Each program requiring a written comprehensive examination determines the content of that examination and administers the examination. The student is provided an opportunity to demonstrate general knowledge of the discipline and to give evidence of analytical abilities. The comprehensive examination represents the culmination of intensive formal study and serves to demonstrate proficiency required for the cultivation of the habit of inquiry and/or learning outcomes specified for a specific program. The student should consult with his or her advisor and the faculty throughout the formal study in determining what preparation will be expected.

The comprehensive examination will be scheduled upon recommendation of the student’s advisor and program director; ordinarily, the completion of the course work required in the Plan of Study should be anticipated in the semester during which the examination is to be taken. The student is advanced to candidacy upon passing the comprehensive examination.

The program director (or department chair) will notify the Dean of the Graduate School whether the student has passed or failed the comprehensive examination. A candidate who has failed the comprehensive examination will be permitted to take it only one more time, but only after a one-semester study period has been completed. Failure of the comprehensive examination disqualifies the student for the thesis examination or dissertation defense and/or graduation.