators with relevant expertise may also serve as advisers at the discretion of the Senior Thesis Adviser. Students in the architecture track pursuing a design thesis must also secure a second adviser from the faculty of the Graduate School of Design. Joint concentrators will generally select one faculty adviser from each department.

The adviser ought to serve as a critic of synthesized ideas and writings/designs, rather than as a director of the project. The adviser should be chosen with consideration more to compatibility in overseeing the process of the work than to being an expert in the field. If you have trouble identifying an appropriate adviser, please consult with the Senior Thesis Adviser or Undergraduate Program Coordinator before the spring deadline for the Thesis Proposal.

Graduate students in the Department of History of Art and Architecture do not advise Senior Theses.

Program Director, Harvard Undergraduate Architecture Studies Track

Megan Panzano, Program Director of the Harvard Undergraduate Architecture Studies Track, oversees the execution of the two studio courses “HAA 96A – Architecture Studio I: Transformations” and “HAA 96B – Architecture Studio II: Connections”, as well as the senior design-thesis seminar “HAA 92R – Design Speculations.” She is available to consult for general advice on the design-thesis process and in finding a suitable advisor from the GSD. She coordinates the assignment of readers to senior design-thesis projects in consultation with the Senior Thesis Adviser and Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

Undergraduate Program Coordinator

The Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Marcus Mayo, is available to consult at any point regarding general questions about the senior thesis writing process. In conjunction with the Senior Thesis Adviser, they will coordinate the initial meeting of concentrators interested in writing a thesis in the spring term of their junior year. The Undergraduate Program Coordinator collects and distributes thesis proposals, summer funding proposals, advisor assignments, as well as completed theses, grades and reader comments. They hold examples of the written requirements (thesis proposal and prospectus) and of the Pulitzer and Abramson Grant applications which students might wish to consult as paradigms.

Academic Requirements – Written Thesis

The writing and evaluation of the thesis is a year-long process, during which the writer enrolls in a senior thesis preparation seminar (HAA 99A) and meets at scheduled intervals with their faculty adviser to formulate, develop, and ultimately refine their thesis work.

The Department encourages seniors to think broadly and explore a problem of interest. The thesis topic does not necessarily have to be within the writer's declared major field, except when required for a joint concentration, in which case, the topic must address an issue shared by both concentrations. The thesis should demonstrate an ability to pose a meaningful question, present a well-reasoned and structured argument, and marshal appropriate evidence. The student should apply a clear methodology and be aware of the assumptions behind the argument, the possible deficiencies of the sources and data used, and the implications of the conclusions. The various parts of the thesis should cohere in an integrated argument; the thesis should not be a series of loosely connected short essays. A primary expectation of the thesis is that it is a work of independent scholarship, directed and crafted by the student, with the thesis adviser serving in a capacity of "indirect overseeing of the project."

There is no set pattern for an acceptable thesis. The writer should demonstrate familiarity with scholarly methods in the use of sources, but this should not be the sole criterion for evaluation. Of equal if not greater importance is the development of the central argument and the significance of the interpretation. A thesis may be research on a little-studied problem or a perceptive reassessment of a familiar question. A well-pondered and well-presented interpretive essay may be as good a thesis as a miniature doctoral dissertation.

Skill in exposition is a primary objective, and pristine editing is expected. The Department encourages writers to keep to a short page count, so as to craft a clear, concise paper, and further edit it to an exemplary presentation. In general, a History of Art and Architecture thesis will have a text ranging from 20,000 to 25,000 words. Students are encouraged to explore the resources available to thesis writers at the Harvard College Writing Center .

The writer must indicate the source of material drawn from others' work, whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized. Students who, for whatever reason, submit work either not their own or without clear attribution to its sources will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including requirement to withdraw from the College.

Academic Requirements: Design Thesis in the Architecture Track

The HAA Architecture Track asks students to select an Area of Emphasis for fulfillment of their degree -- either Design Studies or History and Theory. Students wishing to pursue an honors thesis in the History and Theory Area of Emphasis will usually complete a written senior thesis paper and presentation on the same model as the thesis for general concentrators (see Academic Requirements: Written Thesis ).

Students in the Design Studies Area of Emphasis who wish to pursue a thesis project may choose either a traditional thesis or a design thesis project. Design theses are creative thesis projects featuring a combination of written analysis and visual and physical design materials, as described below.

Course Requirements for Honors Consideration with a Design Thesis

Senior year – fall term.

  • HAA 92r Design Speculations Seminar – required
  • Course prerequisite: Completion of either HAA 96A (“Transformations”) or HAA 96B (“Connections”) studios.
  • This course requires that students secure a pair of faculty advisers – one from Harvard History of Art and Architecture (HAA) Faculty and one from the Harvard GSD to support their research work within the course; course faculty advisers then serve as the faculty thesis advisers for the design thesis.
  • Megan Panzano, GSD Architecture Studies Director, and Jennifer Roberts, HAA DUS, can both help make faculty adviser connections for students pursuing this path.
  • (optional) HAA 99A Senior Thesis Tutorial – attendance in this seminar is encouraged but not required in parallel with HAA 92r.
  • Presentation of design work to HAA and select GSD Faculty as part of HAA Thesis Colloquium in December) – required

Senior Year – Spring Term

  • Throughout the semester: Advising meetings with individual faculty advisers to guide production and iterative refinement of design work (architectural analytical drawings and/or physical models), and edits to digital presentation made in fall term HAA Thesis Thesis Presentations.
  • March 08, 2024, 12:00 pm EST: Submission of final senior thesis design project including digital images and written text as a single PDF file (see “ Submission Requirements for Honors Consideration ”).
  • March 29, 2024 (date subject to change and TBC): Participation in a gallery-style final presentation with faculty and peers after submission of thesis . The design presentations for the gallery-style event should include an updated digital presentation comprised of the project title, author’s name, the most current versions of all elements listed below in the Final Project Requirements (with the exception of the Written Manifesto which should be consolidated to a single slide containing 3-4 sentences of a thesis statement capturing the topic of study, a position on this topic, your claim about design agency to address this topic, and specifically, what design elements you’ve explored in your thesis in this address).  Students may elect to also print or plot selected original design drawings they produced (analytical or projective) from their digital presentation to pin up in the space.  Likewise, students are encouraged to bring any sketch and/or final models they have created to display as well.
  • April 8, 2024 : Preparation of a digital file for a 24 x 36” poster summarizing the thesis to be exhibited in the HAA department for the academic year to follow. A suggested template will be provided and a workshop will be held on March 26 (2024, date subject to change and TBC) for assistance with poster preparation. Examples of previous posters can be found here (AY21-22) and here (AY22-23) .

Submission Requirements for the Design Thesis Project (due March 08, 2024, 12:00 pm EST)

A single multi-page PDF file labeled with student’s full last name and first initial should be submitted. It should contain the following elements and should incorporate thesis research and design work from both fall and spring terms.

  • Assemble a visual bibliography of references for your research project. The references included should be sorted into categories of your own authoring in relation to the research. Each reference should be appropriately cited using the Chicago Manual of Style, and each reference should also include an affiliated image. The bibliography should include a brief (approx. 200-word) annotation, describing the rationale behind the sorted categories.
  • A written design manifesto of a minimum of 2,000 words that concisely articulates the issues, problems, and questions embedded in and engaged by your research project. The manifesto should address:
  • Discourse : the role and significance of architecture relative to the project topic of interest, and;
  • Context : the relationship of the project topic to broader surroundings which include but are not limited to the discipline of architecture, cultural contexts, technical developments, and/or typologies.
  • The final statement should reflect deeply upon the character of the design process for the project, and discuss how the design process reinforced, inflected, or complicated the initial research questions. For most students, this final statement will be an elaboration upon the presentation text prepared for the fall senior thesis colloquium. The final text should capture and discuss the design elements that were further explored in the spring term as means to address initial research questions (i.e. include written descriptions of the drawings and/or physical models produced in relation to the thesis topic).  
  • A visual drawing or info-graphic that describes the process of design research undertaken for your topic. This should include the initial criteria developed for evaluating the project, the steps taken in examining the topic, the points in the process where it became necessary to stop and assess outputs and findings, and final adjustments to the methodology as the project neared completion.
  • High resolution drawings, animations, and/or diagrams and photographs of physical models  (if applicable)  that were produced through research. These should be assembled in single-page layouts of slides to follow preceding elements listed here.

Grading of the Senior Thesis

Theses are read and critiqued by faculty members applying a higher standard than expected for work written in courses or tutorials. Faculty do make use of the full range of grades, and students should consider that any honors grade is a distinction of merit. If you have any questions, please contact the Senior Thesis Adviser, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, or the Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

SUMMA CUM LAUDE: A summa thesis is a work of "highest honor." It is a contribution to knowledge, though it need not be an important contribution. It reveals a promise of high intellectual attainments both in selection of problems and facts for consideration and in the manner in which conclusions are drawn from these facts. A summa thesis includes, potentially at least, the makings of a publishable article. The writer's use of sources and data is judicious. The thesis is well written and proofread. The arguments are concise and logically organized, and the allocation of space appropriate. A summa is not equivalent to just any A, but the sort given by instructors who reserve them for exceptional merit. A summa minus is a near miss at a summa and is also equivalent to an A of unusual quality.

MAGNA CUM LAUDE: A magna level thesis is a work worthy of "great honor." It clearly demonstrates the capacity for a high level of achievement, is carried through carefully, and represents substantial industry. A magna plus thesis achieves a similar level of quality to a summa in some respects, though it falls short in others; it is equivalent to the usual type of A. A magna thesis is equivalent to an A-. For a magna minus, the results achieved may not be quite a successful due to an unhappy choice of topic or approach; it is also equivalent to an A-.

CUM LAUDE: As is appropriate for a grade "with honors," a cum level thesis shows serious thought and effort in its general approach, if not in every detail. A cum plus is equivalent to a B+, a cum to a B, and a cum minus to a B-. The cum thesis does not merely represent the satisfactory completion of a task. It is, however, to be differentiated from the magna in the difficulty of the subject handled, the substantial nature of the project, and the success with which the subject is digested. Recall that, as students putting extraordinary effort into a thesis most frequently receive a magna, theses of a solid but not exceptional quality deserve a grade in the cum range. When expressed in numerical equivalents, the interval between a magna minus and a cum minus is double that between the other intervals on the grading scale.

NO DISTINCTION: Not all theses automatically deserve honors. Nevertheless, a grade of no distinction (C, D, or E) should be reserved only for those circumstances when the thesis is hastily constructed, a mere summary of existing material, or is poorly thought through. The high standards which are applied in critique of theses must clearly be violated for a thesis to merit a grade of no distinction.

Thesis Readers 

Each thesis will have two readers chosen by the Department. All readers will be asked to submit written comments and grades, which will be factored equally to produce the final grade of the thesis. Individual grades are not released. When grades and comments are distributed, the readers no longer remain anonymous. There exists a procedure by which a writer may request, via the Senior Thesis Adviser, to speak with a reader provided that they are willing to discuss the work in further detail or expound on the written critique.

For joint concentrators, the department will defer the reading process to their primary concentration. Students should reach out to their adviser in their primary concentration for further information.

Grade Report and Honors Recommendation 

At the end of each term, Fall and Spring, the student's progress in the Senior Tutorial (HAA 99) will be graded SAT or UNSAT. At the end of the Department's Honors Review process, the Senior Thesis Adviser calculates a recommendation for Honors based on the factored grades of the thesis and the student's grades in concentration coursework. This recommendation is presented to the Faculty at their meeting in April for review. A faculty vote is taken and this decision is passed as an honors recommendation to the Registrar of the College. For joint concentrators, the faculty will make recommendations to a student’s primary concentration but will defer the final grading process to them. The decision of Final Honors to be granted on the degree is made by the Registrar based on departmental recommendation and the student’s College-GPA. Students should consult with their Allston Burr Senior Tutor to determine what final honors might be anticipated at Commencement.

The needs of the Department for fair deliberation dictate that there may be no report of decisions regarding the thesis until after the Faculty has considered and voted upon each recommendation for honors. After honors recommendations have been voted by the Faculty, students will be notified of the Department's recommendation to the College and will receive an ungraded copy of each evaluation of their thesis. The comments in these evaluations should provide the student with a clear explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of the thesis, bearing in mind the difficulties of the field and the type of thesis submitted, and evaluating what was accomplished in terms of what was undertaken, given the student's limitation of time and experience.

Discontinuance of a Thesis 

The process of writing the thesis is a serious commitment of time and energy for both the writer and the adviser. In some cases, however, it might be agreed that the thesis should be discontinued at mid-year. The Senior Tutorial year may be divided with credit through a procedure in which the student must submit a written paper presenting the project and research to that point.

Examples of Past Theses 

Senior Honors Theses which are written by students who graduate Summa or Magna are deposited in the University Archives in Pusey Library . Copies of theses which are awarded the Hoopes Prize are held in Lamont Library . Students are urged to consult past theses as much can be gained in exploring precedent or seeking inspiration.

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Art MFA Thesis

MFA students are required to develop both a visual and a written thesis throughout their second year of study. They participate in the MFA + MDes annual thesis exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery . Some of the MFA programs require an additional show at the end of the 2nd year. The written thesis, 1500 words or greater, must be submitted to the Graduate School using their procedures and guidelines.

  • Thesis/Dissertation Graduate School web page.
  • Final Submission of Your Electronic Thesis or Dissertation (ETD)

Thesis Committee

During the autumn quarter of their second year, each student is responsible for organizing a thesis committee. The committee must consist of at least two faculty members from their program, one of whom is the committee chair. Students may choose additional committee members in consultation with the chair of their committee. Students work closely with their chair and committee throughout the final three quarters of their project.

You can browse theses submitted by recent graduate students from our MFA programs through the University of Washington Research Works Archive .

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thesis Statements

What this handout is about.

This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft.


Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement:

  • tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
  • is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
  • makes a claim that others might dispute.
  • is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. (Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information.)

How do I create a thesis?

A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis” that presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way.

Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming .

How do I know if my thesis is strong?

If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following :

  • Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question. If the prompt isn’t phrased as a question, try to rephrase it. For example, “Discuss the effect of X on Y” can be rephrased as “What is the effect of X on Y?”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful”?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is likely to  be “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
  • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.

Suppose you are taking a course on contemporary communication, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: “Discuss the impact of social media on public awareness.” Looking back at your notes, you might start with this working thesis:

Social media impacts public awareness in both positive and negative ways.

You can use the questions above to help you revise this general statement into a stronger thesis.

  • Do I answer the question? You can analyze this if you rephrase “discuss the impact” as “what is the impact?” This way, you can see that you’ve answered the question only very generally with the vague “positive and negative ways.”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not likely. Only people who maintain that social media has a solely positive or solely negative impact could disagree.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? No. What are the positive effects? What are the negative effects?
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? No. Why are they positive? How are they positive? What are their causes? Why are they negative? How are they negative? What are their causes?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? No. Why should anyone care about the positive and/or negative impact of social media?

After thinking about your answers to these questions, you decide to focus on the one impact you feel strongly about and have strong evidence for:

Because not every voice on social media is reliable, people have become much more critical consumers of information, and thus, more informed voters.

This version is a much stronger thesis! It answers the question, takes a specific position that others can challenge, and it gives a sense of why it matters.

Let’s try another. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. “This will be easy,” you think. “I loved Huckleberry Finn!” You grab a pad of paper and write:

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.

You begin to analyze your thesis:

  • Do I answer the question? No. The prompt asks you to analyze some aspect of the novel. Your working thesis is a statement of general appreciation for the entire novel.

Think about aspects of the novel that are important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write:

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.
  • Do I answer the question? Yes!
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not really. This contrast is well-known and accepted.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? It’s getting there–you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation. However, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? Not yet. Compare scenes from the book and see what you discover. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions and anything else that seems interesting.
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? What’s the point of this contrast? What does it signify?”

After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write:

Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.

This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.

Lunsford, Andrea A. 2015. The St. Martin’s Handbook , 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.

Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. 2018. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing , 8th ed. New York: Pearson.

Ruszkiewicz, John J., Christy Friend, Daniel Seward, and Maxine Hairston. 2010. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers , 9th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Writing Essays in Art History

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These OWL resources provide guidance on typical genres with the art history discipline that may appear in professional settings or academic assignments, including museum catalog entries, museum title cards, art history analysis, notetaking, and art history exams.

Art History Analysis – Formal Analysis and Stylistic Analysis

Typically in an art history class the main essay students will need to write for a final paper or for an exam is a formal or stylistic analysis.

A formal analysis is just what it sounds like – you need to analyze the form of the artwork. This includes the individual design elements – composition, color, line, texture, scale, contrast, etc. Questions to consider in a formal analysis is how do all these elements come together to create this work of art? Think of formal analysis in relation to literature – authors give descriptions of characters or places through the written word. How does an artist convey this same information?

Organize your information and focus on each feature before moving onto the text – it is not ideal to discuss color and jump from line to then in the conclusion discuss color again. First summarize the overall appearance of the work of art – is this a painting? Does the artist use only dark colors? Why heavy brushstrokes? etc and then discuss details of the object – this specific animal is gray, the sky is missing a moon, etc. Again, it is best to be organized and focused in your writing – if you discuss the animals and then the individuals and go back to the animals you run the risk of making your writing unorganized and hard to read. It is also ideal to discuss the focal of the piece – what is in the center? What stands out the most in the piece or takes up most of the composition?

A stylistic approach can be described as an indicator of unique characteristics that analyzes and uses the formal elements (2-D: Line, color, value, shape and 3-D all of those and mass).The point of style is to see all the commonalities in a person’s works, such as the use of paint and brush strokes in Van Gogh’s work. Style can distinguish an artist’s work from others and within their own timeline, geographical regions, etc.

Methods & Theories To Consider:




Social Art History

Biographical Approach


Museum Studies

Visual Cultural Studies

Stylistic Analysis Example:

The following is a brief stylistic analysis of two Greek statues, an example of how style has changed because of the “essence of the age.” Over the years, sculptures of women started off as being plain and fully clothed with no distinct features, to the beautiful Venus/Aphrodite figures most people recognize today. In the mid-seventh century to the early fifth, life-sized standing marble statues of young women, often elaborately dress in gaily painted garments were created known as korai. The earliest korai is a Naxian women to Artemis. The statue wears a tight-fitted, belted peplos, giving the body a very plain look. The earliest korai wore the simpler Dorian peplos, which was a heavy woolen garment. From about 530, most wear a thinner, more elaborate, and brightly painted Ionic linen and himation. A largely contrasting Greek statue to the korai is the Venus de Milo. The Venus from head to toe is six feet seven inches tall. Her hips suggest that she has had several children. Though her body shows to be heavy, she still seems to almost be weightless. Viewing the Venus de Milo, she changes from side to side. From her right side she seems almost like a pillar and her leg bears most of the weight. She seems be firmly planted into the earth, and since she is looking at the left, her big features such as her waist define her. The Venus de Milo had a band around her right bicep. She had earrings that were brutally stolen, ripping her ears away. Venus was noted for loving necklaces, so it is very possibly she would have had one. It is also possible she had a tiara and bracelets. Venus was normally defined as “golden,” so her hair would have been painted. Two statues in the same region, have throughout history, changed in their style.

Compare and Contrast Essay

Most introductory art history classes will ask students to write a compare and contrast essay about two pieces – examples include comparing and contrasting a medieval to a renaissance painting. It is always best to start with smaller comparisons between the two works of art such as the medium of the piece. Then the comparison can include attention to detail so use of color, subject matter, or iconography. Do the same for contrasting the two pieces – start small. After the foundation is set move on to the analysis and what these comparisons or contrasting material mean – ‘what is the bigger picture here?’ Consider why one artist would wish to show the same subject matter in a different way, how, when, etc are all questions to ask in the compare and contrast essay. If during an exam it would be best to quickly outline the points to make before tackling writing the essay.

Compare and Contrast Example:

Stele of Hammurabi from Susa (modern Shush, Iran), ca. 1792 – 1750 BCE, Basalt, height of stele approx. 7’ height of relief 28’

Stele, relief sculpture, Art as propaganda – Hammurabi shows that his law code is approved by the gods, depiction of land in background, Hammurabi on the same place of importance as the god, etc.

Top of this stele shows the relief image of Hammurabi receiving the law code from Shamash, god of justice, Code of Babylonian social law, only two figures shown, different area and time period, etc.

Stele of Naram-sin , Sippar Found at Susa c. 2220 - 2184 bce. Limestone, height 6'6"

Stele, relief sculpture, Example of propaganda because the ruler (like the Stele of Hammurabi) shows his power through divine authority, Naramsin is the main character due to his large size, depiction of land in background, etc.

Akkadian art, made of limestone, the stele commemorates a victory of Naramsin, multiple figures are shown specifically soldiers, different area and time period, etc.


Regardless of what essay approach you take in class it is absolutely necessary to understand how to analyze the iconography of a work of art and to incorporate into your paper. Iconography is defined as subject matter, what the image means. For example, why do things such as a small dog in a painting in early Northern Renaissance paintings represent sexuality? Additionally, how can an individual perhaps identify these motifs that keep coming up?

The following is a list of symbols and their meaning in Marriage a la Mode by William Hogarth (1743) that is a series of six paintings that show the story of marriage in Hogarth’s eyes.

  • Man has pockets turned out symbolizing he has lost money and was recently in a fight by the state of his clothes.
  • Lap dog shows loyalty but sniffs at woman’s hat in the husband’s pocket showing sexual exploits.
  • Black dot on husband’s neck believed to be symbol of syphilis.
  • Mantel full of ugly Chinese porcelain statues symbolizing that the couple has no class.
  • Butler had to go pay bills, you can tell this by the distasteful look on his face and that his pockets are stuffed with bills and papers.
  • Card game just finished up, women has directions to game under foot, shows her easily cheating nature.
  • Paintings of saints line a wall of the background room, isolated from the living, shows the couple’s complete disregard to faith and religion.
  • The dangers of sexual excess are underscored in the Hograth by placing Cupid among ruins, foreshadowing the inevitable ruin of the marriage.
  • Eventually the series (other five paintings) shows that the woman has an affair, the men duel and die, the woman hangs herself and the father takes her ring off her finger symbolizing the one thing he could salvage from the marriage.

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What is Art? - A research on the concept and perception of Art in the 21st Century

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The concept of Art and Artist has had a continuous evolution and countless definitions throughout history. But, are there really common concepts to define and perceive them in ancient and classic art as well as in modern? This thesis focuses on the current (year 2017) perception of what is considered art and what is considered an artist by ordinary people, out of what art and philosophy books tell.

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Most modern definitions of art fail to successfully address the issue of the ever-changing nature of art, and rarely even attempt to provide an account which would be valid in more than just the modern Western context. This article develops a new theory which preserves the advantages of its predecessors, solves or avoids their problems, and has a scope wide enough to account for art of different times and cultures. An object is art in a given context, it is argued, iff some person(s) culturally competent in this context afforded it the status of a candidate for appreciation for reasons considered good in this context. This weakly institutional view is supplemented by auxiliary definitions explaining the notions of cultural contexts, competence and good reasons for affording the status. The relativisation to contexts brings increased explanatory power and scope, and the ability to account for the diversity of art.

what is a thesis for art

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The traditional conception of art is about sensual beauty and refined taste; modern art on the other hand has introduced an entirely unexpected dimension to the visual arts, namely that of 'revelatory narrative'. Classical art aspires to present works which can be appreciated as sensually beautiful; modern art, when it succeeds, presents us instead with the unsettling narrative. This radical difference in artistic purpose is something relatively new, and not yet fully appreciated or understood.

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How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Introduction

Published on September 7, 2022 by Tegan George and Shona McCombes. Revised on November 21, 2023.

The introduction is the first section of your thesis or dissertation , appearing right after the table of contents . Your introduction draws your reader in, setting the stage for your research with a clear focus, purpose, and direction on a relevant topic .

Your introduction should include:

  • Your topic, in context: what does your reader need to know to understand your thesis dissertation?
  • Your focus and scope: what specific aspect of the topic will you address?
  • The relevance of your research: how does your work fit into existing studies on your topic?
  • Your questions and objectives: what does your research aim to find out, and how?
  • An overview of your structure: what does each section contribute to the overall aim?

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Table of contents

How to start your introduction, topic and context, focus and scope, relevance and importance, questions and objectives, overview of the structure, thesis introduction example, introduction checklist, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about introductions.

Although your introduction kicks off your dissertation, it doesn’t have to be the first thing you write — in fact, it’s often one of the very last parts to be completed (just before your abstract ).

It’s a good idea to write a rough draft of your introduction as you begin your research, to help guide you. If you wrote a research proposal , consider using this as a template, as it contains many of the same elements. However, be sure to revise your introduction throughout the writing process, making sure it matches the content of your ensuing sections.

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what is a thesis for art

Begin by introducing your dissertation topic and giving any necessary background information. It’s important to contextualize your research and generate interest. Aim to show why your topic is timely or important. You may want to mention a relevant news item, academic debate, or practical problem.

After a brief introduction to your general area of interest, narrow your focus and define the scope of your research.

You can narrow this down in many ways, such as by:

  • Geographical area
  • Time period
  • Demographics or communities
  • Themes or aspects of the topic

It’s essential to share your motivation for doing this research, as well as how it relates to existing work on your topic. Further, you should also mention what new insights you expect it will contribute.

Start by giving a brief overview of the current state of research. You should definitely cite the most relevant literature, but remember that you will conduct a more in-depth survey of relevant sources in the literature review section, so there’s no need to go too in-depth in the introduction.

Depending on your field, the importance of your research might focus on its practical application (e.g., in policy or management) or on advancing scholarly understanding of the topic (e.g., by developing theories or adding new empirical data). In many cases, it will do both.

Ultimately, your introduction should explain how your thesis or dissertation:

  • Helps solve a practical or theoretical problem
  • Addresses a gap in the literature
  • Builds on existing research
  • Proposes a new understanding of your topic

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Perhaps the most important part of your introduction is your questions and objectives, as it sets up the expectations for the rest of your thesis or dissertation. How you formulate your research questions and research objectives will depend on your discipline, topic, and focus, but you should always clearly state the central aim of your research.

If your research aims to test hypotheses , you can formulate them here. Your introduction is also a good place for a conceptual framework that suggests relationships between variables .

  • Conduct surveys to collect data on students’ levels of knowledge, understanding, and positive/negative perceptions of government policy.
  • Determine whether attitudes to climate policy are associated with variables such as age, gender, region, and social class.
  • Conduct interviews to gain qualitative insights into students’ perspectives and actions in relation to climate policy.

To help guide your reader, end your introduction with an outline  of the structure of the thesis or dissertation to follow. Share a brief summary of each chapter, clearly showing how each contributes to your central aims. However, be careful to keep this overview concise: 1-2 sentences should be enough.

I. Introduction

Human language consists of a set of vowels and consonants which are combined to form words. During the speech production process, thoughts are converted into spoken utterances to convey a message. The appropriate words and their meanings are selected in the mental lexicon (Dell & Burger, 1997). This pre-verbal message is then grammatically coded, during which a syntactic representation of the utterance is built.

Speech, language, and voice disorders affect the vocal cords, nerves, muscles, and brain structures, which result in a distorted language reception or speech production (Sataloff & Hawkshaw, 2014). The symptoms vary from adding superfluous words and taking pauses to hoarseness of the voice, depending on the type of disorder (Dodd, 2005). However, distortions of the speech may also occur as a result of a disease that seems unrelated to speech, such as multiple sclerosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

This study aims to determine which acoustic parameters are suitable for the automatic detection of exacerbations in patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by investigating which aspects of speech differ between COPD patients and healthy speakers and which aspects differ between COPD patients in exacerbation and stable COPD patients.

Checklist: Introduction

I have introduced my research topic in an engaging way.

I have provided necessary context to help the reader understand my topic.

I have clearly specified the focus of my research.

I have shown the relevance and importance of the dissertation topic .

I have clearly stated the problem or question that my research addresses.

I have outlined the specific objectives of the research .

I have provided an overview of the dissertation’s structure .

You've written a strong introduction for your thesis or dissertation. Use the other checklists to continue improving your dissertation.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

Research bias

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The introduction of a research paper includes several key elements:

  • A hook to catch the reader’s interest
  • Relevant background on the topic
  • Details of your research problem

and your problem statement

  • A thesis statement or research question
  • Sometimes an overview of the paper

Don’t feel that you have to write the introduction first. The introduction is often one of the last parts of the research paper you’ll write, along with the conclusion.

This is because it can be easier to introduce your paper once you’ve already written the body ; you may not have the clearest idea of your arguments until you’ve written them, and things can change during the writing process .

Research objectives describe what you intend your research project to accomplish.

They summarize the approach and purpose of the project and help to focus your research.

Your objectives should appear in the introduction of your research paper , at the end of your problem statement .

Scope of research is determined at the beginning of your research process , prior to the data collection stage. Sometimes called “scope of study,” your scope delineates what will and will not be covered in your project. It helps you focus your work and your time, ensuring that you’ll be able to achieve your goals and outcomes.

Defining a scope can be very useful in any research project, from a research proposal to a thesis or dissertation . A scope is needed for all types of research: quantitative , qualitative , and mixed methods .

To define your scope of research, consider the following:

  • Budget constraints or any specifics of grant funding
  • Your proposed timeline and duration
  • Specifics about your population of study, your proposed sample size , and the research methodology you’ll pursue
  • Any inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • Any anticipated control , extraneous , or confounding variables that could bias your research if not accounted for properly.

Cite this Scribbr article

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George, T. & McCombes, S. (2023, November 21). How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Introduction. Scribbr. Retrieved April 2, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/dissertation/introduction-structure/

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What is a thesis | A Complete Guide with Examples


Table of Contents

A thesis is a comprehensive academic paper based on your original research that presents new findings, arguments, and ideas of your study. It’s typically submitted at the end of your master’s degree or as a capstone of your bachelor’s degree.

However, writing a thesis can be laborious, especially for beginners. From the initial challenge of pinpointing a compelling research topic to organizing and presenting findings, the process is filled with potential pitfalls.

Therefore, to help you, this guide talks about what is a thesis. Additionally, it offers revelations and methodologies to transform it from an overwhelming task to a manageable and rewarding academic milestone.

What is a thesis?

A thesis is an in-depth research study that identifies a particular topic of inquiry and presents a clear argument or perspective about that topic using evidence and logic.

Writing a thesis showcases your ability of critical thinking, gathering evidence, and making a compelling argument. Integral to these competencies is thorough research, which not only fortifies your propositions but also confers credibility to your entire study.

Furthermore, there's another phenomenon you might often confuse with the thesis: the ' working thesis .' However, they aren't similar and shouldn't be used interchangeably.

A working thesis, often referred to as a preliminary or tentative thesis, is an initial version of your thesis statement. It serves as a draft or a starting point that guides your research in its early stages.

As you research more and gather more evidence, your initial thesis (aka working thesis) might change. It's like a starting point that can be adjusted as you learn more. It's normal for your main topic to change a few times before you finalize it.

While a thesis identifies and provides an overarching argument, the key to clearly communicating the central point of that argument lies in writing a strong thesis statement.

What is a thesis statement?

A strong thesis statement (aka thesis sentence) is a concise summary of the main argument or claim of the paper. It serves as a critical anchor in any academic work, succinctly encapsulating the primary argument or main idea of the entire paper.

Typically found within the introductory section, a strong thesis statement acts as a roadmap of your thesis, directing readers through your arguments and findings. By delineating the core focus of your investigation, it offers readers an immediate understanding of the context and the gravity of your study.

Furthermore, an effectively crafted thesis statement can set forth the boundaries of your research, helping readers anticipate the specific areas of inquiry you are addressing.

Different types of thesis statements

A good thesis statement is clear, specific, and arguable. Therefore, it is necessary for you to choose the right type of thesis statement for your academic papers.

Thesis statements can be classified based on their purpose and structure. Here are the primary types of thesis statements:

Argumentative (or Persuasive) thesis statement

Purpose : To convince the reader of a particular stance or point of view by presenting evidence and formulating a compelling argument.

Example : Reducing plastic use in daily life is essential for environmental health.

Analytical thesis statement

Purpose : To break down an idea or issue into its components and evaluate it.

Example : By examining the long-term effects, social implications, and economic impact of climate change, it becomes evident that immediate global action is necessary.

Expository (or Descriptive) thesis statement

Purpose : To explain a topic or subject to the reader.

Example : The Great Depression, spanning the 1930s, was a severe worldwide economic downturn triggered by a stock market crash, bank failures, and reduced consumer spending.

Cause and effect thesis statement

Purpose : To demonstrate a cause and its resulting effect.

Example : Overuse of smartphones can lead to impaired sleep patterns, reduced face-to-face social interactions, and increased levels of anxiety.

Compare and contrast thesis statement

Purpose : To highlight similarities and differences between two subjects.

Example : "While both novels '1984' and 'Brave New World' delve into dystopian futures, they differ in their portrayal of individual freedom, societal control, and the role of technology."

When you write a thesis statement , it's important to ensure clarity and precision, so the reader immediately understands the central focus of your work.

What is the difference between a thesis and a thesis statement?

While both terms are frequently used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings.

A thesis refers to the entire research document, encompassing all its chapters and sections. In contrast, a thesis statement is a brief assertion that encapsulates the central argument of the research.

Here’s an in-depth differentiation table of a thesis and a thesis statement.

Now, to craft a compelling thesis, it's crucial to adhere to a specific structure. Let’s break down these essential components that make up a thesis structure

15 components of a thesis structure

Navigating a thesis can be daunting. However, understanding its structure can make the process more manageable.

Here are the key components or different sections of a thesis structure:

Your thesis begins with the title page. It's not just a formality but the gateway to your research.


Here, you'll prominently display the necessary information about you (the author) and your institutional details.

  • Title of your thesis
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date
  • Your Supervisor's name (in some cases)
  • Your Department or faculty (in some cases)
  • Your University's logo (in some cases)
  • Your Student ID (in some cases)

In a concise manner, you'll have to summarize the critical aspects of your research in typically no more than 200-300 words.


This includes the problem statement, methodology, key findings, and conclusions. For many, the abstract will determine if they delve deeper into your work, so ensure it's clear and compelling.


Research is rarely a solitary endeavor. In the acknowledgments section, you have the chance to express gratitude to those who've supported your journey.


This might include advisors, peers, institutions, or even personal sources of inspiration and support. It's a personal touch, reflecting the humanity behind the academic rigor.

Table of contents

A roadmap for your readers, the table of contents lists the chapters, sections, and subsections of your thesis.


By providing page numbers, you allow readers to navigate your work easily, jumping to sections that pique their interest.

List of figures and tables

Research often involves data, and presenting this data visually can enhance understanding. This section provides an organized listing of all figures and tables in your thesis.


It's a visual index, ensuring that readers can quickly locate and reference your graphical data.


Here's where you introduce your research topic, articulate the research question or objective, and outline the significance of your study.


  • Present the research topic : Clearly articulate the central theme or subject of your research.
  • Background information : Ground your research topic, providing any necessary context or background information your readers might need to understand the significance of your study.
  • Define the scope : Clearly delineate the boundaries of your research, indicating what will and won't be covered.
  • Literature review : Introduce any relevant existing research on your topic, situating your work within the broader academic conversation and highlighting where your research fits in.
  • State the research Question(s) or objective(s) : Clearly articulate the primary questions or objectives your research aims to address.
  • Outline the study's structure : Give a brief overview of how the subsequent sections of your work will unfold, guiding your readers through the journey ahead.

The introduction should captivate your readers, making them eager to delve deeper into your research journey.

Literature review section

Your study correlates with existing research. Therefore, in the literature review section, you'll engage in a dialogue with existing knowledge, highlighting relevant studies, theories, and findings.


It's here that you identify gaps in the current knowledge, positioning your research as a bridge to new insights.

To streamline this process, consider leveraging AI tools. For example, the SciSpace literature review tool enables you to efficiently explore and delve into research papers, simplifying your literature review journey.


In the research methodology section, you’ll detail the tools, techniques, and processes you employed to gather and analyze data. This section will inform the readers about how you approached your research questions and ensures the reproducibility of your study.


Here's a breakdown of what it should encompass:

  • Research Design : Describe the overall structure and approach of your research. Are you conducting a qualitative study with in-depth interviews? Or is it a quantitative study using statistical analysis? Perhaps it's a mixed-methods approach?
  • Data Collection : Detail the methods you used to gather data. This could include surveys, experiments, observations, interviews, archival research, etc. Mention where you sourced your data, the duration of data collection, and any tools or instruments used.
  • Sampling : If applicable, explain how you selected participants or data sources for your study. Discuss the size of your sample and the rationale behind choosing it.
  • Data Analysis : Describe the techniques and tools you used to process and analyze the data. This could range from statistical tests in quantitative research to thematic analysis in qualitative research.
  • Validity and Reliability : Address the steps you took to ensure the validity and reliability of your findings to ensure that your results are both accurate and consistent.
  • Ethical Considerations : Highlight any ethical issues related to your research and the measures you took to address them, including — informed consent, confidentiality, and data storage and protection measures.

Moreover, different research questions necessitate different types of methodologies. For instance:

  • Experimental methodology : Often used in sciences, this involves a controlled experiment to discern causality.
  • Qualitative methodology : Employed when exploring patterns or phenomena without numerical data. Methods can include interviews, focus groups, or content analysis.
  • Quantitative methodology : Concerned with measurable data and often involves statistical analysis. Surveys and structured observations are common tools here.
  • Mixed methods : As the name implies, this combines both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

The Methodology section isn’t just about detailing the methods but also justifying why they were chosen. The appropriateness of the methods in addressing your research question can significantly impact the credibility of your findings.

Results (or Findings)

This section presents the outcomes of your research. It's crucial to note that the nature of your results may vary; they could be quantitative, qualitative, or a mix of both.


Quantitative results often present statistical data, showcasing measurable outcomes, and they benefit from tables, graphs, and figures to depict these data points.

Qualitative results , on the other hand, might delve into patterns, themes, or narratives derived from non-numerical data, such as interviews or observations.

Regardless of the nature of your results, clarity is essential. This section is purely about presenting the data without offering interpretations — that comes later in the discussion.

In the discussion section, the raw data transforms into valuable insights.

Start by revisiting your research question and contrast it with the findings. How do your results expand, constrict, or challenge current academic conversations?

Dive into the intricacies of the data, guiding the reader through its implications. Detail potential limitations transparently, signaling your awareness of the research's boundaries. This is where your academic voice should be resonant and confident.

Practical implications (Recommendation) section

Based on the insights derived from your research, this section provides actionable suggestions or proposed solutions.

Whether aimed at industry professionals or the general public, recommendations translate your academic findings into potential real-world actions. They help readers understand the practical implications of your work and how it can be applied to effect change or improvement in a given field.

When crafting recommendations, it's essential to ensure they're feasible and rooted in the evidence provided by your research. They shouldn't merely be aspirational but should offer a clear path forward, grounded in your findings.

The conclusion provides closure to your research narrative.

It's not merely a recap but a synthesis of your main findings and their broader implications. Reconnect with the research questions or hypotheses posited at the beginning, offering clear answers based on your findings.


Reflect on the broader contributions of your study, considering its impact on the academic community and potential real-world applications.

Lastly, the conclusion should leave your readers with a clear understanding of the value and impact of your study.

References (or Bibliography)

Every theory you've expounded upon, every data point you've cited, and every methodological precedent you've followed finds its acknowledgment here.


In references, it's crucial to ensure meticulous consistency in formatting, mirroring the specific guidelines of the chosen citation style .

Proper referencing helps to avoid plagiarism , gives credit to original ideas, and allows readers to explore topics of interest. Moreover, it situates your work within the continuum of academic knowledge.

To properly cite the sources used in the study, you can rely on online citation generator tools  to generate accurate citations!

Here’s more on how you can cite your sources.

Often, the depth of research produces a wealth of material that, while crucial, can make the core content of the thesis cumbersome. The appendix is where you mention extra information that supports your research but isn't central to the main text.


Whether it's raw datasets, detailed procedural methodologies, extended case studies, or any other ancillary material, the appendices ensure that these elements are archived for reference without breaking the main narrative's flow.

For thorough researchers and readers keen on meticulous details, the appendices provide a treasure trove of insights.

Glossary (optional)

In academics, specialized terminologies, and jargon are inevitable. However, not every reader is versed in every term.

The glossary, while optional, is a critical tool for accessibility. It's a bridge ensuring that even readers from outside the discipline can access, understand, and appreciate your work.


By defining complex terms and providing context, you're inviting a wider audience to engage with your research, enhancing its reach and impact.

Remember, while these components provide a structured framework, the essence of your thesis lies in the originality of your ideas, the rigor of your research, and the clarity of your presentation.

As you craft each section, keep your readers in mind, ensuring that your passion and dedication shine through every page.

Thesis examples

To further elucidate the concept of a thesis, here are illustrative examples from various fields:

Example 1 (History): Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807 by Suchait Kahlon.
Example 2 (Climate Dynamics): Influence of external forcings on abrupt millennial-scale climate changes: a statistical modelling study by Takahito Mitsui · Michel Crucifix

Checklist for your thesis evaluation

Evaluating your thesis ensures that your research meets the standards of academia. Here's an elaborate checklist to guide you through this critical process.

Content and structure

  • Is the thesis statement clear, concise, and debatable?
  • Does the introduction provide sufficient background and context?
  • Is the literature review comprehensive, relevant, and well-organized?
  • Does the methodology section clearly describe and justify the research methods?
  • Are the results/findings presented clearly and logically?
  • Does the discussion interpret the results in light of the research question and existing literature?
  • Is the conclusion summarizing the research and suggesting future directions or implications?

Clarity and coherence

  • Is the writing clear and free of jargon?
  • Are ideas and sections logically connected and flowing?
  • Is there a clear narrative or argument throughout the thesis?

Research quality

  • Is the research question significant and relevant?
  • Are the research methods appropriate for the question?
  • Is the sample size (if applicable) adequate?
  • Are the data analysis techniques appropriate and correctly applied?
  • Are potential biases or limitations addressed?

Originality and significance

  • Does the thesis contribute new knowledge or insights to the field?
  • Is the research grounded in existing literature while offering fresh perspectives?

Formatting and presentation

  • Is the thesis formatted according to institutional guidelines?
  • Are figures, tables, and charts clear, labeled, and referenced in the text?
  • Is the bibliography or reference list complete and consistently formatted?
  • Are appendices relevant and appropriately referenced in the main text?

Grammar and language

  • Is the thesis free of grammatical and spelling errors?
  • Is the language professional, consistent, and appropriate for an academic audience?
  • Are quotations and paraphrased material correctly cited?

Feedback and revision

  • Have you sought feedback from peers, advisors, or experts in the field?
  • Have you addressed the feedback and made the necessary revisions?

Overall assessment

  • Does the thesis as a whole feel cohesive and comprehensive?
  • Would the thesis be understandable and valuable to someone in your field?

Ensure to use this checklist to leave no ground for doubt or missed information in your thesis.

After writing your thesis, the next step is to discuss and defend your findings verbally in front of a knowledgeable panel. You’ve to be well prepared as your professors may grade your presentation abilities.

Preparing your thesis defense

A thesis defense, also known as "defending the thesis," is the culmination of a scholar's research journey. It's the final frontier, where you’ll present their findings and face scrutiny from a panel of experts.

Typically, the defense involves a public presentation where you’ll have to outline your study, followed by a question-and-answer session with a committee of experts. This committee assesses the validity, originality, and significance of the research.

The defense serves as a rite of passage for scholars. It's an opportunity to showcase expertise, address criticisms, and refine arguments. A successful defense not only validates the research but also establishes your authority as a researcher in your field.

Here’s how you can effectively prepare for your thesis defense .

Now, having touched upon the process of defending a thesis, it's worth noting that scholarly work can take various forms, depending on academic and regional practices.

One such form, often paralleled with the thesis, is the 'dissertation.' But what differentiates the two?

Dissertation vs. Thesis

Often used interchangeably in casual discourse, they refer to distinct research projects undertaken at different levels of higher education.

To the uninitiated, understanding their meaning might be elusive. So, let's demystify these terms and delve into their core differences.

Here's a table differentiating between the two.

Wrapping up

From understanding the foundational concept of a thesis to navigating its various components, differentiating it from a dissertation, and recognizing the importance of proper citation — this guide covers it all.

As scholars and readers, understanding these nuances not only aids in academic pursuits but also fosters a deeper appreciation for the relentless quest for knowledge that drives academia.

It’s important to remember that every thesis is a testament to curiosity, dedication, and the indomitable spirit of discovery.

Good luck with your thesis writing!

Frequently Asked Questions

A thesis typically ranges between 40-80 pages, but its length can vary based on the research topic, institution guidelines, and level of study.

A PhD thesis usually spans 200-300 pages, though this can vary based on the discipline, complexity of the research, and institutional requirements.

To identify a thesis topic, consider current trends in your field, gaps in existing literature, personal interests, and discussions with advisors or mentors. Additionally, reviewing related journals and conference proceedings can provide insights into potential areas of exploration.

The conceptual framework is often situated in the literature review or theoretical framework section of a thesis. It helps set the stage by providing the context, defining key concepts, and explaining the relationships between variables.

A thesis statement should be concise, clear, and specific. It should state the main argument or point of your research. Start by pinpointing the central question or issue your research addresses, then condense that into a single statement, ensuring it reflects the essence of your paper.

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2024 MFA Thesis Exhibition features 7 artists

2024 MFA Thesis Exhibition features 7 artists

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Carrying on a tradition that began in 1970, seven graduate students from the School of Art will present their work in the 2024 MFA Thesis Exhibition in collaboration with the University of Arizona Museum of Art.

The exhibition, “Leaving to Arrive,” with installations in UAMA and in the school’s Joseph Gross Gallery, will run from April 15 to May 10. A public reception is scheduled for May 9 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the School of Art’s lobby and atrium.

Featured will be the work of graduating MFA students  Jacqueline Arias,   Nathan Cordova, Drew Grella, Hanan Khatoun, Tessa Laslo, Anita Maksimiuk  and  Dana Smith .

This annual MFA Thesis Exhibition, the culmination of the Master of Fine Arts Studio Degree, is presented during a graduate student’s final semester in the three-year degree program. During the last year of their coursework, graduates work closely with faculty to develop a body of original art to present to the public in lieu of a written thesis. The result offers visitors the opportunity to see new, cutting-edge art in a variety of mediums and styles.

“This is the next generation of artists who will be going out and impacting the discipline and thinking about what their next chapter looks like,” School of Art Director  Colin Blakely  said.

A look at each student’s installation and their artist’s statement:

Jacqueline Arias

  • Title: “A Lived Experience”
  • Gallery: UAMA

what is a thesis for art

The monumental engineering feat of the Panama Canal came at great cost: 40,000 people were displaced, and their villages submerged forever. During the construction of the canal over twenty thousand men and women, brought from the West Indies, lost their lives. Decades after these tragedies, I found myself on the Atlantic side of the Isthmus, as an adoptee from Costa Rica, inhabiting foreign soil with a new identity and language. It was here where I forged a profound connection with the people and the culture of Panama.

This installation tells the story of these interconnected experiences. Utilizing rope and pulleys, I interrogate the ramifications of power structures on individual bodies and collective identities. The constructed knots reveal the ongoing legacy of imperialism. Rope and AI technologies are transformed from their roles as signifiers of power and control to find meaning and connection amid the tumultuous currents of displacement and cultural erasure. The individual strands and fibers of the dismantled rope reflect the complex paths carved by my lived experiences. My hands and body recode history both materially and digitally through embodied knowledge critiquing unethical adoption practices and labor exploitation in Panama.

“A Lived Experience” grapples with the trauma of colonial dehumanization and the yearning for reunion with one’s homeland and culture.

Nathan Cordova

  • Title: “Feeling a Future Coming”
  • Venue: UAMA

what is a thesis for art

My project considers the potential of friendship and offers a pointed critique of institutions and our consumption of their products. Friendship is slippery and difficult to maintain. There are social and cultural taboos that attempt to constrain our friendships. This is a social experiment that breaks through the isolation we all feel. What does it say about our present moment where amidst profound loneliness, we desire visceral connections with each other to problematize the limits of our individual bodies? By inviting participation, I’m asking myself and my friends to step out of this isolation and to encounter each other anew. I’m valuing critical connections over critical mass, applying force on strategic pressure points that form the boundaries of typical friendships. There is a momentary embodiment of liberation in this act, as I re-imagine what is possible.

I appropriate and re-contextualize collections of digital images of western domination gathered from the internet. This involves engaging with both the visible architecture like the skyscraper, and the supposedly invisible infrastructure, such as data centers and military drones. Anger and pleasure play an important role, offering a means of embodiment and exploration of the collection’s emotional and sensorial dimensions. Through a material intervention, I challenge notions of fixed identity and embrace the fluidity and multiplicity of human experience. This interruption utilizes an interdisciplinary process of layered blurring that transforms their symbolisms into something elemental; liquid and flame, semen and squirting, embodied presence etching sunlight and sifting blood.

Blurring the boundaries between past and present, self, and other, I invite viewers to engage these collections on a visceral level through the presence of their own reflections in black acrylic surfaces mediated by images layered with physical ejaculate, traces of our sequential self-pleasure. Remixed marketing videos from The University of Arizona and Raytheon (now rebranded as RTX Corporation) point to their mutually beneficial relationship built on endless cycles of debt and death.

All of this works together to disrupt conventional modes of perception. Challenging the rigidity of these images as repositories of meaning and enforcers of social order, “Feeling a Future Coming” reconfigures their signifiers to a point of emergence, where all futures become possible again. Reclaiming agency over our bodies and desires is a fundamental step toward liberation, contributing to a more empathetic and introspective society that questions rigid authority and embraces the beauty of uncertainty.

Drew Grella

  • Title: “No Trespassing | Passing | Trespassing”

what is a thesis for art

“The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot.” Bruce Chatwin

I moved to Tucson during the Covid-19 pandemic when everything was shut down. I spent a lot of time roaming the desert and the town. Walking in the liminal space of the dry Rillito riverbed was especially surreal, strewn with trash, memorials, votive sculptures, and lost possessions. While my body moved through this new and unique place, my mind mapped my impressions of nature, waste, and the boundaries between public spaces and private property.

Deliberate walking is simple and beautiful. It is my method for collecting the imagery which emerges when I draw. Intuitive drawing is simple and beautiful. It is my method for revealing to me what I did not know, what I cannot put into words. In the studio, the walking body becomes the drawing body, continuing a contemplative stroll.

Hanan Khatoun

  • Title: “Sheer”
  • Gallery: Joesph Gross

what is a thesis for art

My separation from culture, language, and family as a member of the Lebanese Diaspora has driven my desire to narrate the experience of what happens after the sensationalizing of war and displacement wears off. The struggle of forging and finding space for one’s identity both within and outside the structures of culture, religion, and family is a reality for those who are generations removed from another home. I am a second-generation immigrant from Lebanon, one of the smallest countries in the world, yet the diaspora population outside the country is larger than that within. Being removed from one place and living in another is common in an increasingly globalized and colonized society. In what ways do we create space for navigating these realities?

“Sheer” is a physical space representative of my search for cultural identity. I construct a space for navigating this self-conception using familial archives, trinkets, documents, photographs, and oral storytelling. These all hold unique language and memory, which in turn, become proof of experience. Woven together they create an identity which I embrace and push against. The act of weaving enables me to explore how disparate things often come together to make a chaotic but contained whole. The work is viewed only at a distance through a fabric cage, indicative of the structures and barriers against which I struggle to understand my multicultural identity.

Tessa Laslo

  • Title: “Imprints”
  • Gallery: Joseph Gross

what is a thesis for art

In my performative drawing and video works, I delve into the intricate web of personal trauma, investigating its impact on my body, relationships, and self-perception. The lingering effects of sexual assault has left me grappling with fragmented memories and physical scars while igniting a profound anger — an emotion that pervades my work and influences my ability to engage in intimate relationships.

The emotional and physical effects of this trauma are not portrayed as overwhelming obstacles in my work, but rather as integral components of an ongoing narrative. I revisit past abuse to illuminate the resilience and strength that can emerge from a process of artistic confrontation and self-discovery. Imprints combines cyanotype and soft pastels in large-scale drawings alongside a video installation using a twin-sized bed. I’ve opted for materials that lack any semblance of preciousness. The paper is weathered, beaten, and used; worn down by time and wear. Each crease and tear are reflections of the sense of violation that still affects my body and mind. The physicality of the paper, marked by violence, serves as a tangible manifestation of my emotions and experiences, grounding them in truth.

Anger, a powerful undercurrent in my artistic expression, stems not only from what I have experienced, but from the ongoing emotional and physical ramifications that are likely to persist throughout my life. It is a visceral response to the violation of my autonomy and the enduring consequences that ripple through my existence. This anger weaves itself into the fabric of my art, becoming both a driving force and an intense element that shape the narrative of my work.

Anita Maksimiuk

  • Title: “Infinity Stone: American Prawda”

what is a thesis for art

As a printmaker, my work engages the symbology of migration, root-taking, rootlessness, and the urban environment. This is largely based on my experience as a first-generation American in Brooklyn, New York and beyond. Watching the city’s immigrant enclaves gentrify and lose their sense of sanctuary motivates me to document, preserve, and question the familiar through printmaking.

By creating cityscapes that deconstruct and reconfigure the iconic, I preserve both places and histories that fade along with the immigrant. As I move through this country, I keep in mind the glare of separation, the repairs I’ve made, and the fractures that remain.

“Infinity Stone: American Prawda” features primarily lithography, with screen printed elements. Historic mediums once prevalent in both fine art and advertising, these two processes challenge and contrast one another.

Methods of deletion, stencil and layer come together to form the printed image, all while honoring its ghost. These approaches allow me to subvert the traditional application of the lithography process, working the limestone surface until it becomes a source of light, color and texture. Starting with photographic images from my personal archive, I coax information out from the surface of the stone chemically. As the landscape is layered, removed and replaced, it begins to mimic the motions of an overdeveloped urban space.

I use the stone to create one-of-a-kind prints rather than producing editions. Using shifts in scale, photographic elements and a non-traditional approach to the process, I reclaim it as a tool of documentation, propaganda and mystery.

Pushing the lithograph beyond its traditional black and white, drawn image, the group of foldable posters presented here re-casts an iconic cityscape in an intimate light, worked into existence entirely by hand. Hung as banners, these images will travel, degrade, and return as I do.

Meant to be approached, the light and horizon that grounds these prints let the gaze linger while the viewer imagines, yearns, or simply remembers. This perspective alludes to an unattainable yet promising aspect of building a home, nationality and a claim to a city. The images take on an iconographic quality, representing a place that is constantly in motion. It is a horizon that is constructed over, bought, sold, and advertised as an object of desire. Here, it is reconstructed as a symbol of hope, haven, and history. It will tear but persist, both physically on paper and intangibly, within the child looking towards home.

Whether these prints become mementos or mirages, they ultimately take on the role of documents. I see my evolving work as a journey, a narrative and a documentary practice, bound within a fleeting medium.

  • Title: “The Sonoran Desert: A Model for Surviving the Sixth Extinction”

what is a thesis for art

Since the Cambrian explosion over 500 million years ago, an astounding variety of exotic and resilient life forms have thrived and diversified throughout the world. Starting as primitive cells in a world slammed by catastrophic events, the life forms today in the rugged Sonoran Desert have developed extraordinary physical defenses key to their survival. This beautiful yet brutal desert inspired me to investigate the world of invertebrates and microorganisms, the survivors of multiple planetary catastrophes, whether gathered from a habitat in my backyard pond and examined under a microscope or encountered while roaming the desert.

Constructing oversized ceramic sculptures and drawings re-creates and interrogates the magnificent structures that these creatures have used as protection for survival. Bringing attention to these armored desert microorganisms and insects who have learned to adapt to extreme heat and long-term drought may teach us much as we enter the era of the Anthropocene. We can learn from their secrets as concern arises over our own adaptability.

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  • Final MFA Thesis Exhibitions open April 15

Matt Meyer, “(un)Thrive,” 23” x 12” x 12”.

calendar icon 01 Apr 2024    

Jewelya Coffey, “The Great Escape,” 5” x 7”, trace monotype and colored pencil on Japanese paper, 2024.

Lincoln, Neb.—MFA Thesis Exhibition III runs April 15-19 in the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery in Richards Hall. The exhibition includes the work of two graduating Master of Fine Arts students in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s School of Art, Art History & Design:  Jewelya Coffey (painting and drawing) and Matt Meyer (sculpture).  Coffey and Meyer will give artist talks on Friday, April 19 starting at 4 p.m. in Richards Hall Rm. 15. A closing reception will be held on Friday, April 19 from 5-7 p.m. in the gallery. General hours for the MFA Thesis Exhibitions in the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery are Monday–Thursday, noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.  The Eisentrager-Howard Gallery is located on the first floor of Richards Hall at Stadium Drive and T streets on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln city campus.  Please contact the School of Art, Art History & Design for more information at (402) 472-5522 or  [email protected] . Follow the Gallery on social media via Instagram  @eisentragerhoward  or Facebook @EHArt Gallery to be informed of any gallery updates.  Below is more information about the final two MFA Thesis exhibitions: Jewelya Coffey  |  Softly and Tenderly Calling Jewelya Coffey (b.1991) is a multidisciplinary artist who makes two-dimensional and three-dimensional work. Her colorful, highly symbolic pieces play with themes of memory, grief, religion, rural life, folklore, growing up in the Ozarks, and explores the god-haunted image. Pushing the boundaries of what a drawing can be, she hopes to capture the spirit of drawing across many mediums. Born in Searcy, Arkansas, and raised partly in Aurora, Missouri, Coffey is an artist and educator currently living in Lincoln, Nebraska. She received her BFA in graphic design from Harding University in 2015. Her work has been most recently exhibited at Project Project, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and Roberta and Bob Rogers Gallery in Omaha, NE, LUX Center for the Arts and Medici Gallery in Lincoln, NE, Harding University in Searcy, AR and sUgAr Gallery at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR. She currently attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she will obtain her MFA in painting and drawing in the spring of 2024. Matt Meyer  |  4:44 Matt Meyer’s exhibition is titled “4:44,” which comes from Jay Z’s album. “4:44” is all about the vulnerability of the Black American experience. Apprehension and elation are two feelings that flow throughout the work and sometimes intertwine. The work shown varies in material and style. There are 2D paper works, works on canvas, and digitally designed images that are printed onto canvas. There are also sculptures  that are created using wood, clay, found objects, and plaster. While things may seem separate, they still find a way to flow together. Things within this exhibition challenge how others see the Black experience and how we see ourselves. The goal of all his work is to leave an educational impression on the audience that will cause them to question life, as well as information that is taught. Meyer is a conceptual, mixed-media creator working with ideas of identity, education and history, both past and present. He creates using sculpture, painting, drawing, printmaking and digital to tell a story through the Black Voice. In his work, he focuses on the Black experience within America, while still acknowledging and drawing upon the Global Black experience. He earned his B.F.A. at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. His work has been shown throughout the U.S. and internationally. Also on display through April 5 are the following MFA Thesis Exhibitions:

• MFA Exhibition II runs April 1-5 in the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery and includes the work of Casey Beck (ceramics). A 2 nd  year MFA exhibition will run simultaneously. Beck and Christopher Williams will present artist talks on Friday, April 5 beginning at 4 p.m. in Richards Hall Rm. 15. Beck’s closing reception will be Friday, April 5 from 5-7 p.m. in the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery. • Christopher Williams (ceramics) will have his MFA Thesis Exhibition on display at the Lux Center for the Arts, 2601 N. 48 th  St., through April 5. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A closing reception will take place on Friday, April 5 from 5-8 p.m. at the Lux Center. Williams will also present an additional gallery talk at the Lux Center on April 5 at 6:30 p.m.

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Studio Art Thesis Exhibitions: 4th Year Students and Aunspaugh Fellows

On view April 8 - May 3, 2024 | Closing receptions: Fridays, 5pm - 7pm

Left: Person looking at artwork hanging on a wall RIGHT: Hallway lined with folks making art

Please join the Department of Art and the rest of our community in congratulating our graduating students and 5th Year Aunspaugh Fellows on the work they have done and the exhibitions we now get to enjoy on all three floors of Ruffin Hall and in Ruffin Gallery.

On view April 8 - May 3, 2024  Closing receptions: Fridays: 5pm - 7pm

Gallery hours: monday - friday, 9am - 5pm.


Thesis shows in Studio Art are the culmination of four academic years of undergraduate liberal arts at UVA. We, as faculty & staff, are incredibly proud of the hard work all of our students put into their creative practices and exhibitions. Students are involved with the production and installation of these exhibitions and gain valuable experience in the handling and hanging of important works of all types, as well as the work of hosting their own receptions. We all come together as a department during these Friday student exhibition receptions to recognize the student’s successful completion of the major.


Since 2008, the Ruffin Gallery is an active part of the Studio Art Program . Each year the gallery hosts four to six exhibits that serve as a showcase for contemporary art and are an integral part of the Studio Art experience. The gallery also hosts shows by the Ruffin Distinguished Artist-in-Residence. Every spring the gallery is the site of the Fourth-Year Thesis and Aunspaugh Fellows Exhibitions.

In addition to the Ruffin Gallery, student thesis exhibitions are located throughout Ruffin Hall’s other exhibition spaces.

Week 1 •  April 8 - April 12

  • Ruffin Gallery: Jasmine Brown, Emma Todd
  • 3rd Floor: Todd Bensen
  • 1st Floor Media Gallery: Brenden Nieves

Week 2 • April 15 - April 19

  • Ruffin Gallery: Maddie Butkovich, Claire Szeptycki
  • 3rd Floor: Proud Chandragholica
  • 2nd Floor: Christina Liu
  • 1st Floor Performance Room: Hyebin Lee

Week 3 • April 22 - April 26

  • Ruffin Gallery: Samantha Farber, Heeran Karim, Adrian Moore
  • 3rd Floor: Natalie Schiff
  • 2nd Floor: Adam Centanni
  • 1st Floor Performance Room: Rian Gonzalez

Week 4 • April 29 - May 3

  • Ruffin Gallery: Lucia Mayor-Mora, KJ Vaughan, Tori White
  • 3rd Floor: Garrett Stebbins
  • 2nd Floor: Hadley Hoffman
  • 1st Floor: Autumn Jefferson, Jessie Mai, Mix Rudolph
  • 1st Floor Media Galleries: Zoe Farmer, Aria Liu
  • 1st Floor Performance Room: Jay Pendarvis

Week 5 • May 6 - May 10

  • 1st Floor Media Gallery: Anne Kickert

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Elena Yu Ruffin Gallery Coordinator University of Virginia Department of Art [email protected]

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The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia will expand its holdings with a promised gift of more than 150 Torah pointers, or yads, from Clay H. Barr and the Barr Foundation. This marks the first major gift of Judaica in the University of Virginia’s history. Accompanying the bequest is The Clay H. Barr Endowment for Torah Pointers in Memory of Jay D. A. Barr that will enable The Fralin to preserve the collection and support related staff as well as educational programming and touring of the objects. Barr is making the contribution in honor of her late husband who earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia (UVA).

Week-Long Celebration for Two Exhibitions of Indigenous Art Features more than a Dozen Events

Starting Jan. 29, the University of Virginia (UVA) museums, The Fralin Museum of Art and the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection will host artists, events and discussions around the opening of two exhibitions of Indigenous art. “Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Painting from Yirrkala” will open at The Fralin on Feb. 3 joining “Voices of Connection: Garamut Slit Drums of New Guinea,” on view now. The Fralin and Kluge-Ruhe will host more than a dozen events throughout the week in partnership with UVA, the city of Charlottesville and several other arts organizations.

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MFA Thesis Exhibitions: Art, Work, Agency

  • Friday, Apr 5, 2024 at 11:00 a.m.

About the Event

Claire HarnEnz,   Alessandra Puglisi,  Katharine Suchan,   Ramon Antonio Vega

The Tyler School of Art and Architecture's center for exhibitions and public programming. The Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University opens its 2024 MFA Thesis Exhibitions with a seven-week series of concurrent solo shows by 29 second-year students. Collectively, the works reflect a variety of discipline-centric and mixed-media practices that celebrate visual narratives and explore the interplay of diverse materials, digital processes as a companion to hand fabrication, draftsmanship in printmaking, and multicultural perspectives and personal identity in graphic design, illustration, and UX/UI design. "The depth and breadth of these works is incredible and inspiring," said Associate Professor Sharyn O'Mara, Director for the Master of Fine Arts program. "They demonstrate deep engagement in a broad range of contemporary issues that explore past, present, and future images and imaginaries, objects, and mediations. They both expand within and defy traditional disciplinary boundaries, and the results are powerful, provocative, political, and poetic." When they graduate, Tyler's MFA Class of 2024 will join a community of distinguished alumni that includes Moe Brooker (MFA '72); Syd Carpenter (MFA '76), Edgar Heap of Birds (MFA '79); Harriete Estel Berman (MFA '80); Virgil Marti (MFA '90); Anoka Faruqee (MFA '97); Trenton Doyle Hancock (MFA '00); Will Villalongo (MFA '01); Erin Riley (MFA '09); Amber Cowan (MFA '11), Sijia Chen (MFA '11), Kara Springer (MFA '17), Warith Taha (MFA '20), and Isaac Scott (MFA '21), among others. Location: Temple Contemporary.

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Exhibitions 2024: 2024 MFA Thesis Exhibition

UMass Dartmouth 2024 MFA Thesis Exhibition Presented in New Bedford and Fall River | April 4 - May 17, 2024 at The Ignition Space | April 11 - May 17, 2024 at New Bedford Art Museum

Exhibiting Artists

  • Ruth Douzinas
  • Matthew Napoli
  • Fallon Keiko Navarro
  • Darley Ortiz Garcia

The Ignition Space

April 4 - May 17, 2024 at The Ignition Space 44 Troy Street, Fall River, MA 02720 Reception: Saturday, April 6, 3 - 6 pm, Welcome Remarks 4 pm

Gallery Hours: Thursdays & Fridays 4 PM to 8 PM  Saturdays & Sundays 12 PM to 5 PM Free and Open to the Public

New Bedford Art Museum

April 11 - May 17, 2024 at New Bedford Art Museum (People’s Gallery) 608 Pleasant Street, New Bedford, MA 02740 Opening Reception: AHA! Night, Thursday, April 11, 6-8 pm, Artist Talks 6 pm Reception: AHA! Night, May 9, 6-8 pm, Artist Talk 7 pm

Gallery Hours: Thursday – Sunday: 9 AM to 5 PM Free entrance every Thursday or with UMassD ID

View the Online Exhibition

The UMass Dartmouth MFA Thesis Exhibition is a much anticipated and celebrated annual event showcasing the artwork of graduating Master of Fine Arts students from the College of Visual and Performing Arts. This year’s exhibition celebrates the work of graduates Ruth Douzinas, Zeph Luck, Matthew Napoli, Fallon Keiko Navarro, and Darley Ortiz Garcia. The creative work of these graduating students includes painting, drawing, ceramics, digital media, and site-specific installation.

This year, the exhibition takes place in two locations, just 15 miles apart: The Ignition Space on 44 Troy Street, Fall River, MA 02720 and at the New Bedford Art Museum (People’s Gallery) at 608 Pleasant Street, New Bedford, MA 02740 . Each student exhibits different pieces of their work in both locations. 

The Opening Reception at The Ignition Space in downtown Fall River is planned for Saturday, April 6 from 3 - 6 pm, with Welcome Remarks at 4 pm. Free on-street parking is available over the weekend. Refreshments will be served and music will be provided by DJ Andrew Kepinski. 

The exhibition at The Ignition Space is open from April 4 through May 17, 2024. The gallery hours are Thursdays & Fridays 4 PM to 8 PM, Saturdays & Sundays 12 PM to 5 PM. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

The opening reception at the New Bedford Art Museum (People’s Gallery) is planned for AHA! Night on Thursday, April 11, 6-8 pm, with Artist Talks at 6 pm. The exhibition is open in the People's Gallery through May 17, 2024. The museum is open Thursday – Sunday: 9 AM to 5 PM. Free entrance every Thursday during the MFA Thesis Exhibition or with UMassD ID. Additional AHA! Night reception will be held on May 9, 6-8 pm with the Artist Talk at 7 pm. 

Both locations can be accessed by free SRTA Bus Route 9, Fall River-New Bedford Intercity, that stops at UMass Dartmouth Campus Center before going either West to Fall River or East to New Bedford. 

The College of Visual and Performing Arts would like to express its sincere thanks to Fall River Arts and Culture Coalition (FRACC) for hosting us in The Ignition Space. This venue  was recently renovated as a part of “Gather” in a  former wallpaper factory thanks to the Mass Development TDI, with Fall River Museum of Contemporary Art as a part of this complex. Thank you to Ashley Occhino and Dorothy Mahoney-Pacheco for making our transition to Fall River such an exciting collaboration. We would also like to thank the New Bedford Art Museum for opening their People’s Gallery to our students, especially to the Museum Director Suzanne de Vegh. Thank you also to all our faithful audiences for their ongoing support of  our students and exhibition programming. 

For more information, please contact Viera Levitt, UMass Dartmouth Gallery Director and exhibition curator at [email protected] .

@UMassDartmouthGalleries  @UMassDartmouthGalleries 

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ARTH Major Qi Liu receives David M. Robb Thesis Prize


April 3, 2024

ARTH Major Qi Liu receives the David M. Robb Thesis Prize for her senior thesis, "Female Piety and Power: The Appearance of Noli me tangere in Ottonian Manuscripts." (Adviser: S. Brisman)

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Contact S.24: Photography BFA Thesis Exhibition

April 5, 2024

Colvard Student Union Art Gallery

Black and white photograph of shirtless male figure looking down.

On display April 5th through April 19th, 2024 in the Colvard Student Union Art Gallery,  Contact S.24  features recent photography work by Mississippi State University graduating senior Nathan Jones of Louisville, Kentucky.

Under the direction of the Department of Art's Photography Concentration Coordinator, Professor Marita Gootee, Jones created a portfolio of photography exploring the effects of anxiety. According to Jones, "My work seeks to illuminate the interplay of internal feeling and external surroundings, offering viewers a glimpse into the profound depths of the anxious mind."

A public reception with refreshments will be held  Friday, April 5 from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.  in the Colvard Student Union Art Gallery, located on the second floor of the MSU Colvard Student Union. Regular gallery hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.

For more information on this exhibition or any gallery programs, contact the Department of Art at 662-325-2970, or email Lori Neuenfeldt, gallery director at  [email protected] .

Click to Visit Nathan Jones' Portfolio Website

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