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Students will select a comprehensive exam chair with approval from their academic advisor (who is usually the same individual) and with approval of the Department of Communication's Graduate Committee. The student and their exam chair will select faculty members from within the Department of Communication's graduate faculty to make up the comprehensive exam committee. All M.A. comprehensive exam committee members must hold a doctoral degree. Students must complete an M.A. Comprehensive Exams Committee Form and submit it to the Department of Communication's Graduate Program Coordinator.
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The comprehensive exam covers the entirety of the student's coursework, including the student's specialty area. It will not cover new material except as needed to bolster the specialty area. It consists of both a written and oral portion.
There will be three separate written exam sessions, to be taken during the two weeks following spring break in the student’s second year. Each written exam session will be two hours long. The exam is taken in-person, using a Department of Communication laptop. The three exam sessions will focus on:
Research methodology and statistics
The student’s specialty area
Generally, each faculty member on the committee is responsible for writing the questions for one of the three sessions. Committee members should be selected with this in mind.
If the student does not pass one or more written sections of the comprehensive exam, these sections may be rewritten prior to the oral exam. Only one repeat written examination will be permitted.
The oral defense of the comprehensive exam is held as soon as possible after the student has successfully completed the written portion, and provides an arena for the student to answer any additional questions of committee members.
Once the oral defense is complete, the M.A. Comprehensive Exams Oral Defense Form must be signed by all members of the committee and submitted to the Department of Communication's Graduate Program Coordinator, who will forward it to the Graduate College.