Higher Education
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Comprehensive Exams


Conferral of the doctorate degree signifies more than the completion of a prescribed course of study; the doctoral candidate must be able to evaluate, synthesize, and communicate the underlying assumptions affecting research and practice in the knowledge area. The comprehensive examination and portfolio provide the student with the opportunity to demonstrate this ability.

Preparing for the examination and portfolio are also a capstone learning experience, requiring the student to review, systematically, material presented in the various classes that make up the curriculum. Often, subject material presented in a class taken at the beginning of the student's course of study appears quite different in light of insights gained by further readings or study in subsequent courses.

The comprehensive examination may be taken following successful completion of the prescribed course work in the student's knowledge area. The comprehensive exam documents students' readiness to progress to the next stage of their scholarly career and is submitted after all course work and internships are completed. It demonstrates the knowledge, aptitude and skill to “advance to candidacy” in one area of scholarly interest. Students who receives a Pass on the Higher Education and Knowledge Area Comprehensive Examinations may move to the proposal stage.


In order to take the examinations, the student must have an overall 3.0 GPA and be in compliance with university policies; incomplete (IN) course(s) must be completed prior to scheduling the date of the examinations. Students must secure the approval of the Director of Academics for the Higher Education Program before scheduling the examinations.

More Informaton

Read the webpages to the right for information about planning for your comprehensive exams and for the knowledge area exams.


Print Friendly and PDF