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Queen's University
 

Social-Personality Psychology at Queen's University
Program Requirements for Social-Personality Comprehensive Examination

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The social-personality program will require successful completion of the area comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination will cover such topics as research methods, attitudes and persuasion, cross-cultural psychology, psychology and law, social cognition, and personality. The material that students are responsible for knowing is specified by the comprehensive reading list. The full comprehensive reading list will be posted on the social-personality web page by the end of September for the comprehensive examination the following year. Students will respond to a subset of broad questions. Generally, only 2 broad questions will be answered. The remainder of the examination will consist of relatively brief responses (no more than a long paragraph each) to several smaller questions that will permit the exam to address a wider spectrum of issues in social psychology.

Social-Personality Comprehensive Examination: Policy

1. Purposes:
The purposes of the social-personality comprehensive examination are:
a) to prepare students such that they will be comfortable and competent to teach the broad range of topics in the area at the level of a second year undergraduate course;
b) to prepare students such that they will be able to converse comfortably with faculty members in the social-personality area during job interviews and early in their career as academics and;
c) to evaluate the students' thoroughness of preparation.

2. Reading list:
The reading list for the comprehensive examination in any year is the list posted on the social-personality website on October 1 of the preceding year.

3. Timing:
a) The social-personality comprehensive examination normally is written in the summer of the third year in the graduate program (end of PhD1).
b) Normally, the exam will be held no later than July 31 (or the last Friday if the 31st is on a weekend).
c) The exam date may be changed at the unanimous request of all students writing the exam in a given year but only if the comprehensive committee consents.

4. Written format:
a) The written portion of the social-personality comprehensive examination is a four-hour, sit-down exam written at a computer terminal, at a location determined by the comprehensive committee.
b) The exam consists of two broad questions requiring integration of information from a variety of sources and one question consisting of a large number of smaller items each requiring specific knowledge.
c) The exam always allows choice from among a variety of questions for the integrative questions but normally will require answers to all of the shorter items comprising the third question.
d) Examples of previous comprehensive examinations are available through the graduate office.

5. Evaluation of the written exam:
a) Each question is marked by each member of the comprehensive committee (normally three faculty members).
b) Each marker assigns an evaluation to each question using the following scale: excellent, acceptable, or fail.
c) A response to a question is deemed a pass if two of the three markers assign an evaluation of excellent or acceptable.
d) A response to a question is deemed a failure if two of the three markers assign an evaluation of fail.
e) All other combinations of evaluations are deemed to be ambiguous and the final evaluation of the students' performance on the question is deferred until after the oral examination.
f) To pass the comprehensive examination, the student must pass two of the three exam questions (where one question will consist of numerous smaller items).

6. Oral exam:
a) An oral exam follows the written exam with no more than a two-month delay (shorter delays may be negotiated and all students in a given year may not experience the same delay).
b) The students will be aware of the evaluation of the written exam at least one week before the oral exam.
c) The content of the oral examination is not restricted to the questions used on the written exam.
d) Any written exam questions that do not result in a pass will be addressed in the oral exam.
e) The examining committee for the oral exam shall consist of the student's supervisor, one member of the comprehensive committee assigned by that committee, and a third member who shall be a full-time social-personality faculty member selected by the student.

7. Evaluation of the oral exam:
a) Each marker assigns an evaluation to entire oral examination performance using the following scale: excellent, acceptable, or fail.
b) The exam performance is deemed a pass if two of the three markers assign an evaluation of excellent or acceptable.
c) The exam performance is deemed a failure if two of the three markers assign an evaluation of fail.
d) A student who has passed the written comprehensive examination cannot subsequently fail the comprehensive exam requirement as a result of the oral examination.
e) A student who fails the written comprehensive examination can pass the comprehensive requirement by passing the oral exam.

8. Consequences of failure:
a) The primary purpose of the comprehensive examination is not to screen weak students from the program; however, inability to successfully complete the comprehensive requirement is not acceptable performance.
b) A student who fails the comprehensive examination (both the written and oral exams) must write and pass the comprehensive examination the following year or the student will be required to withdraw from the program (subject only to Departmental and School of Graduate Studies appeal procedures).

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