Honors In Art History

Art History
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Department of Art and Art History Guidelines for Earning Honors in the Art History Major

These requirements have been developed in order to standardize the thesis writing process and to make department policies transparent and easy to follow.  The art history faculty has devised the requirements to guide you in the production of advanced art historical or archaeological research and writing as preparation for graduate school and/or museum work, art publishing, or other professional activity.

In order to earn honors in the major in Art History, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.33 within the major, and complete a two (2) semester research project that culminates in the production of a thesis document.  Achievement will be measured primarily on the eventual quality of the document, rather than on its length.  It is much more important to produce a number of drafts and revisions leading to a refined final product, rather than to reach a certain number of pages.  That said, the project should result in a document ca. 40-50 pages in length.  While the content of the thesis should emphasize Art Historical material, students are encouraged to explore questions that require the utilization of ancillary disciplines (eg. Archaeology, Anthropology, Classical Studies, Critical Media Studies, History, Studio Art, Women’s Studies) whose perspective can provide interpretive insight into visual culture.


Where to Begin?

Students should begin the process by consulting with members of the faculty regarding a possible topic during the Spring Semester of their Junior year.

The student should then download the forms for an independent study project from the Office of Student Records at the following address: http://r-net.rollins.edu/studentrecords/download-independent-study.html.  The student must fill out this form as an independent study in Art History (ARH 498-499) in conjunction with their proposed advisor.  The form will serve as a prospectus for the project, and requires the approval of the Thesis Advisor, the Department Chair, and the proposed members of the committee before the process can proceed.

Because this is the stage of the process where students can take advantage of significant feedback from the members of the committee, students will schedule a meeting with the entire committee to discuss a rough draft of the prospectus during the Spring Semester of their Junior year (3 semesters before graduation).

The form must be signed and delivered to the Office of the Dean of Faculty by the end of the first day of classes for the Fall Semester of their Senior year (2 semesters before graduation).

The following will serve as a required text for all students undertaking ARH 498-499:

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams.  The Craft of Research.  2nd Ed.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.


Thesis Advisor

Students should select one of the Art History Faculty as a Thesis Advisor.  This individual will serve as a mentor for the project. The Thesis Advisor will be responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the project. The relationship of student and advisor is necessarily a close one and students should consider issues of personality and compatibility, as well as field of specialization when choosing a Thesis Advisor.

Students will develop a research plan, as well as a proposed schedule for the thesis project in conjunction with their faculty advisor.  Students will be held accountable by their faculty advisor for adhering to the deadlines contained in the research plan.  Students are strongly encouraged to begin the process of writing early, even before the whole of the research is complete so that they will have significant time to revise.


The Thesis Committee

The Thesis Committee for Honors in the Major in Art History shall consist of three members, and will include the student’s Thesis Advisor and at least one other faculty member from the Art History Department.  Due to the inter-disciplinary nature of Art History, we strongly encourage students to invite the participation of a faculty member from outside the department as the third member of the Thesis Committee.  Students should communicate with their committee members about their expected level of involvement at an early stage in the project.


The Thesis Document 

The Honors Thesis is the opportunity to engage in Art Historical research at an advanced level.  The Thesis Document should reflect a great deal of care, and should demonstrate mastery of both basic and advanced methodologies pertinent to the discipline.  The document should be written in formal prose and should follow consistent rules of organization, usage, and style.

Format Guidelines

Students are asked to follow a number of formatting guidelines in order to facilitate ease of proofreading.  Students should employ an easily readable font, such as Times New Roman or Garamond.  The main text of the Thesis Document should appear in 12 point font, while footnotes and blocked quotations should use 10 point font.  Students should double-space the main body of the document.


The Thesis Document should contain the following sections:

1)      Title Page

2)      Table of Contents

3)      List of Figures

4)      Bibliography


Students are encouraged to include images within the text or as supplementary figures.  Images should be clear, and reproduced at a scale in which elements of detail discussed in the text are discernable.  The text should include cross-references to figures and illustrations as a guide to the reader when supplementary visual material is available.  Images may be used under the provision of Fair Academic Use without the express consent of the copyright holder when contained within unpublished theses, but must be cited in a way that credits the source of the visual material.


Sources, both textual and visual, within the Thesis Document should be fastidiously cited. Citation separates plagiarism from scholarship.  Citation should be consistent throughout the document, and should follow the format spelled out in the following reference:

University of Chicago Press.  The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers.  16th ed.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

The Thesis Document should contain footnotes in addition to a formal bibliography. 

The Thesis Defense

Students will defend their thesis during the Spring Semester of their Senior year (semester of expected graduation).  The defense shall consist of a brief (20 minute) presentation of the argument of the thesis followed by a question and answer period with the Thesis Committee, not to exceed 60 minutes.   The defense must occur on or before the first Friday in April in order to allow time for corrections before final submission.  The student must provide the committee with a finished copy of the thesis at least two (2) weeks before the date of the defense.  Students will not be allowed to defend theses that are partially complete.

The defense is an opportunity for the student and the committee to reflect on the ideas contained within the thesis, as well as the methods of argumentation employed and the organizational characteristics of the document.  Students are expected to incorporate the suggestions of the committee into the final version of the thesis.  The final version of the thesis must be submitted to the Thesis Advisor and the Chair of the Department of Art History on or before the last day of classes during the Spring Semester (semester of expected graduation).


Grading and Determination of Honors

The grade for the thesis shall be determined by the Thesis Advisor in consultation with the members of the Thesis Committee.  Students will receive a grade determined by their Thesis Advisor at the end of the Fall Semester reflecting progress made, and the ability to meet production deadlines.  Students must receive at least a (B) in order to continue with the thesis process in the Spring Semester.  The grade for the spring independent study will take into account the totality of the Thesis Project and will be derived according to the following rubric:

45% - consultation, ability to meet production deadlines (determined by Thesis Advisor)

45% - quality of the finished Thesis Document (determined by Thesis Committee)

10% - performance at Thesis Defense (determined by Thesis Committee)

Honors in the Major represent a substantial investment in time and intellectual energy.  It marks the highest level of achievement in Art History.  Therefore, students must receive a grade of (A-) or (A) in order to obtain this recognition.

An Honors Thesis is the opportunity for students to produce a substantial body of research and to generate a professional document.  The document can serve as an excellent writing sample to accompany applications for graduate study.  Students are also encouraged to present their findings at a regional or national professional conference.  A well-written thesis is the best indicator of a student’s ability to succeed in a graduate program.  As such, an Honors Thesis can be a stepping-stone toward a graduate program.

Department of Art and Art History
1000 Holt Avenue - 2774
Winter Park, FL 32789
Phone: 407.646.2498
Fax: 407.628.6395