San Jose State University :: Faculty & Staff Web Pages: David M. Kahn's Home Page


Related Information

Main Content

TA 260 Foundations for MA Thesis/Exams

Time: Web/ARR
Location: HGH 110
Supplemental URL:


TA 260 - Foundations for Thesis/Exams: Problems in selected television, radio, film theatre area. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in theatre arts and instructor consent. Repeatable for credit (3 units)

Required Texts/Readings

No particular texts are required for this course. However, you may wish to refer to the following books often used in TA 200 and available from online sources:

Course Description

This class is conducted as a series of workshop assignments related to the process developing a Thesis Proposal (Plan A) or Study Plan for Comprehensive Exams (Plan B). The texts we consider are your own writing and research materials geared toward the benchmark assignments. The issues we discuss are those that you encounter in the preliminary research and proposal-writing or in a study-plan development processes. As the class progresses, it will alternate between a) meeting as a group to allow you to raise issues about research dilemmas and get useful feedback on your specific concerns; b) online assignments; c) individual meetings with me in my office during this course time slot, my scheduled office hours or, if necessary, at some other agreed-upon time.

The bulk of the work, however, will be done by you, independently, outside of class, in the library, on your computers. No one can do this work for you. Consider any group meetings and appointments as a kind of lab period: they are mandatory and vital to your progress toward a successful proposal and thesis. As you complete the assignment for a given benchmark, be prepared to share what you do have with your peers and be open to constructive feedback.

You must entice a qualified faculty advisor to work with you to develop your Proposal/Study Plan. Serving as your proposal advisor does not necessarily mean a faculty member is committed to serve as First Reader after the proposal is approved by the Graduate Committee. Most faculty, however, are interested in continuing to advise the thesis.

Follow closely the Thesis/Exam Proposal guidelines and calendar on the TRFT Graduate Web site:

The specific requirements are all there. Look closely at all of the on-line material. You must fulfill the formal requirements of the Thesis/Exam Proposal and write it up in academically persuasive scholarly style. Pay particular attention to the matters concerning "Human Subjects Review."

Assignments and Grading Policy

Apply the methods of research from TA 200 in forming questions, conducting thorough literature reviews, narrowing the topic, defining "systematic, rigorous, repeatable" methodologies. While there's some fluidity in our format standards, we are consistent in emphasizing 1) a clearly stated research question or problem; 2) a viable methodology; and 3) feasibility. This process generally demonstrates the student's capability to pursue thesis-level research or complete examinations in the area of your defined research topic. It's also a vital prerequisite to earning the advocacy of your advising professor.

It is your responsibility to meet all benchmark draft deadlines and to allow enough time for reading and revision of drafts. (Please don't expect a faculty member to read a draft and respond overnight. It's a good idea to allow at least 1-week turnaround.) Date and save each draft of your Proposal/Plan so that you and your readers know which version you’re working with.

Each benchmark assignment must be submitted to the Class Turnitin Website ( - class ID: 4263763; enrollment password: ta260f11) no later than the due date.

Each component of the Proposal/Study Plan should be drafted as benchmark due dates arrive. Any unfinished component should still have place markers in each draft that you discuss in class or take to scheduled meetings with me or other faculty. In general, the following components should appear in the Proposal in the order suggested below (subject to your Faculty Advisor’s preferences).

Note that we will not necessarily address these components in class in the order that they are listed here, because the process of developing a proposal differs from the finished product.

Grading (Incompletes)

To receive an "Incomplete" in the course, a student must have completed all of the assignment benchmarks through Draft four, regardless of whether he or she decides, with the recommendation of the Faculty Advisor, to submit a final Proposal/Plan and defend that Proposal/Plan to the TRFT Graduate Committee at the end of the semester.

After the formal presentation on May 18, a Thesis/Exam Proposal will be 1) ACCEPTED, 2) DENIED, or 3) it may be CONDITIONALLY ACCEPTED if the Graduate Committee determines that the research should proceed subject to "conditions" enforced by the First Reader. If "conditionally accepted," the student's TA 260 grade registers as an Incomplete until the conditions are satisfied. In such cases, the student may still enroll in TA 298 or TA 299 with the first order of business being to satisfy the "conditions" or deficiencies in the Thesis Proposal/Plan.