Guidelines for Preparation of Master s Thesis in Art History

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1 Guidelines for Preparation of Master s Thesis in Art History The MA thesis represents the final step in the completion of your MA in Art History degree at Studio Art Centers International (SACI). It should embody originality of thinking underscored by solid research on both a primary and secondary level. Primary research often involves examining archival material such as an artist s personal papers and correspondence or the readings of their contemporaries. The thesis should test your ability to gather, evaluate, and present historical material in a critical and professional manner. It is intended to prepare you for further study on the doctoral level or as an end in itself to equip you with the skills necessary for a professional career in Art History. Post Bac and MA theses completed at SACI are retained in the SACI Worthington Library and are available for you to review. Selecting a Research Topic It is never too early to start thinking of a subject for your research. The selection process normally begins as part of the Graduate Seminar in Art History I, which must be taken during your first semester in the program. It may involve expansion of a previously completed paper or develop from work begun in Graduate Seminar in Art History I, another course, or Directed Independent Study at SACI. It must be of sufficient originality to be worthy of further study and not simply a recapitulation of existing scholarly work. The thesis should not be viewed as a longer, more extensive term paper but rather an opportunity to explore new ideas. It can be monographic, stylistic, iconographic, or theoretical in its approach. Make sure that you are enthusiastic about the topic from the very beginning as it takes a great deal of mental and physical energy to produce a well organized and well written study with the proper documentation and illustrations. You should begin research on the subject and prepare an outline of the thesis during your first semester in the program. The writing of the thesis should begin then as well and continue, along with further research on the subject, in Graduate Seminar in Art History II, which must be taken during your second semester in the program. Final research and writing of the thesis is conducted over the summer in MA Thesis I and II during the Late Spring and Summer terms. This work can be complemented by Directed Independent Study relating to the thesis topic during both of these terms. Selecting a Major Professor One of the principal roles of the Major Professor is to aid students in formulating, researching, and writing their theses. The Major Professor should be a SACI faculty member who is a specialist in your chosen area and, ideally, someone with whom you can establish both a scholarly and personal relationship during your course of study at SACI. Although the Major Professor can be of assistance in refining an appropriate topic, you should already have several ideas in mind before beginning the discussion. The choice of Major Professor is an important one. It is the responsibility of the Major Professor to provide direction and criticism that complements the direction and criticism that you receive from the MA Thesis I and II Instructor and the Director of the MA in Art History Program (who is also the instructor of Graduate Seminar in Art History I and II). The thesis must be approved by your Major Professor, MA Thesis I and II Instructor, and the Director of the MA in Art History Program. The Major Professor is selected early in the Fall term. To help with this process, prior to the term you should (1) begin to think about possible thesis topics and (2) review in the Faculty section of the SACI

2 website the curriculum vitae, biographies, and teaching philosophies of instructors who are knowledgeable about areas and subjects likely to be of importance to your thesis. The Major Professor is normally chosen from SACI s faculty and must have expertise in the Major Discipline. Scholars not on SACI s faculty may serve as the Major Professor with the approval of the Director of the MA in Art History Program. The Major Professor serves as your principal advisor and is a member of your Graduate Review Board. During Orientation, you will meet with the Director of the MA in Art History Program and other Art History instructors to discuss your course of study and review possible Major Professors. The Director of the MA in Art History Program will be available thereafter to help you to select an appropriate Major Professor for the term. As you continue in the program, you will have other opportunities to meet instructors with whom you may want to work with closely, whether as a Major Professor, Directed Independent Study supervisor, instructor of a class in which you are planning to enroll, or in another capacity. You may retain the instructor you initially select as your Major Professor throughout the academic year or you may change your Major Professor in subsequent terms. If you decide to change your Major Professor in a subsequent term, you must do so prior to the beginning of the term and first obtain the approval of the Director of the MA in Art History Program. Guides to Art Research and Thesis Writing Before beginning the thesis, it is recommended that you consult the following books: Barnet, Sylvan. A Short Guide to Writing About Art, 10 th ed. New York: Prentice Hall, Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7 th ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America, Tucker, Amy. Visual Literacy: Writing About Art. New York: McGraw Hill, Turabian, Kate L.: A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 8 th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Either the MLA Handbook or Turabian s Manual should be followed consistently. Particular attention should be paid to guidelines concerning the use of ideas, facts, and quotations from scholarly works. Formatting Length: The thesis must be at least 50 pages in length. The number of pages beyond this amount will depend on the subject and should be arrived at in consultation with the Major Professor, MA Thesis I and II Instructor, and Director of the MA in Art History Program. Paper: The thesis must be printed on white standard A4 paper. Font: A single font should be used throughout the thesis, the only exception being appendices. Margins: Text margins: 1.5 on the left, 1 for the right, top, and bottom. Numbering: Beginning with the first page of Acknowledgments or Preface, if used, all preliminary pages preceding the actual text must be numbered in lower case Roman numerals (e.g., iii, iv, v, etc.) These include the Table of Contents and List of Illustrations. Do not number the copyright page, the title page, or the dedication. 2

3 The first page of the text begins with the Arabic numeral 1. All pages within the text must contain an Arabic page number. Consecutive numbering should also be used for the Bibliography and the Appendices following the text. Title Page: The first page of the thesis must bear the title of the thesis, the full name of the candi, the year of completion, the names and signatures of the Major Professor, MA Thesis I and II Instructor, and Director of the MA in Art History Program. The page must also include the following inscription: Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master Arts in Art History at Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy See below, page 4, for an example of a formatted title page. Spacing: The thesis must be double spaced. Single spacing may be used only in the Table of Contents, footnotes or end notes, quotations, captions, Appendices, and Bibliography. Footnotes or end notes and Bibliography must be single spaced, with double spacing between notes and entries. Notes may appear as footnotes or end notes, the latter appearing at either the end of a chapter or at the end of the thesis. Prose quotations over three lines long should be in block form, double or single spaced, and indented on the left. Quotation marks should not be used in the block quote. Illustrations: Photographs or digital imagery are preferred. High quality, legible photocopies, properly mounted, are also acceptable. Any mounting (illustrations, graphs, charts, photographs) must be done with a permanent adhesive such as dry mounting. Tape, staples, or other mechanical fasteners are unacceptable. If insertions of oversize material cannot be avoided, fold in such sheets from right to left: the left margin of illustration pages must be at least 2 inches. The right hand top and bottom margins should be one inch. The List of Illustrations which appears at the beginning of your thesis should include the following information: Figure Number, Artist, Title, Medium, Measurements,, and Location. If the thesis is monographic in approach, you may opt to state at the top: All works are by [name of artist] unless otherwise indicated. Thesis Approval Prior to the end of the Summer term, the thesis must be approved and signed on the title page by your Major Professor, MA Thesis I and II Instructor, and the Director of the MA in Art History Program. The Director of the MA in Art History Program will then give to the Assistant Dean/Registrar the signed and completed Thesis Approval Form (see page 5 below) and to the Director of Information Resources the approved thesis for permanent retention in the SACI Worthington Library. 3

4 [Thesis Title] by [Student s Name] Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Art History at Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy [year] Approved by: [Typed Name of Major Professor] [Typed Name of MA Thesis I & II Instructor] [Typed Name of Director of MA in Art History Program] 4

5 STUDIO ART CENTERS INTERNATIONAL MASTER OF ARTS IN ART HISTORY PROGRAM THESIS APPROVAL FORM Student Name: SSN: Address After Graduation: a candi for the degree of Master of Arts in Art History has successfully completed a thesis entitled: Accepted in fulfillment of the thesis requirement for (month/year) This work has been approved by: Major Professor MA Thesis I & II Instructor Director of the MA in Art History Program Upon approval of the thesis, this form will be submitted by the Director of the MA in Art History Program to the Assistant Dean/Registrar 5

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