Art History Written Senior Thesis

Description: All art history majors write a substantial research paper in their senior year. There are two options for fulfilling this requirement: Seniors have the option of doing a year-long thesis, or reworking and developing a seminar paper into a thesis through a one-semester participation in the Senior Thesis Seminar. The Senior Thesis Seminar would function for those interested in working on a thesis over the course of a year, but those deciding for the option of expanding a seminar paper would only join the course in the second semester. The intent is to offer an alternative to those with less interest in a major writing project.

Written Senior Thesis Options:

1. Students interested in participating in the year-long Senior Thesis Seminar should write a brief (one-page) description of their thesis topic and submit it to the appropriate adviser within the first two weeks of the fall semester. The potential adviser will determine the feasibility of the study in question and accept or decline to become the student’s adviser. Such a thesis should ultimately be approximately 30-50 pages long.

2. Students interested in expanding and enhancing a seminar paper will find a faculty adviser, preferably the professor with whom they wrote the original paper, willing to help them in its transformation into a thesis. They will then join the Senior Thesis in the spring semester of their senior year. In this context they will have an opportunity to present their ideas to the rest of the graduating class as well as members of the faculty so as to receive comments and suggestions as to how to develop their arguments. These created by these means should aim to be approximately 30 pages long.

Grades: Two grades will be awarded in connection with your work on the finished thesis. One will evaluate the way in which you have fulfilled the requirements of the Senior Research Seminar. That is, your participation and attendance in the Thesis Colloquium, the energy you have put into the research, the effort you have made in producing an original and challenging argument as well as a solidly constructed and polished piece of prose. Since the course is yearlong, students will receive a grade of Y (indicating year long course) for the fall semester and will receive their grade at the end of the spring term for the year. This grade will be assigned in the usual A through F spectrum. The other grade will be awarded on the basis of the evaluation of the thesis itself. This evaluation will consider whether or not the aims of the project were met: was the research sufficient to warrant the conclusions, is the argument of the thesis original as well as coherent and convincing, was the writing adequate to the ideas that had to be expressed? Very often the instructor will ask another member of the faculty to comment on the paper as well. This grade will either be a Pass with Distinction, a Pass or a Fail.

Note on Senior Thesis for Double and Combined Majors:
Please note the distinctions between the Double Major, the Double Major with a Single Essay, and the Combined Major. In the Double Major students will do all of the required course work for both majors and write two different Senior Essays that fulfill the requirements of each department. In the Double Major with Single Essay students do all of the required course work for the two majors and write only one essay read by an adviser in each major field. In the Combined Major students follow the requirements for coursework for a combined major and write a single senior essay also read by an adviser in each major field. To do a combine Art History and another major you will need to obtain a special form from the Dean of Studies office. The form needs to be signed by both department chairs. On the form you will need to list the sponsors from both departments along with the 6 courses from each major you plan to count towards the combine major. Any questions, please contact the Art History office.