2021-2022 Graduate Catalog

Comprehensive Examinations for the Master's Degree

The Graduate School does not require comprehensive examinations for master’s degree students. Departments and academic units that do have these requirements solely determine the format that is most appropriate for their disciplines but must adhere to the following general guidelines:

The comprehensive examinations should be taken when the majority of the course work required for the master’s degree is completed. The examinations will be offered each academic semester, the time and place to be determined by the administering department or academic unit.
The examining committee will be made up of three members of the graduate faculty representing the student’s major area(s) of study and will evaluate the student’s performance.
The committee decision will be either “pass” or “fail.” A student's exam may be passed with one dissenting committee vote. 
The examining committee chairperson will notify the student, department chairperson or program director, and the Graduate School in writing of the outcome when the student has completed the comprehensive examination. If one member of the thesis committee dissents, the dissenting member and, if appropriate, the chairperson of the examining committee will file with the dean of the Graduate School a letter detailing the circumstances of the dissent. 
A failed examination may be repeated only one time. The committee members who administered the first examination will also administer the retest.
A student who fails the examination after two attempts is not allowed to complete graduate studies in that program, and the master’s degree will not be conferred.

Exceptions to the above guidelines must be approved in advance by the dean of the Graduate School.

A student must pass the comprehensive examination before submitting a final copy of the research paper, creative project, or thesis (if required) to the Graduate School.