210.010 – Components of Final Thesis Project

Revised: October 2019

The Master of Fine Arts degree at Maine Media College is contingent upon a Candidate’s successful completion of the 9-credit final thesis project.

The thesis project is comprised of four elements: a discrete creative work, a written thesis, an oral presentation to take place at a Candidate’s final retreat, and a public exhibition or screening of the creative portion of the thesis. The MFA Committee and relevant MFA Faulty must accept all elements before the degree will be granted.

The studio component is to be a discrete creative work. Upon successful completion and acceptance of this component by the MFA Committee, a Candidate receives 6 studio credits toward the degree. The work may consist of printed or screen displayed images, a film or screenplay, a media presentation, installation, or other form as agreed to by a Candidate, Mentor, and Advisor, and in accordance with the proposal set forth as part of the Penultimate Review.

A Candidate must make arrangements and successfully bring to fruition a public presentation of all or a substantial part of the creative component of the thesis. The presentation must occur at a venue appropriate to the work. The Candidate shall submit documentation of the public presentation only if said presentation occurs at any time other than during an MFA Retreat and/or at a location as such a distance from campus that would reasonably be deemed prohibitive by the Committee. If the public presentation is to occur subsequent the oral presentation, the Candidate must submit documentation of the public presentation as soon as possible. Maine Media College will retain this documentation for its library. The Candidate will not graduate until such documentation is reviewed and approved by the MFA Committee.

The written thesis must contain components focused on contextual research, an analysis of process and critical exposition. A Candidate earns three credits for the successful completion and acceptance of the written thesis. The written thesis must be appropriately bound or packaged and must fit on a standard library shelf. The Library will pay for and arrange binding for traditional thesis. The Candidate is responsible for binding/packaging of a non- traditional thesis. It is a Candidate’s responsibility to appropriately label all documentation of the Thesis Project submitted to the Library and include two original signature pages to circulate among members of the MFA Committee and project mentors.

The contextual research component of the written thesis should be focused on works and texts salient to the understanding of a Candidate’s artistic statement. A Candidate should provide visual examples of these works and properly cite theoretical and historical texts used as reference. The written thesis must contain a section that analyzes and traces the development of a Candidate’s working process. Whenever possible, visual examples of works discussed (their own as well as those of other artists who have influenced the Candidate’s working methods and process) should be provided to support the analysis. The written thesis must contain a section devoted to the critical analysis of the final project. The combination of the final project and the content of the written thesis must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the MFA Committee:

  1. That the Candidate has a sufficiently strong grounding in the relevant history, theory, and criticism of their chosen art forms, and the contemporary social, conceptual and aesthetic issues touched upon by their work;
  2. That the Candidate has sufficient analytical, visual, technical and critical expertise about their own work and process to sustain professional practice beyond the MFA program;
  3. That the Candidate has sufficient tools, technical and intellectual, needed to express themselves meaningfully in the social and professional contexts in which they live and work as well as the potential for making original contributions to their fields of endeavor.

The oral presentation of the Thesis Project takes place at a Candidate’s final retreat. It consists of a presentation and critique of the studio component of the Thesis Project and a discussion of the material in the written thesis. A Candidate should be prepared to respond to questions and comments by the MFA Committee members.

The MFA Committee evaluates Thesis Projects as it does other mentored projects. However, the Committee in its evaluation also considers the discussion of the thesis papers.