What can I expect on the final exam?

Doctoral students and masters students in a thesis option must take a final oral examination. The first part of the examination is open to the public and consists of a formal presentation of the student's thesis/dissertation research, during which time all persons present may engage in general questioning. At the end of the public hearing, there will be a closed questioning portion of the examination where all persons except the student, the Supervisory Committee, and invited faculty must be excused. The final oral examination is given by the Supervisory Committee after the student's studies have been completed and the thesis/dissertation accepted. The Supervisory Committee also determines the character and length of the examination. The examination may focus on the student's thesis/dissertation topic, general knowledge, or critical thinking and judgment skills.

Masters students in a non-thesis option will take a final written examination within 24 months prior to the date of graduation (written examinations more than 24 months old are not valid for graduation). A final examination (written and/or oral) in the minor department may be waived—subject to the approval of the minor department—provided all grades in the minor are at least a B or Pass. The final written examination will cover the major area of study and may include any relevant general education topics. It will be administered by the Chair of the Specialization Advisory Committee. The date for the exam must be indicated on the student's Final Examination Report. The Chair of the Specialization Advisory Committee will solicit exam questions from the student’s major adviser and other relevant faculty members. The Chair, in consultation with the student’s major adviser, will coordinate grading the questions on a Pass/No Pass basis. If a student fails to pass the final written exam, the Specialization Advisory Committee must file a report in the Office of Graduate Studies and indicate what the student must do before taking another exam. Another exam may not be taken during the same semester or summer session in which the student failed.