Thesis Committee

Students who are passed on to thesis may select a major professor from the graduate faculty with the approval of the graduate coordinator. The major professor, customarily from the student’s area of focus, then becomes the chair of the student’s thesis committee.

The committee is composed of a minimum of three members (maximum of five) selected primarily from the graduate faculty. Students then solicit other faculty to complete the committee subject to the approval of the chair. Two members must be from outside the student’s area of focus. At least one member must possess “full member” status within the graduate faculty. It is recommended that an art historian be included on the committee. A committee may include a member of the LSU graduate faculty from outside the School of Art if approved by the graduate coordinator. Emeritus School of Art faculty may be selected to serve as voting or advisory members of thesis committees.

Thesis Proposal

Students in the first semester of Thesis Research (ART 8000) must submit a one page typed thesis proposal to their committee chair no later than the tenth day of the semester. This concise proposal must include a title and should touch on the following questions:

  • What will be the focus of the studio work?
  • Why will this new work be significant to the student’s development?
  • How will the work be carried out?

In addition to the title, the student should also include materials/media, themes, and a well-thought-out concept. The proposal must be reviewed by the committee chair before it is distributed to the committee. A thesis proposal meeting is to be held no later than the fifteenth day of the semester. It is the student’s responsibility to email members of their committee to set up the meeting. A suggested method is conducting a Doodle poll to establish the date. Faculty email addresses can be found at After the proposal is thoroughly discussed and approved, the student may begin work on a thesis project to include the approved studio work and written thesis support. Two copies of the approved proposal and a list of thesis committee members must be submitted to the graduate coordinator. The thesis project is to be completed over a minimum of two semesters.

Thesis Report

The report may summarize or recount aspects of the creation of the studio work. A paper length of 10-25 pages that include images of the thesis exhibition work is normal. A typed draft must be given to the committee chair for review and correction at least four weeks prior to the scheduled oral examination. The final draft of the report must be submitted to the committee members at least one week prior to the examination. Students must use the Graduate School Guidelines for the preparation of theses and dissertations. Helpful links can be found at the LSU Graduate School website.

Master’s Examination

The student prepares and submits an Application for Master’s Degree to the LSU Graduate School (check critical dates). Two copies of this form are due to the graduate coordinator two weeks prior to the Graduate School deadline.

The request for Master’s Examination and Degree Audit form (with the list of thesis committee members) is submitted to the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the oral examination deadline or by the deadline for degree candidates, whichever comes earliest. Note: one must pay close attention to these dates. The graduate coordinator will send out reminders via email.

Thesis Exhibition & Oral Examination

An MFA candidate must schedule an exhibition or presentation of the completed thesis project. Previous studio work may not be included, nor any work completed outside the approved thesis proposal. The LSU School of Art Foster Gallery and the Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Gallery at the Shaw Center are customary venues for the exhibition and oral examination. Other exhibition and exam sites must be approved by the thesis committee. Early in the term prior to the one in which one expects to graduate, the gallery director and the graduate coordinator will schedule a critical meeting at which all thesis exhibitions will be scheduled for the school’s galleries.

After oral examination, the student may need to revise and correct the thesis report, incorporating recommendations made by the committee. The revised report is then resubmitted by the student to the committee chair for final approval. The completed Master’s Examination form with faculty signatures is then submitted by the committee chair to the Graduate School. One copy of the completed thesis report is submitted to the Graduate School editors (with whom one must schedule an appointment; see Graduate School Guidelines) in a PDF format for review. The final version will be submitted electronically by the student. One printed copy of the thesis report should be submitted by the student to the School of Art office. Examples of earlier submitted thesis reports can be found by going to the Graduate School website. Check Graduate School deadlines and required procedures for preparing the thesis report with visual materials.

The submission to the School of Art, through the committee chair, of digital images of the individual works from the thesis exhibition at the time of the defense is a requirement for the degree. MFA thesis portfolio guidelines are included in the MFA Graduate Student Handbook.

View the MFA Graduate Student Handbook for more information about thesis procedures.

View thesis portfolios (filter by thesis).