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  • The comprehensive examination is the most advanced posed by MU.
  • The student must be enrolled to take the exam.
  • It can only be administered when MU is officially in session.
  • Before they can take the exam, students must substantially complete the course work outlined in the plan of study to the satisfaction of the doctoral program committee and the Graduate School.
  • Exam content will be determined by the student’s advisor and doctoral committee.

Parts of the exam

  • The exam consists of written and oral sections.
  • It must be completed at least 7 months before the final defense of the dissertation.
  • The 2 sections of the examination must be completed within 1 month.
  • The written section or sections of the examination may be conducted in 2 ways:
    • The written section arranged and supervised by the student’s advisor. It would be prepared and graded by the student’s doctoral committee
    • The advisor may delegate responsibility for arranging, preparing, supervising and grading the written section to 1 or more departmental/program committees appointed for this purpose.


  • For the comprehensive exam to be successfully completed, the doctoral program committee must vote to pass the student on the entire examination, both written and oral sections, with no more than one dissenting or abstaining vote.
  • A report of this decision, carrying the signatures of all members of the committee, must be sent to the Graduate School and the student no later than 2 weeks after the comprehensive examination is completed.
  • A failure of either the written or oral section of the exam constitutes failure of the comprehensive exam.
  • If a failure is reported, the committee must include in the report an outline of the general weaknesses or deficiencies of the student’s work.
  • The student and the committee members are encouraged to work together to identify steps the student can take to prepare for the next exam.
  • The student who fails may not take a second comprehensive examination for at least 12 weeks.
  • Failure to pass 2 comprehensive examinations automatically prevents candidacy.

Request for clarification

  • If at any time the student believes that the advice given by the committee is inadequate, the student may send a written request for clarification to the committee.
  • A copy of this request should be sent to the Graduate School as well.
  • The committee must respond to this request in writing within 2 weeks and a copy must be filed with the Graduate School.


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