Human Subjects Institutional Review Board (HS-IRB)

Federal and California State statutes as well as University policy require investigators conducting research involving human subjects to be knowledgeable about and to comply with regulations for the protection of human subjects in research.  The institutional Review Board exists to insure that the rights of participating subjects are protected and to provide the oversight necessary to assure that all policies regarding the use of human subjects are adhered to.
All investigators conducting any research using human subjects must, in accordance with SJSU policy must:

  • Obtain HS-IRB approval prior to soliciting subjects or collecting data.  This includes projects that require HS-IRB approval and/or approval of requests for exemption from review.
  • Provide potential subjects with information necessary to make an informed decision regarding participation in the study.
  • Protect the confidentiality of all subjects participating in research and all data that may be collected from the subjects.
  • Provide special safety procedures, as needed, to avoid any harm to subjects.

Most students in our program whose research depends on interviews, oral histories, and ethnographies are able to file for Exemption. Review the Guidelines carefully. 


First, no data should be collected until you receive IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval.  Second, if you are going onto company property to conduct the interviews, then you do need permission from the company or production unit on letterhead and this needs to be part of your IRB submission to Graduate Studies.  Once you receive approval from the SJSU IRB then you must remember to provide each person you are interviewing a consent letter that is on letterhead from SJSU.  This is the consent letter that you submit to our office as part of your IRB protocol and we approve to ensure that all components have been addressed.


Permission from production companies should simply state your name, the title of your research and the fact that they are aware of your procedures and agree to allow you to conduct the research on their site.

Complete Human Subjects Review documentation available from
SJSU Graduate Studies and Research Office

Contact Alena Filip at 408-924-2479. Alena is the IRB/Thesis coordinator.

A brief Oral Presentation of the Thesis/Exam Proposal occurs on the day before final exams begin. At that time, the Graduate Faculty will vote on the proposal. Once the proposal accepted, the candidate is "advanced to candidacy." A Thesis Committee, consisting of three readers, including your first reader, is assigned. (At least two persons on your thesis Committee must come from the TRFT Department, and at least two persons on your committee must have doctoral degrees.)

To receive an "Incomplete" in the course, a student must have completed all of the assignment benchmarks, regardless of whether he or she decides, with the recommendation of the First Reader, to submit a final proposal and defend that proposal to the TRFT Graduate Committee at the end of the semester.