Graduate Student FAQ

Graduate Student FAQ Section

Academic Standing | Probation | DisqualificationThesis Proposals | Transfer Credits | Open University Registration

Continuous Enrollment | Seven-Limit Year | Production | TeachingActing | TOEFL | Note


Academic Standing

Maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 ("B") in completing requirements in the graduate degree program. Complete all courses on the graduate degree program with grades of A, B, C, or CR. Grades of D, F, U, or NC in any course are considered to be unsatisfactory. Should courses on the graduate degree program be completed with unsatisfactory grades, these grades must remain on the program and will continue to be computed in the grade-point average of the program. The candidate must petition through the academic advisor to add another course to the graduate degree program with unit value equivalent to that of the course in which the unsatisfactory grade was received. Grade points are assigned as follows:

A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- 0.7
F 0.0
W/U 0.0

The grade point average is obtained by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of graded units, which the student has attempted.

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A graduate student enrolled in a graduate degree program shall be subject to academic probation if a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (grade of "B" on a four-point scale) is not maintained.

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If student falls below 3.0 in GPA, the student is put on probation. In a second semester below 3.0 GPA, the student is disqualified following that semester.

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Thesis Proposals

Student completes a Thesis Proposal under TA260 (offered every semester). A student must select a faculty Proposal Advisor, satisfy the requirements of the Thesis Proposal and write it up in academically persuasive style. This process generally demonstrates the student's capability to pursue thesis-level research. It also reveals whether the student has earned the advocacy of a faculty member Proposal Advisor. While there's some fluidity in our standards, we are consistent in emphasizing 1) a clearly stated research question or problem, 2) a viable methodology, and 3) feasibility. Working with a student to help prepare a Thesis Proposal does not necessarily mean a faculty member is committed to serve as First Reader once the proposal is approved by the Graduate Committee (when we meet traditionally on "study day" each semester). Most faculty, however, are interested in continuing to advise the thesis.

A Thesis Proposal may be "conditionally accepted" if the Graduate Committee determines that the research should proceed subject to conditions enforced by the First Reader. A student's TA260 grade registers as an Incomplete until the conditions are satisfied. In such cases, the student may still enroll in TA299 with the first order of business being to satisfy the "conditions" or deficiencies in the Thesis Proposal.

September 1 is the fall deadline and March 1 is the spring deadline for drafts of the thesis to be distributed to members of the committee. This to allow time for them to respond to any needed changes and still give you time to complete them by October 29/April 1. Prior to September/March 1 the thesis should be reviewed with the first reader on whatever schedule suits you best.

I make it very clear to the students that one of their challenges in pursuing advanced degrees, especially in the State system, is that they must advocate for their own thesis work; they must acknowledge that faculty are not equitably compensated for the significant amount of time required for defining, supervising, and assuring the quality of reporting graduate research. Therefore, students must seek out faculty whom they can interest in their work and who will derive benefits (satisfaction even) from guiding their research. Again, students must earn faculty support through the quality of their work.

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Transfer Credits

Maximum of 6units allowed, only with approval of Graduate Coordinator. Must be 100-level from accredited 4-year university, not used as part of another degree.

Approval of transfer units based on the following: must be taken while in graduate standing (in other words, bachelor's degree already earned if from outside institution or we'll accept Post baccalaureate credit from units taken at SJSU if the student did not use those units toward their undergraduate degree), courses must be upper division or graduate level courses, school from which they're transferred must hold regional accreditation and we convert quarter units to semester units.

Transfer credit petitions must now be pre-approved and signed by graduate advisors before a student submits them to Graduate Studies office. You will need to list an SJSU equivalent course on the form because transfer courses are articulated to SJSU courses in PeopleSoft. Our transfer form has been updated and is available for download on our website at Please call us if you have any questions about this new requirement.

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Open University Registration

Any student wanting to enroll in 200-Level Courses through Open University must meet the following requirements:

1.       Student must not have been denied graduate admission to a regular semester.
2.       Student must not be a disqualified student at San Jose State University.
3.       Student must have a bachelor’s degree before enrolling in a 200-Level graduate course.
4.       Students cannot enroll in special studies/project courses through Open University (e.g. TA298 and TA299).

Graduate Studies cannot make exceptions in any of these cases.
Please pay particular attention to item 1 as many denied graduate students try to take 200 level courses which they may not.  Students do have the option of registering for 100 level Open University courses.

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Continuous Enrollment

Graduate students may be inactive for one semester without reapplying for admission operating on the assumption that "inactive" students are not requiring university resources.

You have one year to make up any Incompletes. Your classes will remain "valid" for seven years, at which time you have to repeat any courses that may have lapsed.

Graduate students registered for thesis work (TA299): If students do not finish the thesis work according to the thesis schedule they may receive a "No Credit" and must register the next semester for continuing units of 299. This registration will maintain continuous enrollment, better reflect the effort that is required by the faculty to advise and mentor the student, encouraging the degree candidate to complete the degree in a timely manner and to eliminate any problems associated when the student is not officially enrolled.

Students are not required to be enrolled in the semester that they graduate, though must be enrolled to receive a GA or TA position. A TA can get a fee waiver, but not a GA.

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Seven-Year Limit (official policy)

Yes there are options for the 7 year limit. There is a process called revalidation that re-certifies courses that have expired. Students have 3 options:

1. Revalidation: No more than 9 units of a program can be revalidated courses: This means testing out of three courses you took in the past and refreshing them. You would not have to take these courses over once the revalidation process is complete. Here is the form you should use to request revalidation.

2. Substitute expired courses with more current course.

3. Repeat the expired course.

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We actively encourage our graduate students to be involved in production. Earn part of your graduate units in production courses, and pursue advanced, professionally oriented production opportunities (and there are a lot of them) in theatre. We ask for graduate students to examine the larger implications of their production work and, indeed, the overall production work of the department. The multimedia emphasis of our program also allows for a diverse set of production activities in theatre, film, TV and radio.

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Teaching is an important aspect of of our program in several ways. Many of our graduate students are teachers or prospective teachers at all levels, K-University. Our pedagogy at the graduate level emphasizes the relationships between scholarship, practice and teaching and these are important topics of all graduate seminars. We also support selected graduate students with teaching assistantships or as teaching associates. We have several undergraduate courses usually taught by graduate students. If you take a look at the course schedule for example you'll note sections of TA5 (Beginning Acting) and sections of TA10 (Theatre Appreciation). Qualified students are eligible for these and other teaching assignments after successful completion of the first semester.

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Several working actors have done well in our program. I hasten to add that it's important to make graduate study a priority in order to be successful. Look at the schedule of classes and note the times of the graduate courses (200+ numbers) and upper division courses (100+) from which you'll draw your curriculum.

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TOEFL is required for all students who graduated from a higher education institution outside of the U.S. where the primary language of instruction was not English. The university minimum entrance score is 550 (paper based), 213 (computer based) or 80 (internet based).
TOEFL requirement may only be waived if the student has:
• Received a BS or MS degree from an accredited U.S. institution.
• Completed 72 semester units or 108-quarter units in a U.S. institution.
• Completed 3 years full-time school in a U.S. institution.
University's medium instruction and examinations were conducted in English.

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It's a good idea to keep copies of all communication to and from Graduate Studies.

Send your questions and suggestions to:

David Kahn
Graduate Coordinator

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