What is a practicum course in Art History (ARTH 3900)?
What is a practicum course in Art History (ARTH 3900)?
The practicum course (ARTH 3900) is a student placement with one of our partners in the many
art-related institutions in the National Capital Region. The purpose of a practicum is to
complement the skills and knowledge gained in art history courses with relevant learning
experience in the professional world.
Prerequisite: B.A. or B.A. (Honours) Art History registration with third-year standing or higher
and a CGPA of 9.5 or better in Art History courses, or permission of the discipline.
What can I expect from a practicum in Art History?
Because of the variety in the types and sizes of institutions participating in our program and the
practicum projects they put forward in any given year, there is no one typical practicum
experience. Each placement will be unique in the kind of work experience it provides, the
amount of autonomy you can expect, and the type and range of tasks you will be expected to
undertake. The practicum will involve the acquisition of new skills particular to the job
placement or the application of skills to new objectives, familiarization with different aspects and
activities of an art-related organization and a focus on a particular project or projects. A
practicum may have you doing short research reports on works of art, writing descriptions and
cataloguing, assisting with exhibitions, outreach, organization; you may be working relatively
independently, or you may be intricately involved in the daily workings of a busy organization. It
is worth thinking about what kind of experience you are looking for.
Tasks that seem menial may well be involved in your practicum, as those tasks are ones that
allow one to get on with the interesting work at hand, but even simple repetitive tasks should be
giving you skills and valuable experience with the collecting, research, care, display or promotion
of art or other activities of the art-related organization. If you have questions about your
practicum work, please speak to the practicum supervisor. It is a good idea to start right: take
care to ascertain what your duties will be when your interview with your prospective on-site
What should I not expect?
You should not expect to be curating your own show in your semester. A practicum such as
yours is one step towards this level of professional work, and your on-site supervisor can serve as
a model and mentor in that process. Be sure to be realistic about what to expect. At the same
time, you should not expect to be doing purely menial or clerical work that does not involve
gaining new knowledge and/or skills. If you have questions about this, please speak to the
practicum supervisor, and take care to ascertain what your duties will be when your interview
with your prospective on-site supervisor.
How do I apply?
You need to pick up and fill out a student application form from Barbara Shannon, the practicum
administrator in St. Patrickâ€™s 423, or download the form from the Art History website. This is
step one. The form asks for interests, skills, and grade point average. Attach a copy of a recent
academic audit to your application form. You may also append a resume. Send to Barbara
Shannon (423 Saint Patrickâ€™s Building, (613) 520 2342/ firstname.lastname@example.org) You may
also cc. a second electronic copy to StÃ©phane Roy (email@example.com).
Late August or early September you will be asked to sign up for a meeting with the Art History
Practicum Supervisor, StÃ©phane Roy, to discuss your background, your program, and your
preferences for a practicum. Please see the Schedule of Important Dates at the end of this
In most cases, this is the time when you will be given the telephone number of a Practicum
Supervisor at a potential placement. If the match is good, you will be sent to that placement.
There are times when more than one student will be sent for the same position, or when you will
be given more than one placement to interview for. There are also situations where a supervisor
is interviewing students from other institutions. We have asked that the institutions inform us if
they are interviewing other students; it is equally important that you inform your interviewer if
you are interviewing for more than one placement.
Once you get the number of an institutional supervisor, you are to set up an appointment for an
interview as soon as possible, normally within the first or second week of the term. When you
have secured a placement, you will present a practicum agreement form to your on-site
supervisor, on which you will be asked to identify the research area for your term paper. This
agreement is to be returned to Barbara Shannon, the practicum administrator. You will start work
on the second or third week of term.
Practicum hours on site:
One 8-hour workday per week for 12 weeks or its equivalent, totalling 96 hours per term.
When do I work?
It is up to you to come to an agreement with your on-site supervisor as to when you come in to
work. You will likely be able to negotiate hours that will fit in your class schedules, but do not
expect to be able to do your work on evenings or weekends. On-site supervisors are often
amenable to making alternate arrangements on religious holidays or during a busy study week.
Practicum work 75% Evaluated by on-site supervisor
Work journal and final paper 25% Evaluated by practicum supervisor,
Prof. StÃ©phane Roy
Work journal. The practicum student must keep a journal account for every work day at the
Journal entries should include:
? what work has been done
? what you have learned from this work
? what follow-up needs to be done
? what progress has been made towards the research project.
The journal entries should be typed, single-spaced. They should be written in full sentences and
in a discursive paragraph style, rather than a point form list.
The length of entries will vary, but an average entry will likely be about 1.0 page.
The most common form of a practicum research paper is an academic essay. It may be, however,
that written work may be produced in the course of the practicum eligible for submission in
partial or complete fulfillment of this requirement. If a student feels that her or his work may be
eligible for academic equivalence to a term paper, she or he must gain the approval of the faculty
The topic of the practicum research project will vary with each practicum. On the first day at
work, students will speak to their on-site supervisors regarding the project(s) they are to work on,
and the source materials they will have access to. It is at this meeting that they should come to an
agreement about a (preliminary) paper topic. The topic will then be indicated on the application
form to be signed by both the student and the on-site supervisor.
The initial paper topic will be refined as the student gains experience with the worksite and the
practicum project. Some practica will have a consistent and defined project; others will not.
The student should work in the first weeks towards identifying a paper topic, which may entail
narrowing a larger field, finding a personal area of interest, identifying a project that will yield
productive research. This should be done in consultation with the institutional supervisor, who
has the direct expertise with the resources available. You will be submitting a paper proposal to
the Art History Practicum Supervisor at midterm (see Schedule of Important Dates); she is
available by appointment for consultation on the paper at any stage.
What if my practicum does not deal with a single research project? In this case it is most
important to find a personal interest and to consult with the supervisors. A topic may deal with
particular artistsâ€™ works, archival materials, or exhibitions, for example, or it may be an
examination and analysis of the (type of) institution in which one is working. It may be a
combination of the two. One way to turn a focus of interest into a term paper is to situate it
within a larger context through library research, along with primary research materials available
at your worksite.
Practicum papers are in the format of a standard university research paper unless an alternative
has been approved by the Art History Practicum Supervisor
The paper should be 10-12 pages typed, double-spaced, standard font.
Referencing your sources:
Footnotes or endnotes: The paper must be completely and properly referenced with footnotes or
endnotes. Art history style is full notes added to the text, not embedded in the text in brackets.
Use a standard style such as MLA or Turabian. See the Carleton University Library website for
basic style references. Refer to a style manual for the fine points of referencing.
Bibliography: The bibliography must be appended to the paper in standard style (see above).
Will not be tolerated. Be aware that plagiarism can also be inadvertent. Please look at the help
available on avoiding plagiarism on the Carleton Library website at:
The Carleton University Library website is an extremely helpful portal for research, with a
number of important journal indexes, reference information and resources to expand your
research beyond the resources of the practicum institution. The reference librarian help desk on
the main floor of the library is available for hands-on assistance. Questions about art historyrelated
sources at the library can be directed to our subject librarian, Alana Skwarok
Notes on online sources:
Journal articles available in scholarly journals accessible in full-text via the Carleton University
library are valid sources.
Full-text books and articles accessed online by any other portal than the Carleton University
Library must give the online source and URL (see referencing online sources, below)
Web sites are valid research material only if they form primary documentation for the paper (e.g.
government sites for investigating government institutions or agencies, or gallery sites when
researching galleries). Other websites are not acceptable.
Wikipedia is not an acceptable source.
For referencing online sources please refer to the Carleton University Library home page, under
â€œHow do Iâ€¦?â€
A proposal for your paper is due at midterm. See Schedule of Important Dates at the end of the
The proposal should be 1.5-2.5 pages and should include the following:
? A description of the research paper, including its relevance to the work you are doing in
? A research plan that includes what sources you will be using.
? A preliminary bibliography that clearly indicates what materials have been consulted to
date and which are yet to be consulted.
Midterm meeting with Practicum Supervisor
Following the submission of the proposal, a midterm meeting is to be arranged with the Art
History Practicum Supervisor. This meeting will address your proposed research project and will
also be an opportunity to discuss any issues pertaining to your practicum. See Schedule of
Important dates for midterm meeting dates. Sign-up will be available through the Practicum
Administrator, Barbara Shannon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
your daily work on-site, evaluated by the institutional supervisor 75%
your written work, evaluated by the Art History supervisor 25%
Art History Practicum Supervisor Practicum Administrator
Prof. StÃ©phane Roy Barbara Shannon
Saint Patrickâ€™s 414 Saint Patrickâ€™s 423
613 520 2600 ext. 2061 613 520 2342
fax 613 520 3575.
CARLETON UNIVERSITY ART HISTORY UNDERGRADUATE PRACTICUM DATES
2015-2016 Schedule of Important Dates
Late August through September 18 (last day for Fall term add/drop)
Interviews with Art History Practicum Supervisor, StÃ©phane Roy. Please email Prof. Roy for
By September 18
Students will have been informed of their prospective placements. Students are to contact the onsite
supervisor to set up an interview.
By October 1st
Students to have begun work at their practicum.
Proposal due for final paper for single-term projects.
Mid-term meeting with Prof. Roy, Practicum Supervisor.
October 26-30: Fall break
Classes not held. You may work at your practicum. Be sure to make arrangements with your onsite
supervisor if this is a scheduled working day and you plan to be away.
Proposals due for practica continuing the same project Fall and Winter.
Final papers for single-term practica, and work journals for all practicum students to be
submitted. Please note: late papers will not be accepted.
Winter term begins
January 19 (last day for Winter term add/drop)
Interviews with Prof. Roy for Winter term practica. Please email Prof. Roy for an appointment.
Proposal due for term paper for students starting at a practicum institution in January.
Midterm meetings with Art History Practicum Supervisor.
February 15-19: Winter break
Practicum suspended unless alternative arrangements are made by request of the student with the
institutional Practicum Supervisor.
Term paper and work journal due. This is the University Senate deadline for handing in
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