As part of the second year here in the Photography MFA program at Columbia, you will be required to write a thesis paper. I am currently involved in the process.I am not really sure how thesis works at other institutions, as I haven’t attended any other MFA programs and it’s not something I asked about while I was looking at other programs. While not a major part of the program, it is something to know about before making your decision.
Our thesis here at Columbia consists of a 25-30 page paper. That is double spaced, so in my world, that’s not too bad. The other important thing to know about the paper, and I go back and forth on how I feel about this particular issue, is that the thesis is not actually about your work. As in, you never even mention your own work. The paper can be on any issue regarding art that you are interested in. That being said, it makes a lot of sense to write on either an issue that surrounds your own work or an issue that you are struggling with in your own work. The idea behind the paper is that it ends up helping to inform the way that you talk about your own work, even though the paper focuses on other artists.
The class eats up the entire semester. We meet once a week for three hours. Sometimes we will meet as a group, as we have been doing over the past few weeks, and other times we meet one-on-one with the instructor of the course. The goal is to have the entire paper done by the time the course is over.
We have our first draft due this week. It was a little bit of a jump to go from outline to entire first draft in only 6 days, but that’s the way it is. I am meeting about it as this posts.
That’s all for now, but there will be updates on the process.