Senior Thesis Guidelines for Art History Faculty and Students
The senior thesis is a year-long, independent research project culminating in a substantive paper of approximately 25-50 pages. Students normally enroll in AH371 in the fall and AH381 in the spring; in some cases, enrollment in AH381 may follow intensive work completed in a 300-level course other than AH371. Students may also be encouraged to take LI371(Electronic Information Resources). The year offers an important learning experience carefully mentored by faculty advisors. Writing a thesis is not an entitlement but a privilege. Before accepting a student for thesis work, the potential advisor thoroughly evaluates the student's ability, commitment, and preparation, and considers whether the match of advisor and student is academically appropriate. Generally, the student should have taken at least one course with the advisor. The thesis is necessarily a unique process for each student and her/his advisor; it must be customized, often by trial-and-error, during the process itself.
Junior year, Spring
- Student meets with all appropriate faculty to identify a thesis advisor and topic.
- Student registers for AH371 for fall semester, senior year.
- Advisor alerts student to available funds and deadlines, such as Student Opportunity Funds and the Harry Gaugh Fund.
Senior year, Fall
- During the first week of classes, student confirms with advisor her/his intent to proceed and drafts a schedule for readings and meetings, in consultation with advisor.
- Student begins bibliographic research.
- During the semester, the student continues substantial research to gather relevant material and identify an argument while meeting regularly with her/his advisor to discuss progress.
- By the end of the semester, the student completes a comprehensive annotated bibliography; identifies an argument, presents it in a written proposal and discusses with his/her advisor an acceptable format for the thesis (including introduction, transitions, conclusion, and citation).
- The student will also discuss with her/his advisor a potential second reader, a faculty member from within the art history department, or from another department or program.
- The student registers for AH381.
NOTE: if a student decides not to complete the thesis, or the advisor decides the student should not continue with the project, s/he needs to renegotiate with her/his advisor the nature of the final project for AH371 credit, which will be due at the end of the fall semester.
Winter break: Student begins drafting the thesis.
Senior year, Spring
- During the first week of classes, the student meets with her/his advisor to confirm intent to proceed; consults advisor about finalizing second reader selection; plans a writing schedule; and identifies revision due dates for sections/chapters.
- During the semester, the student meets regularly with his/her advisor to discuss writing progress.
- The advisor may inform the student that s/he should have a completed draft by the deadline for the art history and other potential prizes (on or about April 1). If the advisor nominates the student's thesis, a nearly final draft will be submitted by the student for prize consideration; art history faculty evaluate submissions for art history prizes.
- All students revise their theses until the end of classes, incorporating feedback
s, second readers, and possibly other faculty. Students submit final drafts to their advisors by the end of the semester.