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 Capstones

For students with concentrations in Animation + Interactive Media, Art Education, Book Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interdisciplinary Arts, Painting, Photo/Video/Film, Printmaking and Sculpture, applications are accepted for Senior A+IM Thesis Projects, Senior Studio Arts Seminar, Senior Design Seminar and Senior Illustration Thesis Projects. For Illustration students, is recommended that Senior Illustration Business Practices be taken during a student’s last Spring Semester of study. For Art Education students, Senior Studio Capstones are optional and Teaching Practicum/Practicum Seminar is required. 

Entrance to all Senior Studio Capstones 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:

  1. The student must demonstrate the ability to work independently on a body of work with continuity of concept or focus;
  2. 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 Reading and Critical Thinking, Research and Rhetoric, Art History Origins, and Art History Modern Developments.
  3. The student must demonstrate a basic understanding of their own work within an art historical context, or sufficient knowledge of the work of contemporary artists whose work is relevant;
  4. The student must have earned a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher and be considered in good academic standing.
  5. As outlined in the Student Handbook, all applicants to the Senior Studio Capstones 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 Studio Capstone (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 Studio Capstone; 
    3. how the Senior Studio Capstone 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.

*Students not expected to be at 90 cumulative credits earned at the end of the semester in which they are applying should complete the Studio Capstone Petition process in order to participate in the studio capstone evaluation process.

Acceptance to all Senior Studio Capstones is provisional based upon the requirements and criteria listed above, including satisfactory completion of all courses in progress.

Those students who are deemed eligible (or whose petition has been approved) to apply to the Senior Studio Capstone must be registered for an evaluation with a Capstone Evaluation Panel.  Available time periods for evaluations will be communicated prior to the evaluation period indicated on the Academic Calendar.  Each student is responsible for signing up for their own evaluation time. Those students who do not meet the criteria listed above, and wish to petition for a senior studio capstone evaluation, must have the petition approved prior to being registered with a senior capstone evaluation panel. Approval of petitions grants an evaluation only and in no way guarantees entrance into any Senior Studio Capstone. If you do not attend an entrance evaluation or are conditionally accepted, you will not be permitted to enroll in the Senior Studio Capstone until such conditions are deemed met by the evaluation panel.

Please feel free to contact the Registrar’s Office with any questions regarding this process.

The criteria listed herein may be revised for future semesters. Please be sure when applying to obtain the current information and requirements for entrance/acceptance into the Senior Studio Capstone according to the semester of entry.

Senior A+IM Thesis Projects is a six-credit course that meets twice a week (fall and spring) and students are required to complete 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 Studio Arts Seminar is a six-credit course that meets twice a week (fall and spring) and students are required to complete one or 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 a senior gallery exhibition space. Overall, the SSAS 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 Design Seminar is a six-credit course that meets twice a week (fall and spring) and students are required to complete one or two semesters. This program focuses 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  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 Business Practices and Senior Illustration Thesis Projects are each three-credit required courses that meet twice a week or once during a long block. Senior Illustration Business Practices is required and is offered only in the spring term. Illustration students enroll in Senior Illustration Business Practices to learn the fundamental aspects of preparing for a career in Illustration. Students enrolling in Senior Illustration Business Practices are required to take it during their final spring semester at Montserrat College of Art. Seniors are also required to complete at least one semester (fall and/or spring) of Senior Illustration Thesis Projects during which they will work on a singular proposed topic of work. 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