The Comprehensive Exam
All graduate degrees are required to conduct a culminating assessment of student learning. Some graduate programs do this in the context of a capstone course, and others require that students pass a comprehensive examination in order to be awarded a degree. Comprehensive examinations vary in format and structure, as well as the times they are administered. In order to facilitate successful performance on their comprehensive examination, graduate programs must:
- provide adequate information regarding format and content of the examination and the time(s) it will be offered in order to promote optimal preparation;
- validate evaluation or scoring procedures;
- provide detailed feedback if the examination is not initially passed, including specific examples of unacceptable performance and offer additional support and in an effort to assist the student in meeting expected levels of performance;
- give at least one opportunity to re-attempt the examination if not initially passed within a reasonable timeline and specify the maximum number of repeat attempts allowed before recommending dismissal.
The department must forward results of the comprehensive examination to the Graduate College no later than the last day of class in a semester. These results will be entered into the University system (Banner) and will be reflected in the student’s degree audit.
Program Dismissal Due to Failed Comprehensive Examination
If a student does not pass the program’s comprehensive examination after all re-attempts have been exhausted:
- The student will be notified in writing that s/he is being dismissed from the program at the end of the current semester due to a failure to pass the comprehensive examination. Notification of dismissal should occur as soon as possible. Either the faculty or the student may request a meeting to discuss the dismissal decision and notification.
- The student may appeal his/her dismissal to the Dean of the College within five (5) business days of receiving notification of such dismissal.
- The student may appeal a decision to uphold the dismissal by the Dean of the College to the Dean of the Graduate College and the Office of the Provost within five (5) business days of receiving notification of the Dean of the College’s decision.
- A decision to uphold the dismissal by the Dean of the Graduate College and the Office of the Provost may be appealed to the President of the University within five (5) business days of receiving notification of the Dean of the Graduate College/Office of the Provost’s decision. The decision of the President is final.