Master's students work closely with a supervisor to prepare a thesis proposal for submission to the Graduate Program Committee, to plan their thesis research, and to prepare and revise multiple drafts. MA theses are 13,000 - 15,000 words in length (plus notes, title page, abstract, acknowledgements, table of contents, list of illustrations, figures, bibliography, and appendices where applicable).

Please see the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) master's thesis page for comprehensive information (deadlines, formatting, examination committee, submission, and graduation), making note of the MA Thesis Submission Deadlines below. The Art History MA does not require an oral defence.

Timeline at-a-glance

Year 1: Thesis preperation
Supervisor Selection Thesis Proposal Review of sources (ARTH 654)

During first term (fall)

Thesis Supervision Form due December 15

First Monday in March Summer term
Year 2: Thesis submission
  First Full Draft to Supervisor

Apply to graduate  Examination Committee submission1 Spectrum final submission2
Spring Convocation (avoiding winter fees) September 1 
January 15 November 26 December 31 
Spring Convocation  November 15  January 15  February 25 April 1 
Fall Convocation April 1 July 15  July 28 September 1

Students should aim to submit their work ahead of these dates whenever possible.

(1) Initial thesis submission to Examination Committee: The Department deadline is 5 weeks before the final submission. This is earlier than the SGS deadline. It is the student’s responsibility to verify this timeline with their supervisor and examiners. 

(2) Final submission to Spectrum: Once students have completed all the changes requested by their committee, they will send the finalized thesis to the supervisor in PDF/A format, requesting permission to submit on Spectrum. The supervisor responds, cc'ing the Department Assistant and the Graduate Program Director.  Students submit to Spectrum once they have received this permission.


Please note

  1. Students entering the program normally choose a supervisor in their first term of study and submit a Thesis Supervision Form by December 15.
  2. Students work with their supervisors to prepare a thesis proposal for submission to the Graduate Program Committee by the first Monday in March.
  3. The main body of thesis research is normally conducted during the summer of the first year (ARTH 654). Returning students should schedule a meeting with their supervisors in the first two weeks of September to determine a thesis plan and writing deadlines.
  4. When the supervisor determines that the text is ready for submission, theses are read by an examining committee, which may require changes.  Once finalized and approved, theses are deposited on Spectrum.
  5. Students may deposit their theses at any time during the year, but those wishing to attend a specific convocation ceremony must meet certain deadlines.
  6. Unless otherwise agreed, supervisors and readers return written drafts to students within three weeks.

Spring graduation

Students intending to graduate in the spring must deposit their finalized theses in Spectrum by April 1 and have a reader-ready draft complete by February 25.  Because students will prepare and revise multiple drafts before their text is ready for examination, they are advised to submit a first full draft of their thesis to their supervisor no later than November 15, and earlier if possible.

Fall graduation

Students intending to graduate in the spring must deposit their finalized theses in Spectrum by September 1 and have a reader-ready draft completed by July 28, except where faculty members’ summer schedules necessitate an earlier submission date.  Because students will prepare and revise multiple drafts before their text is ready for examination, they are advised to submit a first full draft of their thesis to their supervisor no later than April 1.  Again, summer schedules may necessitate earlier submission, so extra planning and communication is required, and earlier submissions are always preferable.

NOTE: The Department of Art History assists students who adhere to these deadlines to meet their target graduation dates. However, because it is not possible to predict with certainty the number of drafts a thesis will require, students should maintain flexibility in their planning.


See also

Applying to graduate

The application to graduate is separate from the thesis submission process. There are two graduation application deadlines each year:

  • January 15 – June convocation application deadline
  • July 15 – November convocation application deadline

Ready? Apply to graduate

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