AET Senior Thesis

A student works in a common area in the School of Design and Creative Technologies. Photo by Lawerence Peart.
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Eligibility: Successful completion of at least 18 AET upper division credits.

  • AET 378 Senior Thesis I (3 credits)

  • AET 379 Senior Thesis II (3 credits)

For a single Senior Thesis (3 credits) you need to create a project that can be completed in full within a single semester. For more ambitious projects you can create a project that will span two semesters with a clear demarcation of work for each term.

All students registered for Senior Thesis will meet together with all their supervisors at the beginning of each term to present the projects and discuss possible solutions and opportunities.

This course carries the Independent Inquiry Flag. Independent Inquiry courses are designed to engage you in the process of inquiry over the course of a semester, providing you with the opportunity for independent investigation of a question, problem or project related to your major. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from the independent investigation and presentation of your own work. For additional information about the IIF, please visit Independent Inquiry Flag Objectives.

All Senior Thesis students must present their finished project in a spring AET Thesis Showcase. Details of the Showcase will be made available by the end of the first term.

Senior Thesis production will be conducted primarily using resources in The Foundry and the AET classroom spaces. There are no “private” studios available.

What is a Senior Thesis?

As you complete your AET degree you have probably developed a specific career interest. For example, you may wish to create a virtual reality experience or a complex DJ/VJ event. You may want to work with Theatre and Dance students to create event lighting and projection. You may want to create a VST audio plugin or some elaborate code-based generative art. You may want to construct interactive micro-electronics (DIY) devices.

The Senior Thesis is your opportunity to produce one or two medium-scale projects or even one full-scale project spanning two semesters. These can really be anything that you choose within reason. Significantly, it’s a personal research project that allows you to explore work and technology you are interested in. As part of this thesis you grow your abilities and/or acquire new skills to realize your project. The resulting presentation is a unique piece of work that shows who you are and what you are capable of.

How do I make this happen?

  1. The first thing you must do is craft an abstract describing the project, methodologies and outcomes. This must be at least two full pages and include relevant support documents such as diagrams, plans, code elements and references. Make sure to include a timeline for your project!

  2. If you intend to do a full-year (two semesters) thesis, then you need to describe the work in two distinct parts. For example, fall semester could be for developing materials, designing, etc. and spring semester for the implementation of the work. You will be graded on BOTH semesters.

  3. You will have to shop this around to find a supervisor. Although all AET lecturers are eligible to supervise a Senior Thesis, they can decline for any number of reasons. You may not get your preferred supervisor.

  4. You may wish to develop a project in collaboration with other students (maximum of three) but that will require a much longer proposal clearly showing the roles and contributions of each collaborator.

  5. Next you must get a signed letter from the supervisor and deliver this letter to Bruce Pennycook, Chair of AET, for final approval.

  6. Now you can register for Senior Thesis I or II, whichever the case may be.

  7. Upon completion and after the Thesis Showcase the researcher(s) must submit a detailed documentation of the entire process with critical analysis of the outcomes.

Grading of the Thesis

Proposal: 10%

  • Completeness, originality, likelihood of success, time-line, budget and clarity.

Research and Design: 20%

  • Relevance and depth of research (articles, examples, materials), completeness of the design, fulfillment of the proposal, description of the final outcomes, milestone structure and credibility.

Milestone I (+ four weeks): 10%

  • Presentation of milestone I to the thesis supervisor(s).

  • Were all objectives realized? What problems or hurdles exist?

Milestone 2 (+ four weeks): 10%

  • Presentation of milestone 2 to the thesis supervisor(s).

  • Were all objectives realized? What problems or hurdles exist?

  • What modifications to the project are required to reach completion?

Final Project Presentation: 40%

  • Presentation as lecture or performance or combination of the two.

  • During the Thesis Showcase unless otherwise agreed by the supervisor(s).

Final Documentation: 10%

  • Detailed documentation of the entire project.

  • Critical evaluation of the work and the outcomes.

  • Future plans.

Should you have any other questions please do not hesitate to email Bruce Pennycook and/or Chris Montes for further clarifications.