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Comprehensive Examinations for PhD/DBA/AvD Students

Effective Date Jun 20, 2008

(Graduate Policy 2.4)

After the completion of all formal coursework (as determined by the academic unit) included in the doctoral program of study, the student is required to pass a comprehensive examination administered by the doctoral committee. A candidate must be enrolled during the term the examination is taken. Otherwise, a separate examination fee must be paid. Student accounting or the Office of Graduate Programs can provide information about this fee. The examination will cover the student’s major area of emphasis in depth, but may also include other areas considered appropriate by the doctoral committee. The examination should generally be written, but may, according to academic unit/program policy, be an oral examination, or may include both written and oral parts.

Committee Participation

(Graduate Policy 2.4.1)

The entire doctoral committee must participate in the comprehensive examination. In the case of the outside member of the committee, this member should be encouraged, but not required, to submit written questions to the committee chair. All members of the committee are required to attend the entirety of any oral examination.

Oral Examination Announcement

(Graduate Policy 2.4.2)

In the case of oral examinations, the Office of Graduate Programs must be notified at least two weeks in advance of the examination. The examination specifics will then be included in the appropriate weekly schedule of oral examinations, which is published by the Office of Graduate Programs and sent to all members of the graduate faculty. The examinations will be open only to members of the graduate faculty.

Passed Examination

(Graduate Policy 2.4.3)

To pass an examination, the student must have the unanimous approval of the committee. The examination must be passed at least one calendar year before the degree is awarded. An examination report must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Programs.

Failed Examination

(Graduate Policy 2.4.4)

An examination report marked “FAILED” must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Programs if the student does not pass the examination. A student who does not pass the examination may, at the option of a majority of the committee, be allowed one opportunity to retake the examination after a suitable period of study. On the second failure by a student of the comprehensive examination, the Office of Graduate Programs will notify the registrar of the need to annotate the transcript as follows:


At the time of the second failure, the student will be notified in writing that he or she will not be admitted to candidacy.

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