Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination tests students' knowledge of the seminal arguments, theories, and discourse regarding the various areas of inquiry. They are taken after the student has passed the 52-credit course review. They demonstrate that the student has mastered the basics of the relevant AIs and is prepared to proceed towards the preparation of the dissertation.

  • Students choose four (4) of the seven (7) AIs on which they will be tested. Students wishing to take a comprehensive examination must inform the DGA Associate Director of their desire in writing at least one month prior to the examination.
  • Students have two opportunities to pass the examination. Failure to pass the comprehensive examination on the second try will result in the student's withdrawal from the Ph.D. program
    • Students taking the examination for the second time are required to sit for Areas of Inquiry that were not passed the first time.
  • Students will take the comprehensive examination after passing the 52-Credit Course Review. In order to complete the dissertation on time, this should not be later than four years after entering the Ph.D. program. Students who fail to take the comprehensive examination within this time may be asked to withdraw from the Ph.D. program.
  • Comprehensive examinations are scheduled two times a year (September and February). The examination is a two day proctored examination. Each student is given three hours per section.
  • Cell phones, internet, books and notes are NOT allowed during the examination. On the day of the examination, questions will be distributed at the beginning of each three hour period. Questions may not leave the examination room nor will answers be returned to students.
  • Students will be notified one week in advance regarding the schedule for each of their chosen sections.
  • Students will be given three questions per section and required to answer one of the three choices per section.
  • A one to two hour break will be given in the middle of each day. Three hours are provided to answer each question.
  • Students who do not stop working when advised may receive an automatic failure.
  • Students will not be given lower grades due to grammatical errors or the absence of citations; however, they are expected to present answers which are organized, respond to the questions asked, and communicate the student's comprehension of the appropriate material.
  • Students are given reading lists regarding each AI section and a short class which outlines examination requirements. Students with disabilities providing documentation on the nature of their disability may be granted additional accomodations.
  • Late answers will result in an automatic disqualification.
  • Students scheduled for an examination, but who do not attend will receive an automatic disqualification.

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