Comprehensive Exam Guidelines

A comprehensive exam is designed to meet two objectives: (1) to examine the problem-solving skills of Ph.D. candidates, and (2) to test the ability of Ph.D. candidates to articulate, both verbally and in writing, concepts and facts relevant to the area program. To meet these goals, each student will be assigned four ‘take-home’ questions normally chosen by the student’s Comprehensive Examination Committee. See full COMPREHENSIVE EXAM REGULATIONS (PDF, 82 KB) for more details.


Students will be expected to write the Doctoral Comprehensive Examination by the end of the first year of Ph.D. studies, and must indicate their intent to do so on the Annual Student Report. Notice of intent should specify the student’s field(s) of study.