Masters Comprehensive Examination Policy

Effective Fall 2015

All students pursuing a master's degree at UNL are required to complete either a written comprehensive examination or an oral examination within 24 months of graduation. This requirement varies by the degree and specialization a student pursues as outlined below.


Students completing the MEd with an administrative endorsement (elementary or secondary principal, curriculum supervisor, special education supervisor)
Students completing the MEd with an administrative endorsement will fulfill the requirement by taking an examination in EDAD 811 Practicum during the semester they complete the practicum.  The examination is developed to help the student prepare for the Praxis II examination required for administrative endorsement by the Nebraska Department of Education.  Information on the examination will be distributed during the first class session of EDAD 811 each semester.

Students completing the on campus Student Affairs Administration program (MA option I or option III)
Students completing the on campus Student Affairs Administration program will fulfill this requirement by either completing an oral examination related to a thesis (option I) or submitting a written response to a case study (option III). The decision to complete this requirement under option I or III should be made in consultation with your advisor before the end of your first semester in the program. Individuals meeting the requirement by completing the case study (option III) will receive the case study during the first spring semester class meeting of EDAD 966 Student Affairs Seminar. The deadline to submit the case study will be the second Friday of February. Individuals completing the requirement through the thesis (option I) will present an oral defense and complete an oral examination of the thesis with a committee of three faculty members. Deadlines to successfully complete the oral examination are established by the Office of Graduate Studies and are published on the graduate studies web site at http://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/current/degrees/masters.

Students completing the online MA with a higher education administration focus (and any other student not pursuing a P-12 administrative endorsement or not a member of the on campus student affairs cohort) 
Students completing the online MA with a higher education administration focus will complete the comprehensive examination by submitting a capstone paper. Students must apply to complete the capstone paper. Application forms will be sent to all masters degree students each semester, however, the deadline to apply for the capstone paper is the first Friday of the fall, spring, and first 5-week summer session for graduation in December, May, and August. Students who apply will then receive further information and a paper topic selected by their advisor. The deadline to submit the capstone paper is the second Friday of October, February, and July for graduation in December, May, and August. Capstone papers will be evaluated by a committee of three faculty members.

The capstone paper for the higher education administration focus will adhere to the following specifications:

  1. The Master’s capstone paper is expected to integrate and synthesize what was learned during the Master’s degree program and apply research, theory, and course content to practice.
  2. The Master’s capstone paper should include references to course content and experiences such as projects, major assignments, major course papers, and internships.
  3. The Master’s capstone paper should reflect the major concepts the student has learned during the Master’s degree program. When discussing these learned concepts, the student should reference the specific course, major paper, assignment, project, internship, and other specific learning experience to which the concepts apply.
  4. All claims and arguments made by the student in the Master’s capstone paper should be supported including reference citations using current APA guidelines.
  5. The Master’s capstone paper should reflect how the student can apply the research, theory, and course content of their Master’s program to practice in the area(s) the student wishes to pursue for her/his career. The student should reflect on her/his program and decide what they learned and how (s)he can use this in their future work.
  6. Essays should not exceed 15 pages double-spaced (including references), excluding a title page, with one inch margins and a twelve point font. Students should put their name only on the title page. This capstone paper is to be an independent effort that reflects your personal learning experiences as a graduate student in Educational Administration.

Revised by the Faculty March 2015