Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive and final oral examinations will follow the Graduate School guidelines, which are printed below. A student’s academic advisor and graduate committee will provide guidelines on how to prepare for the exam. It is the responsibility of the student to prepare for the exam.

A candidate for the Ph.D. must have satisfied the English competence requirement before taking the comprehensive examination. All candidates are required to have a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 for work done at the University at the time the comprehensive examination is given, and may not have deferred or missing grades.

The student must be registered as a full-time or part-time student for the semester in which the comprehensive examination is taken.

The examination is scheduled and announced officially by the Graduate Dean upon recommendation of the Department Head. Two weeks' notice is required by the Graduate School for scheduling this examination. It is given and evaluated by the entire doctoral committee; a favorable vote of at least two-thirds of the members of the committee is required for passing. In case of failure, it is the responsibility of the doctoral committee to determine whether the candidate may take another examination. The results are reported to the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services.

At least three members of the doctoral committee (including the thesis adviser or chair) must be physically present at the comprehensive exam. (Thus for a five-person committee, two could participate via distance.) No more than one member may participate via telephone; a second member could participate via PicTel. The examination request and a request for exceptions must be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval at least two weeks prior to the date of the exam. Special arrangements, i.e., requirements for meeting participation via distance, should be communicated to the student and the doctoral committee members well in advance of the examination.

When a period of more than six years has elapsed between the passing of the comprehensive examination and the completion of the program, the student is required to pass a second comprehensive examination before the final oral examination will be scheduled.