The Master’s Project is the capstone of the Visual and Critical Studies program. Students apply their advanced knowledge of visual culture and their facility in visual criticism to an individual research/creative topic. Students will hone their research, writing, and verbal communication skills through the development of a master’s thesis. Individual research is augmented by support from a primary thesis advisor, as well as several external advisors. The process also involves collaborative exchange through group writing critiques. The project comprises four required elements: a written thesis, a symposium presentation, preparation of a poster for display during the season of graduate thesis events, and publication in the Sightlines journal.
The project fosters Interdisciplinarity through the use of multiple fields of study and methodologies, expanding and bridging disciplines in order to define new research problems and areas of study. Through methods of Critical Analysis, Masters candidates achieve proficiency in engaged, rigorous interpretation, drawing upon critical frameworks from diverse scholarly disciplines. While at the same time, subjecting these diverse critical methods to historical, philosophical, social, and political scrutiny. Historical and historiographic Context of Visual Culture is engaged to demonstrate a strong understanding of the role of the visual in contemporary society as well as historical and contemporary visual practices; master knowledge of the field of scholarship relating to these practices. Research skills are honed to Identify and advance a research problem; develop it as a significant contribution to a defined field of study. Candidates gain proficiency in collecting, evaluating, and interpreting a wide range of primary and secondary source materials, exhibit originality and expertise in making new arguments based on thoughtful and thorough primary research and written communication is honed in the advance of argumentation, style, and mechanics. Oral communication is developed to deliver oral presentations in a practiced, well-timed manner with well-conceived visual material. Masters candidates also develop effective strategies for answering the challenges of audience questions and committee review feedback.