Senior Capstone

Montserrat college of art offers a wide variety of art, design and writing programs in a student-centered environment that’s fun, rigorous and collaborative. whatever your passion, you’ll find classes, gallery shows and ideas that inspire you.


While the four senior programs differ in content, they share a similar structure and philosophy. Each is either one to two semesters of independent study; they encourage in-depth exploration of a self-designed topic and the development of a cohesive body of work. The project is guided by a faculty advisor(s) and culminates in a public exhibition, organized by the students in collaboration with the Gallery Director.

These seminars require and foster a high degree of self-discipline, seriousness and artistic maturity, intended to help students make the transition into professional life or graduate study. Aspects of Professional Practice are addressed in all the seminars, building on the internship completed in the previous year.

Entrance to Senior Studio Capstone
For students with concentrations in Animation + Interactive Media, Book Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interdisciplinary Arts, Painting, Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture, applications are accepted for Senior A+IM Seminar, Senior Fine Arts Seminar, Senior Design Seminar and Senior Illustration Thesis (elective only for illustration concentrators) during Fall and Spring Semesters. Some illustration students, upon review, may be advised to take alternative illustration electives. Senior Illustration Seminar is a requirement and although students must meet the quantitative academic criteria listed below to enroll, it is not applied for by portfolio review. It is recommended that Senior Illustration Seminar be taken during a student’s last Spring Semester of study.

Entrance to all Senior Programs in Animation + Interactive Media, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, and Illustration (Senior Illustration Thesis), is based upon a review by a faculty panel which will determine whether the student may enter the program. The following criteria will be considered for entrance:

A. The student must demonstrate the ability to work independently on a body of work with continuity of concept or focus;
B. The student must have earned a minimum of 90 cumulative credits*, completed required preparatory course work, and be able to demonstrate appropriate skills in the various media of the chosen concentration. BFA candidates must have completed English Composition I and II and Art History Origins and Art History Modern Developments (formerly Art History I and II).
C. The student must demonstrate a basic understanding of his or her work within an art historical context, or sufficient knowledge of the work of contemporary artists whose work is relevant;
D. The student must have earned a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher and be considered in good academic standing.
E. As outlined in the Student Handbook, all applicants to the Senior Programs must submit a written proposal at the time of the final evaluation. This statement should outline:

  1. what, specifically, the student plans to accomplish in the Senior Program (include here the type of work planned and the issues to be dealt with);
  2. how previous study has prepared the student for the Senior Program;
  3. how the Senior Program relates to the student’s long-term plans; and
  4. the context in which the student’s work is related to the field of Contemporary Visual Arts.

* This does not include future credits that may be earned or transferred in, including during the Summer or Winter Sessions at Montserrat College of Art or elsewhere.

Senior A+IM Seminar is a six-credit course that meets twice a week for one or two semesters. In this course students complete independently generated animation or interactive projects. Guided by an instructor, students create a comprehensive body of work, which explores a specific field of animation or interactive media. Particular attention is paid to the workflow and timeline of professional level work, and a thorough understanding of the market for such projects. Students work in their studios and participate in weekly group and/or individual critiques with the instructor. Specific business practices will be addressed throughout the semester through group discussions and readings.

Senior Fine Arts Seminar is a six-credit course that meets twice a week for two semesters. The program consists of three components. The first addresses the development of critical awareness through discussions, led by an art historian, of contemporary art and critical theory. The second component involves studio-based group activities and critiques, enhanced by the regular participation of visiting artists, curators and critics. In conjunction with these interactions, each student works closely with a faculty advisor throughout the senior year to develop a coherent body of work, to be presented in a public thesis exhibition in the senior gallery at 301 Cabot. Overall the SFAS successfully integrates studio practice and theory, and fosters self-discipline and self-reflection in the students. Furthermore, the consistent interaction between the students and visiting artists or scholars provides valuable exposure to “real work” situations and issues related to professional practice.

Senior Graphic Design Seminar Graphic designers enroll in the six-credit Senior Graphic Design Seminar and focus on self-defined projects, which are usually client- or user-oriented. The emphasis in the final year is on mentoring students as they become skilled, informed, creative designers, ready for the real world of work. The seminar leader and advisors help students to structure their independent work and offer continual feedback. Visiting designers, writers and professionals provide the design students with valuable exposure to outside viewpoints. The required internship, tailored to meet the interests of the individual student, complements the classroom study and independent research.

Senior Illustration Seminar is a three-credit course that meets twice a week and is offered only in the spring term. Illustration students enroll in Senior Illustration Seminar to learn the fundamental aspects of preparing for a career in Illustration. Students enrolling in Senior Illustration Seminar are required to take it during their final spring semester at Montserrat College of Art. Students may also opt to enroll in Senior Illustration Thesis to work on a singular proposed topic of work, though this is not required. Continual close contact with faculty throughout the senior year is integral to the senior illustration experience. Furthermore, the interaction between the students and visiting artists, as well as the internship, provide valuable exposure to “real work” situations and issues relating to professional practice.

Montserrat College of Art

23 Essex Street
Beverly, MA 01915

978.921.4242 x 1192
fax: 978.922.4268

23 Essex Street
Beverly, MA 01915

Toll-Free: 800.836.0487
Phone: 978.921.4242 x1153
Fax: 978.921.4241