Second-year students are required to register for a two-semester sequence that includes Thesis (08:081:703) in the fall semester and Exhibition (08:081:704) in the spring semester. The sequence is a 4-credit per-semester course. Enrolled students are required to register for the Thesis Seminar in the fall semester, which meets weekly and is led by the graduate director. Additionally, students are expected to meet with each of their Thesis Advisory Committee members at least three times over the fall semester to have check-ins regarding the development of their Thesis Exhibition. In the spring semester, exhibition is driven independently by the graduate student who should be scheduling visits with their Thesis Advisory Committee to critique their thesis exhibition and develop their Thesis Exhibition one-pager as well as their expanded Thesis Statement.
Thesis Advisory Committee
In October of the fall semester, second-year students recruit three faculty members to serve on their Thesis Advisory Committee, asking one of the three to chair the committee. The chair is the "point person" for the committee and communicates with the student and faculty over any concerns, issues, or problems regarding the student's thesis. This committee will oversee the student's thesis, providing feedback and support as the student develops artwork leading to the thesis exhibition and group exhibition in New York. They will also oversee and advise on the student's Thesis Statement. It is the student's responsibility to schedule regular studio visits throughout the two semesters with all committee members, to view and discuss work-in-progress and the thesis statement.
In the spring semester, students are required to exhibit their work in a thesis exhibition at the Mason Gross Galleries. This exhibition is a culminating presentation of the student's artistic pursuit of two years of study in the program. Students are strongly encouraged to arrange meetings with other faculty not on their thesis or review committee to view and critique their work. In addition, the department provides $2,000 for the class to invite visiting critics to review the show.
M.F.A. Final Review
Taking place after the completion of the M.F.A. Thesis Exhibitions, the Final Review is a 60-minute defense of the student's work during which the student will present a 20-30 minute prepared presentation followed by 30 minutes of discussion and faculty feedback. The review is composed of the three faculty members, one of whom is on the student's Thesis Advisory Committee. The prepared presentation should address the student's creative and intellectual trajectory over the course of the program, addressing and contextualizing the student's full body of work created during their time in the graduate program including their Thesis Exhibition.
A three-to-five-page paper (no more than 2500 words) that is an expansion of the Artist Statement presented for the M.F.A. Final Review. The Thesis Statement is a text about the student's work, approach, ideas, and historical and contemporary context in which the student situates their artwork and production. The statement should not be viewed as an artwork in itself, but rather one that situates the student's ongoing body of work in an intellectual, critical, aesthetic, and social context. Students should take into consideration feedback from the Thesis Committee as well as their Thesis Reviewers. Students may consider this text as a template for future grant applications, fellowship proposals, and exhibition catalogues.
Thesis and Exhibition are pass/fail courses. Passing this course and graduation are contingent upon the successful and timely completion of the written thesis statement as well as the thesis exhibition and requires the approval of all three members of the thesis/exhibition advisory committee.