Students in the PhD Program in Global Inclusion and Social Development (GISD) are expected to relate the concepts they have learned through their academic program to practical applications. The goal of the comprehensive examination is to determine the student’s knowledge and understanding of theories related to globalization, social development, and social inclusion, as well as their capacity to apply these theories in real-world situations. Successful completion of the comprehensive examination admits the student to candidacy for the PhD degree.
Components of the Comprehensive Exam
Students will complete a written and oral examination of content related to the core courses in global inclusion and social development.
The written component of the comprehensive exam is six hours and is scheduled twice per year. This is a closed book exam. Students have a total of six hours to complete the written component of the comprehensive exam, four hours in the morning session and two hours in the afternoon session.
The exam consists of 6 questions that reflect key issues addressed in the core courses; students must answer 3 of the questions during the exam period. Exam questions will focus on three areas: (1) research, (2) policy, and (3) practice/case study. There will be two options within each of these focus areas, and students will be required to answer one question in each of the three focus areas. Questions will call for the integration of concepts taught across the core courses.
The exams will be reviewed and evaluated by two GISD core faculty members; this blind review will ensure that the identity of the student is not known to faculty evaluators.
The graduate program director (GPD) will schedule students for an oral defense of their written examination to take place within two weeks of the completion of their written examination. The oral examination will be led by the faculty members who have reviewed the student’s written exam. The oral examination allows students to expand on their answers in written exam as well as respond to questions regarding overall concepts addressed in the program.
If there is not a consensus among the two faculty members who reviewed the student’s comprehensive examination, a third faculty member will be brought in to review the written material and provide an additional perspective on the evaluation.
Timing of Comprehensive Exams
The written exam component of the comprehensive exam is offered the fourth week in January and the third week in September. Students must register for the examination by November 15th or May 1st depending on the semester they are taking the exam. Students must complete the written and oral comprehensive exams in the same semester.
To be eligible to sit for the exam, students must have completed, or be completing within the semester they are taking the exam, all of their core, concentration, and elective courses. Students in the post-bachelor’s program will have completed 51 credits, and students in the post-master’s PhD program will have completed 36 credits. PhD students can be participating in the transdisciplinary research course (
) concurrently. Students cannot take comprehensive examinations if they have a pending incomplete in any course.