Art History & Art Conservation

Department of Art History & Art Conservation

Guidelines Regarding the M.A. Thesis

It is to be noted that "The master's thesis should demonstrate that the candidate is capable of original and independent work...", and also that "A critical review of previous work related to the subject and a concluding summation of the contribution made in the thesis to scholarship in the chosen field must be included in the thesis."

With regard to the thesis topic, students should first discuss their ideas with a potential supervisor, and may seek advice from the Graduate Coordinator. Reading should then proceed toward a program of research. Once the reading has reached a clear focus on a problem, or on a subject needing critical re-evaluation, a thesis proposal should be written. The format of the thesis proposal will vary, depending on the nature of the topic but, in general, it should not be longer than two typewritten pages plus a bibliography and will include the following information:

  1. a summary of the state of the question in the existing literature;
  2. the significance and nature of the proposed contribution or interpretation; and
  3. the sources to be consulted

With the agreement of the supervisor, the thesis proposal should then be submitted in electronic form to the Graduate Coordinator, who will present it to the Art History Graduate Committee for approval.

Normally research begins at the beginning of the second term, and the thesis proposal is submitted for approval at the end of the term Students should then be able to complete the thesis in time to graduate a either the spring or fall convocation of the following year. Please note that faculty members usually travel in the summer to undertake research and there can be no expectation of their availability between May and August. Students should consult their supervisors about their willingness to accept work submitted by E-mail, or posted using QSHARE. This cannot be assumed.

It is important that the supervisor and student choose a topic and an approach to the topic that are suitable; a thesis must address the chosen topic at a scholarly level. The readers for whom the final text is prepared are the Thesis Examining Committee, composed of a chairperson (head of department or head's delegate), the supervisors, and at least one other faculty member ( from the department or external to the department), all selected by the department. This committee will be accustomed to evaluation arguments of theses, but will not necessarily be expert in the given field. (Therefore, any references to the background of the topic must be explained fully). The thesis should also be of use to other scholars who may wish to consult it (with permission, and according to copyright safeguards).