The Senior Thesis year is your year of transformation from student to professional artist or designer.

Studen Jax Ko standing behind a podium before a display of her illustrations giving her thesis presentation during Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) Focus Week 2016.
Jax Ko presents her thesis work during Focus Week

Your Thesis Year

A project of your own design

In your Senior Year, you make the transformation from student to creative professional. During this time, you refine the tools you need to hit the ground running on the day after graduation.

Throughout the year, you gain confidence and a deeper understanding of who you are as an artist while creating lasting bonds with faculty and peers.

The focus of your Senior Year is a thesis project of your own design. Working one on one with a faculty Mentor, and with the support of faculty and your peers, you complete a project or body of work representing your maturity as an artist or designer.

Focus Week is the culmination of this process. You'll install your thesis work in a gallery setting and make a presentation before a panel of faculty and members of the PNCA community.

"During their senior year, students develop a creative project that not only results in a solid body of work, but also the skills and understanding to sustain their creative practice after graduation."

Linda Kliewer, Director of BFA Thesis Program

First Semester

​Thesis Project Proposal

During the first semester of your Senior Year, with support from faculty, you'll craft a detailed proposal for the thesis project that you plan to complete in the second semester of your senior year. Your proposal will include background on your art practice, your research, documentation of the work you have begun making, and a detailed proposal of the project or body of work you plan to create.

Focus Week: Present Thesis Proposal

During Focus Week, as a first-semester senior you will give a short presentation on your thesis proposal before a panel of faculty for evaluation and approval. Your panelists will evaluate the feasibility and scope of the project as well as its strengths and weaknesses, then discuss them with you to help you make the strongest proposal.

Intermedia senior, Joey Ravetti, presents his thesis project for a panel of outside artists, critics, and academics for mid-term review.

Second Semester

Complete Thesis Work

During the second semester of your senior year, you will select a faculty mentor to work closely with as you complete your thesis project and prepare a presentation on the work. All of the resources of the school are available to you to produce this culminating body of work.

Student Katie Sifford with her life-sized thesis sculptures at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA).

Focus Week: Oral Defense of Thesis Work

During Focus Week as a second-semester senior, you'll install your thesis work and make an Oral Defense of the work. The Oral Defense is a public, formal presentation on the thesis project in front of a panel of faculty. The talk contextualizes and defines your body of work that has been installed in a professional manner. At the end of the presentation, the faculty panelists, and finally, the audience ask questions about your process, ideas, and intentions.

Focus Week: The most exciting week

During Focus Week, the 14th week of each semester, we suspend classes and the entire PNCA community—students, faculty, and staff—comes together to support seniors as they present their Thesis Proposals and Projects. In between thesis presentations, the school gathers in the Commons for a communal lunch which might be accompanied by student presentations, special performances, guest lectures, film screenings and more.


Linda Kliewer, Director of BFA Thesis Program

Linda is an award-winning queer filmmaker and photographer who has been making film, video and still images for more than 30 years. Her passions are social documentary and teaching. Her art centers on self-portraiture, social comment, and most recently swimming pools.

The body of her documentary photography is one of the largest photographic collections of Portland’s queer community. Kliewer’s work is part of the Visual Chronicle of Portland, has been screened in the Sundance Film Festival, NW Film and Video Festival, the Portland Documentary and Experimental Film Festival, and has been published, exhibited, and screened nationally and internationally.

Thesis Focus Week People Lunch 2015 27

Schedule a visit

Scheduling a visit during Focus Week is an amazing way to see a highpoint of campus life each semester.

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