Graduate Program

MFS Graduate Program - Requirements for the Comprehensive Exam

All candidates for a Museum and Field Studies Master's degree are recommended to take a comprehensive examination in their third semester, but no later than the sixth week of their fourth semester. The examination will be given in two stages: a written followed by an oral exam, to be taken within two weeks of each other. The oral exam may be waived by full committee consent only. The following rules applying to the comprehensive examination must be observed:

  • A student must be registered during the semester that the examination is taken.
  • Written notification of a student's intent to take the examination must be submitted to his or her committee and the Museum and Field Studies program office a minimum of two weeks prior to the exam.
  • The examination is to be given by a committee appointed by the Museum and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. At least three members of the graduate faculty constitute a committee. The chair of the committee must have a regular or tenured graduate faculty appointment. The committee will usually be the same as the student's advisory committee.
  • The members of the student's committee will develop questions with the particular student in mind. Questions must pertain to the student's course work, research, and future application to his/her chosen field. Members of the student's committee will submit questions to the chair of the committee. The chair will select six questions, three of which will address museum studies and three of which will address the specialty minor discipline. The student is required to answer two questions from each group, a total of four questions. The Student will have a maximum of 4 hours to complete all four questions.
  • Students will not receive questions prior to the exam but are encouraged to speak with committee members about suggested topics and readings.
  • A collection of comprehensive exam questions is kept in the Museum and Field Studies program office for faculty and students for reference and comparison.
  • A majority of the graduate faculty members composing the examination committee must vote affirmatively for the student to pass.
  • If a student fails the examination, he or she may not attempt it again until three months have elapsed. The student may retake the examination only once, and must be registered when the exam is repeated.
  • A separate defense of the student's thesis or project is required if one is presented for the degree.