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As specified in the Graduate Bulletin, the 42-hour MATX curriculum consists of 36 hours of coursework and a minimum of six hours of dissertation research. Because students enter with a master’s degree, it is assumed they will have a strong foundation in one or more disciplines. In the first year all students follow the required sequence of four core courses.
The core is supplemented with a course on research methods in a field relevant to the area of the individual student’s dissertation research. This should be drawn from the offerings of the participating units, but it may be taken in another unit with permission of the instructor and the MATX director. It may be taken in the first or second year.
Electives (21 credits) are drawn from the regular offerings of the participating units and from the MATX 690 seminars offered each semester. They should form a coherent program of study and support dissertation research. Selection must be approved by the MATX director and/or the student’s dissertation director during the advising period.
Independent study may be supervised by graduate faculty in one of the participating units. It may not duplicate courses regularly offered. No more than 12 credits of independent study may be counted toward the degree. Additional credits may be authorized for purposes of continuous enrollment. Upon approval by the supervising faculty member, the student should submit a description of the course of study, a bibliography and the anticipated final product (a long paper, annotated bibliography, creative project, etc.) to the MATX director and the graduate programs adviser. An electronic override is issued for registration upon approval.
Internship opportunities are available in the Richmond area at a range of institutions including museums, libraries and galleries. Students seek out their own internships and submit to the MATX director a description of the planned internship with the approval of the external supervisor. The final grade will be assigned by the supervisor in consultation with the MATX director. A student may take one or three credits of internship in a given semester. No more than six credits of internship may be counted toward the degree.
Work on the e-portfolio will begin in MATX 604 in the spring of the first year. It will be the basis for an ongoing professional web presence during and after the student’s time at VCU. There are no technical specifications; students may hand-code the site or use a template. The actual site structure, as well as the content on the site, must be the student’s own work. Content should include, but is not limited to, work done in the first two years in the program. The site must demonstrate the technical skills (web design, audio, video, etc.) relevant to the student's work on the dissertation and the career sought after VCU.
Submission to a committee consisting of the MATX director, the instructor of MATX 604 and one instructor of another core course is a two-stage process.
A three- to five-page design rationale for the portfolio site along with a mock-up or rough structure are to be submitted electronically (PDF for the text; link or an easily accessible file format for the site) to the MATX director according to the schedule posted each semester.
A finished, live site is due. The site must be accompanied by a five-page statement relating the website to the student’s work inside and outside the program and outlining how it uses media techniques to promote a specific professional and/or creative identity.
Each submission is graded pass/fail and may be repeated only once. A second failure results in automatic termination from the program.