The MODA Thesis

All students in the MODA program are required to enroll in the MA thesis for two semesters during their final year, in order complete a Masters thesis. The process, however, commences the semester prior to registering for the thesis, during which time students must develop an initial topic, and approach a faculty member(s) to serve as a potential advisor. Typically, MODA students select their advisors from among the Modern and Contemporary faculty, including the MODA director, in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia and the Barnard art history department; however, depending upon the topic, students should explore the range of faculty expertise in the departments to identify an appropriate advisor. Students must finalize their topic and secure a commitment from a faculty member to serve as their advisor by the start of the first semester in which they are enrolled in the MA thesis (which is typically the beginning of the Fall semester).

Students must submit their approved proposal, along with the signed Thesis Proposal form to the Graduate Programs Manager on the designated deadline. The Thesis Proposal form is normally due during the first four weeks of classes in the semester in which students intend to begin thesis research. The topic and advisor are approved only when a faculty member signs the form, thereby agreeing to be a student’s advisor and having approved the proposal. The advisor may require that the proposal be resubmitted with suggested changes before agreeing to sign this form.
Note: the deadline for an approved proposal and signed form is mandatory for all students and if not met, may result in the student having to delay start of the thesis to the following semester.

The options for the thesis (a written thesis, a thesis exhibition) and detailed guidelines for each one, can be found in the MODA Student Handbook, along with other important information about the process. All students are required to present work in progress and their final thesis during the Fall and Spring MA/MODA thesis presentation events, and deposit their final approved thesis to the Graduate Programs Manager by the designated date. Research and writing deadlines are determined in consult with the student’s thesis advisor.

Students who earn an A or A+ on their thesis have the option to submit their work to Columbia's Academic Commons. Please consult the Graduate Programs Manager for more details.