Graduate Comprehensive Exam Guidelines

The Comprehensive Exam will be a test of general and specific knowledge in three areas of distribution covered by the student's course work. It will be administered by an examining committee and will consist of two parts: (1) a two-hour slide exam and (2) a take-home essay.

The Examining Committee will consist of the three faculty members most appropriate to the student's distribution areas. If one of the areas is Modern, the student will select among European, American, Architecture or Film as the area to be tested on.

The Slide Exam is intended to test general knowledge of the distribution areas. It will consist of 24 slides -- 8 in each area of distribution. The student will have 5 minutes to discuss each slide. Each slide should be identified as closely as possible, including as much of the following kinds of information as appropriate to the work shown: culture, type of work, name, date, artist or architect, location, media. Significant and/or salient characteristics should be discussed as well.

The Take-Home Essay is intended to test the student's ability to deal with more specific issues. It will consist of three questions, one in each of the three distribution areas. The student will select one of these questions and write a carefully reasoned essay in response to it. Outside sources and references may be consulted and should be properly documented if used (notes, bibliography, sources of illustrations). The essay should be presented in typewritten form to the appropriate examining professor within one week's time.

Timing: The student should declare his/her intention to take the exam no later than the second week of classes in the semester in which he/she wishes to take it. All other requirements, except for current course work, must be completed before the exam is administered. The slide exam must be taken no later than the beginning of the third week before the end of the classes in the semester in which the student wishes to graduate. The take-home essay will be administered immediately after the slide exam. Both parts must be completed by the beginning of the second week before the end of classes in the semester in which the student wishes to graduate.

Grading and Passing: The student must pass both parts in order to pass the examination. Each member of the examining committee will be responsible for making up and grading the part of the slide exam and essay appropriate to his/her area of specialty. The grades for the three parts of the slide exam will be averaged and the student must earn an average grade of B- or better to pass the slide exam. A grade of B- or better must also be earned on the take-home essay.

If a student fails one or both parts of the exam, that part or the entire exam may be retaken once.

For further information students should consult with the graduate advisor and members of the exam committee.

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