Thesis Art History

Preparing an Art History Honors Thesis

Registration and Reports

Before registering for the Senior Honors Thesis ART 4510, students must complete the Art Department Senior Honors Thesis Contract and get all the requisite signatures. 

By the end of the second week of classes students should have completed a proposal for the art honors thesis that has been approved by the student’s honors thesis committee. Also by the end of the second week of classes the student and thesis committee should negotiate a timeline for completing different phases of the thesis project. Readers should have time to read and respond to the draft or project and return a copy with suggestions to the student before the oral examination.  The student should submit to the thesis committee the completed thesis no later than ten days before the last day of classes.

The senior honors thesis committee will consist of a minimum of two fulltime faculty. The chair of the committee must be a fulltime faculty member of the Art Department. The second reader may be a fulltime Art Department faculty member or a faculty member from another department at ASU. The student has the option to include a third reader from among the fulltime Art Department faculty or fulltime faculty from another department on campus.

The Department of Art requires that style and mechanics in Art History honors theses submitted in partial fulfillment for the Honors Program in Art and for graduation with honors in Art History follow instructions set forth in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, latest edition.

Students who wish to combine Art Honors and University Honors should consult the guidelines found at

Senior Thesis

An art history thesis honors thesis will consist of an independent and in depth scholarly inquiry into a topic of the students choosing. Though the value of a thesis does not depend on its length, a paper of about twenty-five to thirty-five (25-35) typed pages seems to be adequate.  The major professor and the members of the thesis committee should be the final judges.

The Oral Examination

Each student who completes a senior thesis in the Art Department's Honors Program is required to give an oral presentation and defense of the thesis to the committee.  The student will give a twenty-minute presentation of the project, discussing the choice of subject, the research methods, the specific methods of procedure, and a resume of the thesis.  The student will then answer questions posed by members of the thesis committee. The chair of the thesis committee is in charge of the oral examination.

University vs. Departmental Honors

University Honors “creative projects must include a written component of at least 10 pages describing the process and project in addition to a copy of the project itself (such as a recording, film, or set of images).” Please see for specifics about the University Honors thesis and the differences between a University Honors thesis and a Departmental Honors thesis. 

Copies and Distribution

A minimum of two final copies is required, one for the major professor and the thesis committee, the other for the Coordinator of the Art Honors Program.  Please see for specifics on submitting your final thesis copies. 

Signature of Acceptance

See for the appropriate title page format. All members of the thesis committee will determine the student's final grade for Art 4510.


An abstract, not to exceed two hundred words, is required for senior honors theses.  The purpose of the abstract is to give the reader a concise and accurate synopsis of the significant elements of the manuscript.