Civic Mutations

Thesis Blog has moved to http://www.498nm.com/archithesis/

Thesis Rundown

Thesis at the Boston Architectural College is different from the architecture schools around Boston. I suspect every school is different, but here’s a rundown of the Thesis Program as written in the BAC M.Arch Thesis Handbook 2006.

Introduction 

Thesis connects architectural theory and practice through advanced study of the professional and cultural issues that together give purpose and meaning to design. It fosters, develops and tests many kinds of understanding. Thesis at the Boston Architectural College is a program of study that draws on learning from practice as much as learning from the classroom. 

The culmination of the school’s graduate curriculum, Thesis is a three-part program, beginning with a 16-week semester of preparation in Master’s Thesis Seminar, Master’s Thesis Studio, and Master’s Integrated Programming Seminar. It continues into the intensively reviewed 37-week period when the Thesis is developed and produced, consisting of Master’s Thesis I, Master’s Integrated Building Systems Seminar 1, Master’s Thesis II, and Master’s Integrated Building Systems Seminar 2. The curriculum concludes with the completion, submittal and approval of the Master’s Thesis Document. 

The 16-week Thesis Seminar, Thesis Studio and Integrated Programming is the first step in creating the final Thesis Proposal which will be reviewed and approved by the Thesis Committee.

Students are responsible for conceptualizing, framing, and realizing the thesis project under the supervision of the faculty. Students articulate the thesis in the seminar class and explore the nature of the problem framed to test that thesis through design and scholarly research. Students formulate a program and select a site to provide the architectural vehicle for study of the design portion of their thesis. 

Through these investigations, Thesis students are challenged to ground both theory and design. 

The learning objectives for the Thesis students include: 

1. Developing the ability to frame a research design in their proposals that integrates critical understanding of methods of inquiry and terms of criticism appropriate to the individual thesis. 

2. Demonstrating professional core competencies in architecture at a level appropriate to a Master’s graduate from a first professional degree program, including the integration of building systems addressing structural and environmental needs and compliance with code requirements. 

3. Developing critical understanding of the cultural context of their work through a combined program of advanced design and scholarly research. 

4. Demonstrating the ability to develop and convey the elements of architecture through a proposal for built form that substantially engages the idea basis of their thesis. 

5. Participating in a minimum of four reviews with their Thesis Review Panel during Thesis I and Thesis II, while incorporating lessons learned from the critical exchange which grows out of these reviews into their work. 

6. Creating a lasting record of the process and outcomes of the design and scholarly research in the form of a Thesis Document. 

We, students are also responsible to organize a Thesis Review Panel to provide critical evaluation and progress of our thesis project. The panel includes:

  1. Thesis Committee Representative (designated by the Thesis Committee)
  2. Thesis Advisor
  3. Client Representative
  4. Design Critics (3 or more required)
  5. Expert Resource Consultants in areas appropriate to the thesis
  6. Structural Engineer
  7. Environmental Control Systems Engineer

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