A student is considered eligible to take the doctoral comprehensive during or immediately following the final semester of required course work, or within six hours of completion of the courses listed on the plan of study, excluding dissertation hours. Completion of EDUC 663, EDUC 664 and EDUC 665 is recommended prior to the semester in which the comprehensive examination is taken.
The Comprehensive/Doctoral Committee includes the Chair or Co-Chairs, and one to two additional members, with a minimum of three members.
In SPACE, the members of the Committee, initially selected for the Comprehensive Examination process, ideally should remain on the Doctoral Committee throughout the dissertation and final defense. (The composition of the Committee should include at least one member from the primary field of study (e.g., Counselor Education), and at least one member from outside the primary field of study.)
The Chair of the Committee must be a faculty member in the School of Education; a minimum of two members of the Committee must be faculty members in the School of Education. Members outside of the School of Education must be approved by the Committee Chair.
The appointed academic advisor may be selected by the student to serve on or chair the Committee, but inclusion of the academic advisor is not mandatory. All members of the Committee must have a terminal degree and are required to participate fully in review and assessment of written and oral examinations and in the dissertation process. The Chair should ensure that current or recent supervisory and collegial relationships between Committee members and the student are avoided.
Changes in the composition of the Doctoral Committee may be requested through the standard procedure administered through the Office of Academic Programs.
The Comprehensive Examination consists of the Standard Written Examination, the Candidacy Paper, and the Oral Examination based primarily upon the Candidacy Paper.
Step One: The Standard Examination
The Doctoral Program faculty design essay questions representing areas of study that are central to doctoral study in the field. The questions require a demonstration of breadth of knowledge and call for description and analysis of central issues in the primary field of study and supporting fields or cognate areas as deemed appropriate by the Area faculty. The exam is to be completed in 10 hours and includes one question regarding research design. The exam includes one question regarding research design.
The Counselor Education program is responsible for developing written criteria for the evaluation of the standard exam. These written criteria must be shared with students prior to the exam. The Committee will evaluate the standard exam on a Pass/Fail/Honors basis. A unanimous vote is required for an Honors designation; a majority vote is necessary for all other evaluations. The review of the standard exam should be completed within two weeks. Each member of the Committee will summarize his or her evaluation in a memo to the Chair. The Chair of the Committee will notify the Office of Academic Programs regarding the status of the student; subsequently, the Office of Academic Programs will notify the student. In the event of an unsatisfactory evaluation of the standard exam, the Chair will make recommendations and set a timetable to remedy any deficiencies. A second standard exam may be scheduled through the Office of Academic Programs. If a failing grade is received twice, the candidacy is denied.
Step Two: The Candidacy Paper
The Candidacy Paper serves as the focus for the Oral Examination. The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate an in-depth critical analysis coupled with appropriate or original interpretations and applications of the topic under consideration. The student must submit an outline for the paper to the Chair within two weeks of receiving an evaluation of Pass or Honors for the Standard Written Exam. Within two weeks following submission, the Committee must accept the topical outline or may request a revised submission by the student. Upon approval, the Committee Chair will file the appropriate form with the Office of Academic Programs. Students must certify in an Honor Code statement that the paper is a substantially new product which may draw upon previous work, but represents fresh perspectives. The paper will be between fifteen and twenty narrative pages [6000 to 9000 words] in a topic area highly relevant to the primary field of study and follow standard APA style requirements. The paper must be completed within four weeks. During this period, faculty contact is limited to brief consultation on the process but not the substance of the paper. Ideally, the paper will be of publishable quality.
Each Doctoral Program Area is responsible for developing written criteria for the evaluation of the paper. The student should demonstrate in the paper the content knowledge and critical analysis and writing skills necessary for the completion of the dissertation. Upon a satisfactory evaluation of the paper from the majority of the Committee members, the Chair of the Committee will notify the student and the Office of Academic Programs, and set the date for the oral exam. In the event of an unsatisfactory evaluation of the paper, the Chair will make recommendations and set a timetable to remedy any deficiencies. A second evaluation will be scheduled by the Chair. A student may rewrite an unsatisfactory paper only once. A second unsatisfactory paper denies the student candidacy.
Step Three: The Oral Examination
The Oral Examination will be facilitated by the Chair of the Committee, and all members of the Committee must attend. The oral examination focuses on verbal presentation of the content of the Candidacy Paper, as well as any other relevant content areas that are identified by the Committee and submitted to the student.
Oral Examination Evaluation
Each Doctoral Program is responsible for developing both a group orientation to the process of the oral exam as well as a written criteria for the evaluation of this exam. The Committee will meet at the conclusion of the oral exam to determine the status of the student based on his or her performance. The Committee will evaluate the oral exam on a Pass/Fail/Honors basis. A unanimous vote is required for an Honors designation; a majority vote is necessary for all other evaluations. The Chair will notify the student and the Office of Academic Programs of the evaluation that the student has received. In the event of an unsatisfactory evaluation of the oral exam, the Chair will make recommendations and set a timetable to remedy any deficiencies. A second oral exam will be scheduled by the Chair and the student. A student may retake a failed oral exam only once. A second failed oral exam denies the student candidacy.
In order for a student to receive the Honors designation on his or her transcript for the comprehensive exams, all components (the standard exam, the candidacy paper, and the oral exam) must be judged at the Honors level. The Honors designation will be announced at the time of graduation during the recognition of degrees at the School of Education graduation ceremony.