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Graduate Theses

Graduate Theses at MICA: Submission and Access

Graduate theses are a vital part of MICA's contributions to the fields of fine art, design, and art history. Whether you're preparing to submit your own work or looking to explore past theses, we're here to guide you through the process.

Explore Past Theses

Interested in exploring the rich collection of graduate theses from MICA's talented artists and scholars? Browse the MICA Digital Library to discover a wealth of creativity and innovation.

Submitting Your Thesis

Ready to share your work with the MICA community? Follow these steps to submit your thesis:

  1. Prepare Your Files: Ensure your thesis is in PDF/A format. If you need to submit other media with your PDF/A, see this guide for accepted file types.
  2. Create a Thumbnail: Prepare a thumbnail image for your folder on the MICA Digital Library. The image should be sized at 255 pixels (width) x 192 pixels (height). See the example below for how the thumbnail image will look.
  3. Submit Your Work: Follow the instructions in the video tutorial below to complete your submission.

Submit Your 2024 Thesis 

Submitting Your Thesis to the Library (2021 Update) from Decker Library on Vimeo.

Note: This video shows an old version of the library's website. 

Thumbnails Example 

Screenshot of MICA Digital Library Graphic Design theses folder

Questions or Concerns?

If you have any questions or need assistance with submitting your work, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us at Our team is here to support you every step of the way.

Helpful Resources/Frequently Asked Questions

You'll submit your thesis work to the Library via a Google Form linked to this page. It will be clear above whether or not we are in an active submission period. 

Be prepared before you submit your thesis work - take a look at the Thesis Submission Sample Questions doc. 

Take a look at Creating a PDF/A File - a step-by-step guide to creating this file format. 

All programs are required to submit a PDF/A. If you want to submit media other than PDF/A (for example, audio, video, etc.), take a look at the Submit Media Files - Choosing File Formats and Creating Descriptions  guide. 

It is important to thoroughly review your thesis work before submitting it to Decker Library because once your thesis work is submitted, it is a matter of public record. 

If necessary, students can re-submit the entire work during the open submission period. 

After the submission period has ended, students may not re-submit their work unless they have written approval from their review committee or program director. Written approval must be sent to the library at and Drew Lundholm at 

If/once approved, students may re-submit the full thesis work. 

Personal Digital Archiving: How to create a digital archive for your work, thesis, and career is a great resource for a step-by-step guide to personal digital archiving, copyright, and more. 

Unfortunately, no. The "How would you like people to access your work?" question on the form is universal for your entire submission and it cannot be different for different types of media you submit. Remember that your level of access is a permanent decision!

Some people choose to embargo their work - which means keep it inaccessible for a set period of time - because they would like to publish their work elsewhere first. Some publications will not publish work if that work has appeared elsewhere in its entirety. If you're interested in publishing your work in a journal, etc., better to be err on the side of caution and choose to embargo. 

Another example of folks who often choose to embargo are Filmmaking MFA students. While they do not submit their full thesis work, but rather they submit a PDF of their electronic press kit, they often choose to embargo it so that it does not appear anywhere before they have a chance to submit to film festivals or other pitches. 

In general, the library opens the submission period near the end of the spring semester. Graduate Studies decides what the final submission date is. Please contact them for more information. 

Processing of graduate theses does not begin until the due date for all programs has past. We do not begin processing theses as they come in. 

Generally, if the due date is end of summer, we do not begin processing until winter. Other factors, such as COVID-19, impact when we begin processing. Processing spans two different departments, several systems, and multiple staff members in order to complete. Availability is not immediate. 

Collections Services & Digital Initiatives Unit

When will my work become available online? Why does it take so long?

Processing of graduate theses spans two different departments, several systems, and staff members. Availability is not immediate. Generally, if the last due date for students to submit to the Library is end of summer, we do not get started on processing until sometime in the winter. Other factors, such as COVID-19, impact our workflow and timeline for making work available. The chart included here indicates just a portion of the workflow.

While there is no definite date of availability, please allow 6-9 months for processing during regular conditions and possibly longer during major disruptions such as COVID-19.

Screenshot of part of the Graduate Theses Processing Workflow

Thesis Submission Requirements

All graduate students are required to submit a thesis in order to graduate. All students must have a written component and submit their work as a PDF/A. See the Thesis Submission Requirements below. Questions? Reach out to us at or Drew Lundholm in the Graduate Studies Office at

Icon - pencil and paper

I'm only submitting a written thesis (no media).

Submit your work as a PDF/A file (if you embed images, please reduce your images to 300 DPI).

Icon - photograph

I'm submitting images only.

Submit your work as a PDF/A. Please ask your program director about the written portion required.

Icon - multiple formats

I'm submitting images and writing.

Submit both images and writing in one PDF/A. Please be sure to reduce the size of your files before adding them to the PDF document.

Icon - floppy disk

I'm submitting media (video, audio, etc.) and a PDF/A document.

Submitting media outside of a PDF/A is optional. If you choose to submit other files, please take a look at the guide "Submitting Media Files for Your Thesis Work: Types of Materials You Can Submit and Choosing the Best File Format" linked below. You will be required to place all files into one folder (including your PDF/A document), zip your folder, and upload the zipped folder. You will not be able to submit each file separately. Please note that students should not submit individual materials already included in the PDF/A document.

Graduate Theses, 1956-2014

Find Graduate Theses Created from 1956 through 2014

This portion of theses is only available for in-library use. You can find theses through our library catalog, or by using our inventory of theses collected during this time period, arranged by program.

Graduate Theses, 2015-Present

Find Graduate Theses from 2015 - Present Day

This portion of theses is available through Digital Decker. Since 2014, theses creators dictate permission level of their work; therefore, some theses are open to the public, but some are restricted to the MICA community only. (MICA username and password are required). Others are embargoed (i.e. unavailable) for five years from the creation date.

Digital Initiatives Unit

Resource: Personal Digital Archiving: How to create a digital archive for your work, thesis, and career

This site will guide you through the basic principles of digital archiving and digital preservation so you can take control of your work's digital future by managing your files, ensuring their accessibility, and submitting your work to Decker Library's Graduate Theses Collection.

You will learn about:
- Why digital preservation is important for you
- The basic steps for preserving your digital files
- What to take into consideration when documenting your work
- Recommended formats for long-term preservation and submission to Decker Library

This website was made by Cristina Fontánez Rodríguez as part of the NDSR Art residency.

Need Help with Your Submission? Reach out!

Research Help - Find Your Librarian


Decker Library 1401 W. Mount Royal Ave. Bunting Center, 1st Floor Baltimore, MD 21217


Help with What You Should Submit - Graduate Studies Office


Graduate Studies Office Lazarus Center, 1st Floor


Help with the Submission Form - Digital Initiatives Unit


Decker Library 1401 W. Mount Royal Ave. Bunting Center, 1st Floor Baltimore, MD 21217