2018-2019 Catalog

Comprehensive Exams

A comprehensive examination is an assessment of the student's ability to integrate the knowledge of the area, show critical and independent thinking, and demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. The comprehensive examination is equivalent in rigor to the thesis. A record of the examination questions and responses shall be maintained in accordance with the records retention policy of the California State University.

All comprehensive exams must:

  • assess the student's ability to integrate the knowledge of the area;
  • evidence critical and independent thinking;
  • demonstrate the mastery of the subject matter; and
  • demonstrate writing skills commensurate with the granting of the master's degree.

The results of the comprehensive examination evidence:

  • independent thinking;
  • appropriate organization;
  • critical analysis;
  • accuracy of documentation; and
  • advanced writing skills.

Given the above criteria, all comprehensive exams must include an essay portion which comprises not less than 50% of the examination.

In the case where comprehensive exams are divided into separate components, such as by course or topic, each program shall inform students in writing as to how each section will be graded and what the retake policy will be for the exam.