The Comprehensive Examination Academic Year 2012-2013

In the spring semester before graduation – and after a student has completed (or is in the process of completing) all core course requirements – each M.A. student in Communication taking the Non-Thesis Option is required to complete the comprehensive examination. Registration for at least one credit is required during the comprehensive examination semester and students are encouraged to take the Capstone Course in the same semester, as full support for completing the comprehensive examination is provided. The examination focuses on three content areas chosen by the student; two questions are answered during a four-hour written examination, taken without the use of notes, and one question is considered a take take-home exam.  
 

INITIATING AND PREPARING FOR THE EXAMINATION

To initiate the examination, an M.A. student must contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Sherry Morreale, by no later than Thursday, February 7, 2012, for the Spring 2013 examination.  Each student will select and invite three Communication faculty members with whom he or she has had graduate coursework to serve on the Examination Committee. The student will invite one of these faculty members to serve as Chair of the Examination Committee. The student will inform the Director of Graduate Studies of the faculty members willing to serve on the Examination Committee by entering their names on the Comprehensive Examination form including the course number and indicating who is chair.   Prior to the written examination, it is appropriate to seek advice and guidance about the examination question from the professor who provides that particular question. At the discretion of the professor, the advice will relate to clarifying the nature of research to answer the question. The specific examination question is not provided prior to the examination.

THE WRITTEN EXAMINATION

The Spring 2013 written examination will be given on Friday, April 5, 2012 from 12n to 4pm.  On the day of the written examination, the student reports to the examination location, by no later than 11:50 a.m. The student is not allowed to bring in resources for writing his/her answers, with the exception of one comprehensive list of references for each question. This list is not an annotated bibliography; it is only a list of references presented in APA style that can inform writing and be attached to the final written answer.  The student’s name, instructor, and course number should be at the top of the reference list. Students will be provided with access to a computer during the examination, but Internet access on the computer will be disabled.  At the start of the on-site writing, one of the two on-site questions is chosen by the student who writes the answer until she or he is satisfied with the answer.  Then the student receives the second question, may take up to 15 minutes break, and then she or he answers the second on-site question.  The take-home question, which has been identified by the Examination Committee as such prior to the on-site writing, is given to the student at the end of the written examination.  This question is answered in an open-book format.   The take-home question is due no later than 12:00 p.m. on the Monday following the written examination.

ORAL DEFENSE OF THE ANSWERS

One to two weeks after the written examination is completed, a one and one half hour oral defense will be conducted. The Oral Defense for Spring 2013 will be scheduled April 15 – 24, 2013. In the oral defense, students have the opportunity to expand on their written responses and answer questions from the Examination Committee. Students may bring extensive notes to assist in discussing and defending their answers, but a completely rewritten answer is not accepted. The Chair of the Examination Committee will coordinate scheduling the oral defense with the student and other faculty members on the Committee. The department assistant assists with this scheduling and schedules the location of the oral defense. At the conclusion of the oral defense, the student will be informed of the outcome of the comprehensive examination. A student who has provided acceptable written and oral responses will pass the examination. Those who provide excellent or outstanding responses may pass with distinction or highest distinction. Students who do not provide adequate responses will be asked to revise or rewrite their answer.  If a revision/ or rewrite of any answer is required by any professor, the student will be asked to rewrite for a NEW question.  The rewrite will take place in the same on-site examination format of two hours and no notes or other resources used.  The rewrite examination will be given on Friday, April 26, 2013 from 12n to 2pm.  Failure to provide an adequate revision in the second examination will result in the denial of the M.A. degree.

The form on the back of this sheet is used to evaluate the written and oral components of the comprehensive examination.

 

Comprehensive Examination
Oral Defense Checklist

Student __________________________ Date ______________

Professor____________________________________________

Written Answer






Clarity of answer very poor poor average excellent outstanding
Accuracy of information very poor poor average excellent outstanding
Comprehensiveness of response very poor poor average excellent outstanding
Logic of argument very poor poor average excellent outstanding
Structure of written response very poor poor average excellent outstanding







Oral Defense:






Clarity of answer very poor poor average excellent outstanding
Accuracy of information very poor poor average excellent outstanding
Comprehensiveness of response very poor poor average excellent outstanding
Logic of argument very poor poor average excellent outstanding
Oral competence very poor poor average excellent outstanding







Overall Assessment of Examination:







Revisions Needed
(as outlined on the
back of this sheet)
Pass
Pass
with Distinction

Pass with Highest
Distinction