Student Handbook

Prelim Thesis Review

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You must be prepared to present your thesis proposal during your third semester of residency (third or fourth semester for students in Film Directing Program). This review is
to establish that your project is ambitious enough to merit the MFA degree, and that it is feasible given the time, means, and facilities available to you. Experience has taught us that if a thesis proposal is not approved in the third semester, it will not be completed by the end of the sixth semester.

The Preliminary Review clearly defines the standards by which the student and the Review Committee will judge the completed thesis. We recognize that definition of standards is extraordinarily difficult in all of the arts. Both students and faculty represent an extremely broad range of aesthetics and professional attitudes.

Nevertheless, evaluation of students and their work is essential, and one of our most important responsibilities. With this in mind, the Dean, Faculty Committee, and Student must clearly describe the agreed-upon expectations of the project for the record during the Preliminary Review and review the technical process and use of facilities.

Preliminary thesis review results in an official academic status, either approval or additional preliminary review. This report is filed on the Hub.

The student’s thesis idea is developed with their mentor. Once you and your mentor have agreed on your thesis proposal and on which faculty will make up your Committee, you must book your review date and time with the Film/Video office. If you do not book your review in a timely manner, a date and time will be assigned to you.

Once your review is booked, it cannot be rescheduled except in case of emergency.

See the next section, “Before Your Review Date,” for details on required paperwork and preparation to include with your review.

Before Your Review Date

At start of MFA2 year, meet with you mentor to discuss thesis ideas.

Four weeks before your review:

  • Meet with faculty and staff who are responsible for the facilities you plan on using
  • Turn in the completed authorization forms to the Film/Video office.
  • Provide a written proposal and receive signatures from each faculty / staff member responsible for the facilities you wish to use for production and post-production of your thesis project (see the attached Facilities Supervisor’s Authorization form).
    • This is required in an effort to make sure students have a clear understanding of what technical processes will be necessary for their project and that they know how to achieve their goals.
  • Meet with your mentor two weeks before your review date and bring to this meeting:
    • Completed Facilities Supervisor’s Authorization forms with signatures
    • Completed Post-Production Questionnaire
    • Completed forms are due to the Film/Video office two weeks before your review date.

Two weeks before your review:

• Turn in the completed authorization forms to the Film/Video office.

One week or earlier before your review:

  • • Provide a copy of the following items to each of the faculty on your review committee (via faculty mailbox or email):
    • a written statement describing your thesis project
    • a budget for all production and post-production expenses including sources of funds
    • for dramatic narrative projects: a shooting script
    • for Experimental Animation students: a storyboard

Changes to Your Thesis

If your approved thesis project changes, you must discuss the change with your mentor, and present a new written proposal to your Committee. A second review may be necessary. Any substantial changes in the technology used or in the length of the project must be accompanied by a new “Facilities Supervisor’s Authorization” form found in the MFA Thesis Packet.