Thesis project guidelines: Bachelor of Fine Arts
These are the guidelines for completing the artistic and the written component included in a bachelor’s thesis project.
The thesis project for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree comprises a work of art or a series of works presented at or in connection with the BFA Exhibition as well as a written component, including documentation of your artistic work. Once you have completed your thesis project, you are able to execute a small-scale artistic project and talk about it orally and in writing.
Structure and content of the thesis project
The thesis project comprises an artistic and a written component. You are awarded 10 credits for successfully completing both of these components. You present the artistic component of your thesis project at an examination event that is organised in conjunction with the BFA Exhibition.
Artistic component of the thesis project
The artistic component of your thesis project is a work, a series of works or an artistic process that you will publicly exhibit in the bachelor’s degree show or in another agreed-upon manner. You will receive support for the planning of the artistic component in your subject area seminars and the thesis project seminar for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, during which the work will also be examined.
Written component of the thesis project
The minimum requirement for the contents of the written component of the Bachelor of Fine Arts thesis project is for it to contain verbal and visual documentation of the artistic component and how it has been exhibited.
The written component must contain comprehensive image material of the artistic component. The length of the written component is 5−10 pages excluding images (about 1,800 characters per page). You will work on the written component in connection with communication studies included in the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and you can also get further support at the bachelor’s thesis project seminar and from teachers of the subject areas.
In the written component, you can discuss the starting points of your artistic work; its contents, techniques, form and material solutions and the relevance of your thesis project to the contexts of contemporary art. You can also describe your work process and the making and exhibiting of your work and discuss the relationship between the artistic component and the audience, exhibition venue and social issues.
In the written component, you must use references when you discuss ideas expressed by another person. You must include a list of references and literature at the end of the written component. Instructions on citing references, sources and literature are available on the Artsi platform.
The title page of the written component must indicate:
- your name,
- school (Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki) and its logo,
- that this is a Bachelor of Fine Arts thesis project,
- and the date of submission of the thesis project.
The first pages of the written component must clearly indicate:
- all the work and exhibition data relevant to the artistic component, including the year of completion of the works, the materials and techniques used, their sizes and, in temporal works, their running time. The times and places of exhibition of the works are also given.
- Supervisor and examiners of the thesis project.
- If the artistic component of the thesis project has been completed in a cooperative effort, the first pages of the written component must indicate the distribution of the work between the participants in the process.
Under special circumstances, you can produce your written component in the form of another verbal, recorded presentation than that of a written text. You must provide the reasons for choosing an alternative method in your thesis project plan. If you suffer from dyslexia or have other special needs that affect learning or self-expression, you can request a medical certificate about this or discuss the circumstances with your teacher. This way, the condition can be taken into account when your thesis project plan is approved and when your thesis project is assessed, and you can also be offered further assistance according to your needs.
You can choose to complete the written component of your thesis project in Finnish, Swedish or English. You must complete the written component using the same language throughout.
Schedule for the thesis project
It is recommended that you participate in the BFA thesis project seminar starting from the spring term of your third year of studies. An earlier start date is also possible if you agree on it with your supervising teacher. The seminar starts in the spring term and ends in October after the BFA Exhibition. The bachelor’s thesis project seminar helps you to prepare for the thesis project and organising of the BFA Exhibition. The seminar and the examination event organised in conjunction with it require active participation.
The bachelor’s degree exhibition takes place in late September and/or early October and an examination event for all bachelor’s candidates will be organised in conjunction with the exhibition. You must complete the written component and submit it for examination within three weeks of the examination event.
You submit your written component to the Academic Affairs Office together with the thesis submission notification.
Return your thesis project both as a paper copy/printout and by e-mail as a single PDF/A file to firstname.lastname@example.org (max. file size: 10Mb). The file should include the written component in its entirety, i.e., the title page, text, images, and a list of references and works cited.
If the work is submitted in the form of another verbal, recorded presentation than that of a written text, it should be submitted as a single copy.
Please check the schedules for the thesis project seminar and the exhibition for the year in question on the Artsi intranet platform.
Thesis project plan
In the beginning of the bachelor’s thesis project seminar, you will complete a thesis project plan, a freely structured text of 1–3 pages. In the thesis project plan, you outline the artistic component of the thesis project and its method of exhibition. Your supervising teacher can help in the preparation of the thesis project plan when on a studio visit or a similar occasion. After your supervising teacher has approved your thesis project plan, you must submit it to the teacher of the bachelor’s thesis project seminar. You will get more detailed information about the schedule of the thesis project plan in the beginning of the bachelor’s thesis project seminar.
Supervision and examination of the thesis project
You will receive supervision for your thesis project in various contexts, including at the artistic work seminar of your subject area, at the Bachelor of Fine Arts thesis project seminar, in connection with other teaching related to the BFA Exhibition, as well as in personal meetings. Usually, the supervisor is a teacher from the student’s subject area. For the exhibition of your artistic component, you will gain support from the exhibition studies included in the bachelor’s degree studies. A teacher from your subject area makes arrangements for the examiners with the teacher of the thesis project seminar.
In the examination event that constitutes a part of the thesis project seminar, you will present the artistic component of your thesis project and the examiners will give their comments, after which some time is allotted for the discussion of the works. If you do not take part in the BFA Exhibition of the Academy of Fine Arts and your work is exhibited somewhere else, instead, you must ensure that the examiners still have the opportunity to view the work. In this case, you will present visual documentation of the artistic component of your thesis project in the examination event.
The examiners will assess your thesis project, consisting of the artistic and written components, as a whole after you have submitted the written component. The assessment must be based on the general degree requirements and the instructions stated in these guidelines regarding the thesis project for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. If the examiners have been notified of a medical certificate concerning the student’s dyslexia or some other kind of learning disorder, they must take this piece of information into account in their assessment.
The examiners will write a short free-form evaluation of your thesis project (desired length from a few phrases to half a page) and propose a grade for it (Pass or Fail). If the examiner proposes the grade Fail for the project or thinks that the documentation and written component need to be supplemented, the examiner must provide reasons for this in a written statement addressed to the Academic Council.
The examiner will submit their assessment in writing, for example in an email, to the Academic Affairs. The assessment must be submitted within two weeks of the date that the examiner received the written component of the thesis project.
Approval, publicity, archiving and registration of the thesis project
Once the examiners have submitted their grade proposals to the Academic Affairs, the thesis project will be submitted to the Academic Council for discussion. The Academic Council decides on the approval of the thesis projects. If the Academic Council finds it necessary, you may be requested to supplement the written component of your thesis project. In such case, you will be provided instructions for how to supplement your thesis project. Once your bachelor’s thesis project has been approved by the Academic Council, you will receive a notification of the decision.
If one or both of the examiners propose that your thesis project should not be approved, you will be provided with the reasons given by the examiner(s) before the thesis project is addressed at the Academic Council. In such a case, you can 1) provide your own written reply to the examiner’s observations and the Academic Council will consider the reply when discussing the thesis project or 2) withdraw the thesis project from being discussed. In this case, you will make corrections to the thesis project and then resubmit it for examination. The new examination will only be carried out after your supervising teacher has granted permission to do this.
If you are dissatisfied with the grading of your thesis, you may apply for a rectification of the grading from the Academic Council within 14 days of receiving notification of the decision. If you are dissatisfied with the decision regarding the appeal, you may appeal the matter to Uniarts Helsinki’s Academic Appeals Board within 14 days of receiving notification of the decision.
The written components of the BFA thesis projects are stored in the Uniarts Helsinki Library on the Sörnäinen campus for the duration determined by the current storage regulations, after which they will be delivered to the Uniarts Helsinki Archive. The theses are public documents and they can be viewed at the library; however, they are not loaned out.
You can find more information on copyrights on the Artsi intranet platform and in the student agreement that each student signs at the beginning of studies.
The credits for the thesis project will be registered after all the components of the thesis project have been approved. As stipulated in Uniarts Helsinki’s Education Regulations, completed studies are valid no longer than 10 years, during which time they can be included in a degree.