DS MFA Third Year Thesis Proposal and Exhibition

The third year thesis proposal, final thesis, and MFA exhibition are required milestones.


Third Year Thesis Proposal

Due October 15 of the third year

(1000 words minimum)

Students are expected to share the thesis proposal with the faculty advisor within the first three weeks of the fall semester of the third and final year of the MFA program. The document must then be approved by the faculty advisor no later than October 15th of the final year of the MFA program. Upon approval by the faculty advisor, the thesis proposal should be shared with the full MFA committee. The student will then schedule a meeting with the faculty advisor and committee to discuss the full proposal by the end of the fall semester of the third and final year of the MFA program.

The thesis should include a statement discussing the research intended to be conducted and presented as the MFA thesis exhibition (the work may deviate from this statement as the year progresses, but should describe what the candidate is considering from a material, process and content perspective; include potential presentation options; this is an opportunity to think through and share the starting point for the thesis presentation).


Final Thesis and Third Year MFA Exhibition

Minimum of 6 credits, required milestone

Students must take at least 3 credits of DS 990 during each semester of the third and final year of the MFA program. For the MFA degree, the thesis includes the work in the exhibition AND the written thesis document. Both items are required for graduation. The MFA thesis exhibition may be held in the Design Gallery in Nancy Nicholas Hall unless otherwise determined by the student, with the faculty advisor’s approval. A checklist addressing responsibilities (financial and physical support) of mounting the show will be created in collaboration with the MFA faculty advisor, student, and gallery directors.

The written thesis will need to include:

  • An extended artist statement, which can take a variety of forms
  • A survey of contemporary and/or historic artists/designers whose work allies with the MFA candidates research
  • A comprehensive bibliography

The completed written thesis will be presented to the faculty advisor and the committee during the meeting that takes place at the candidates exhibition. The student is responsible for scheduling this meeting.


Design Studies MFA thesis examples: link to previous MFA thesis in Human Ecology: Design Studies (Coming Soon!)


School of Human Ecology Graduate Programs Handbook Copyright © 2022 by Michelle Holland. All Rights Reserved.

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