In order to begin work on the thesis project, students must first successfully propose their project to a committee of MFA Expanded Animation faculty. Their proposal is prepared during the spring semester of their second year as part of their pre-thesis class CTXA 591. A thesis project can be a collaboration with other graduates, departments or schools.
In order to pass the pre-thesis class, the thesis proposal must be presented and approved by the thesis committee at the end of the fourth semester. If the student elects to change their thesis proposal, they will need to arrange for an additional meeting with the committee to seek the committee’s approval. Throughout the pre-thesis and thesis years of study, students will meet regularly with an MFA Expanded Animation faculty adviser to develop and refine the proposal and discuss the progress of their work. The adviser will be a member of the thesis committee.
The proposal itself will include a written treatment of the project with a discussion of similar work in the field and its relationship to the proposed project. It will describe esthetic issues to be explored and specific techniques to be employed in its realization. It will also include storyboard or visualization documentation, budget, and schedule, in addition to supporting materials created by the student demonstrating his/her/their ability to pursue the project. The faculty committee will make comments and decide whether the student may go forward with his/her/their project. Upon acceptance, the student will begin work on the project, otherwise revising the proposal and meeting again with the committee.
A mid-residency review of the thesis project will take place in the first semester of the final year of study. The student must show that deadlines set in the proposal have been met and that progress consistent with the proposal has been made. The committee may, if necessary, suggest modifications to the project, which the student is then obligated to implement.
In the final year, students concentrate on their thesis projects, completing research, production and post-production. The student’s thesis will be presented to the committee upon completion
Completion is defined as a fully rendered, animated work with a completed soundtrack (guide mix acceptable). In the case of installation or gallery work the piece must be mounted in a suitable space with all sound and animated components completed and functional.
In the case of an interactive, VR, AR or AI driven work the piece must be fully functional with completed animation, sound, programming, and interactivity.
In addition to completion of the thesis project the student must provide the thesis committee with written and visual documentation of the research. This will be documented as a website or PDF. The documentation will comprise the following and could include a publishable research paper:
Artist’s statement and/or research paper
Learning objectives - focus of research
Type of project – animation, installation, AR, VR, AI, interactive etc.
Research presentation in what format/medium is the project to be seen
Script and storyboard or conceptual drawings if applicable
Style approach, including source references for image shot structure etc.
Sound design and references
Collaborators - if any
Audience - who is it intended for and who will benefit from the research
Marketing and distribution plan
Criteria for successful completion include: 40 percent originality, 40 percent quality of execution and 20 percent research documentation.