Thesis/Exam Guidelines

Completing Requirements for the Master's Degree

Thesis (Plan A) or Comprehensive Examination (Plan B) Options: With the assistance of a faculty advisor, students develop a proposed Master's degree program according to Plan A or Plan B, as outlined below. The content will be determined by the individual student's background, area of concentration and thesis or examination topic.

Plan A (Thesis)

TA 299 Plan A: the thesis option is reserved for students with proven success in academic research and scholarly writing. To pursue the thesis option, students must secure program approval, nomination by a TRFT Department faculty member, develop a formal Thesis Proposal under TA 260 and gain approval by the department graduate committee. The program will include a maximum of four units for the thesis.

A Master's Thesis explores unknown intellectual territory, to discover a truth about something, not merely affirm what you already know or believe. A thesis demonstrates persuasively your ability to conduct scholarly research, to solve problems, and to articulate those solutions through formal writing. The thesis is an opportunity for you to find and develop your own voice, but you will find a voice only to the extent that you engage in informed dialogue with history and with others who have thought and written about your topic. How are you building on the ideas of others? What are significant limitations in previous understanding or discussion of the problem? What in current perception needs changing? What are you proposing or exploring that others have not? What original contribution will your research provide?

A thesis committee has the option of terminating the thesis option if, in the opinion of the three readers, the candidate is incapable or unwilling to write an acceptable thesis in a reasonable amount of time. In that case, if the student wishes to complete the degree the student will be required to take the Plan B - Comprehensive Examination.

Students who do not receive a nomination from a graduate faculty member or do not wish to write a master's thesis (Plan A) will have the option to complete a set of written comprehensive exams.

Plan B (Comprehensive Exam)

TA 298 Plan B: students develop their proposed course of study under the TA 260 course in much the same manner that Plan A students develop a thesis proposal. Upon approval by the Graduate Committee, Plan B students then enroll in TA 298 to do the reading, research and preparation for a set of written examinations administered during the final week of the semester. Plan B students will also present an oral "defense" of their examinations just as Plan A students defend their thesis projects.
Here is the syllabus for TA 298 which provides more details on the Comprehensive Examination process.

The Comprehensive Examination provides an opportunity for the student to demonstrate a thorough grasp of history, theory, practice and pedogogy within and across the disciplines of theatre, radio, film and television. On the exams, students are expected to demonstrate a familiarity with theoretical, aesthetic and historiographical issues, and to follow acceptable rules of grammar, spelling and academic style in presentation. The examination is scheduled toward the end of the fall and spring semesters and students must pass all sections of the examination within three attempts or no degree will be awarded.

With Plan B the candidates must successfully complete an oral defense based on the written examination.

TA 298 Plan B students complete a Course of Study for Comprehensive Examination according to the individual student's background, area of concentration and academic program. The program and Course of Study must be approved by the department graduate committee and will include the development of a specified reading list.

In addition, in order to complete the degree requirements, Plan B students must submit a scholarly article or conference paper for consideration by a peer reviewed publication or professional association.


Check out these links for more information

The Thesis/Examination Proposal

Candidacy Form

Human Subjects Institutional Review Board (HS - IRB)