Graduate Student Policies: Comprehensive Exam

Written Comprehensive/Phase II Exam

M.S. students who elect for the Comprehensive Exam option must pass a comprehensive examination offered by the department or by a representative of the specific research area. Students should speak to the ICS Graduate Counselor or research area representative regarding test dates, preparation, and reading lists. The faculty within the particular area develops the exam; this may result in the content and structure varying from year to year.

Ph.D. students must also pass a written comprehensive examination offered by the student’s department (see specific degree requirements for more information as this exam may vary by degree/concentration). Students should speak to their advisor, research area representative or the ICS graduate counselors regarding test dates, preparation, and reading lists. Faculty from the particular research area develop the exam, so the content and structure may vary from year to year.

The exam is graded on three levels: M.S. Pass, Ph.D. Pass, and Fail.

Students may re-take the exam once. Ph.D. students who receive an M.S. Pass can qualify for the M.S. degree, but must re-take the exam and pass at the Ph.D. level to continue in the Ph.D. program.

To take the exam for a third time, students must petition both the ICS Associate Dean for Student Affairs and the Dean of Graduate Division for permission. If the petition is denied, the student may be dismissed from the program.

Once the exam is passed at the desired level, please make sure the appropriate paperwork is filed with the Bren School graduate counselor.