Department of Art History and Art

Case Art History Department Guidelines for the M.A. Qualifying Paper

revised, January 1998

  1. Original thinking is required. The paper should be more than just a compendium or synthesis of the ideas of others. You should have a thesis, articulate it at the outset, and then work through its implications toward a conclusion not reached by previous writers. You should be able to identify the state of existing research on your topic and advance knowledge beyond that state.

  2. If the qualifying paper is based on a class or seminar presentation, it should be able to stand on its own outside the context of the class. This may require a new framing device for your arguments and/or a reorganization of content to advance them.

  3. The length of the qualifying paper should be 20-30 pages including footnotes and bibliography. Footnotes (or endnotes) should be carefully prepared according to the format of articles submitted to the Art Bulletin. Copies of the Art Bulletin style guide may be obtained in the department office. Ideally, footnotes comprise a mix including relevant textual information related to your arguments, acknowledgment of sources for your own ideas, and suggestions to the reader as to where further information on certain points can be found. Footnotes and bibliography should reflect familiarity with the relevant foreign-language literature related to your topic.

  4. All works discussed in the text should be illustrated with a legible xerox reproduction. Each illustration should be numbered and labeled either in the form of captions or in a list of illustrations appended to the text. All pages of text and appendices should be numbered and secured with staples or some other permanent method of attachment. All text should be proofread for spelling, grammar, and clarity before submission.

  5. Each student writing a qualifying paper should arrange with a professor to serve as primary reader and work with that professor to identify another as second reader. The first draft should be submitted to the primary reader for review; all subsequent drafts should be submitted to both readers simultaneously. In the Spring semester first drafts are due in early February and final drafts in early March. Exact dates will be announced by January 30.