Comprehensive Examination/Thesis Defense

A comprehensive examination—oral, written or both—covering the field of concentration and the thesis (if the thesis option is chosen) is required for all master’s students except M.B.A.

  • Examinations are administered by the head of the student’s major department or a designated member of the graduate faculty.
  • At least five days prior to the comprehensive examination, the name of the student, the title of the thesis or research, recital or exhibition, if any, and the day, date, time and place in which the event is scheduled shall be posted in a prominent place, and the dean of the Graduate School shall be so notified in writing.
  • Oral comprehensive examinations, recitals and exhibitions shall be open to all members of the University academic community. Participation of non-committee members is at the discretion of the committee chairperson.
  • Results of the exam must be reported in writing to the Office of the Graduate School.
  • If a student fails the first examination, one semester or the equivalent (16 weeks or two summer sessions) must elapse before the student may take the exam again. Additional course work, research or directed study will be recommended for the student in the interim.
  • The second failure of a comprehensive examination will result in automatic suspension from the Graduate School. For more information about comprehensive examinations and/or thesis defense, see the appropriate department head.