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GUIDELINES FOR THE M.A. COMPREHENSIVE EXAM

Graduate College and Departmental Requirements. The comprehensive examination for the M.A. in political science follows the requirements set forth in the Graduate College Bulletin. Students preparing for the oral defense and comprehensive examination are advised to consult that document regarding application procedures and deadlines. The department's Graduate Studies in Political Science statement contains a description of the examination process.  Provided below is additional information concerning the procedures.

Development of the Examination. The student's faculty advisor serves as chair of the committee. The student and the faculty advisor then select two other committee members, subject to the approval of the Graduate Program Director.

When the student has finished all coursework and completed the research paper or thesis, he/she is advised to contact all of the committee members to obtain reading lists and other information that might be helpful in preparing for the comprehensive exam.
The comprehensive exam covers the student's coursework and thesis or research paper. Normally the exam is conducted orally, however, a student may request a written examination. The committee chair makes the final decision as to the exam format. 

Evaluation of the comprehensive examination. The three-member faculty committee evaluates the student's performance on the oral (or written) examination. If the student takes a written examination, the committee will convene for the purpose of providing feedback to the student.

Procedures for Retaking a Failed Examination.  Students who fail the comprehensive examination may retake the exam within one year. A student may retake the exam only once.

Oral Defense. Students should schedule a committee meeting two weeks in advance through the department and submit an oral defense announcement. At the oral defense, the student should expect to make a brief presentation on their research to their three person committee followed by a question and answer period. The students' committee will inform the student of their results. This process normally takes between 1-2 hours.

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