Doctoral students are required to take a set of written comprehensive exams shortly after completion of their course work. In order to pass these exams, students will have to demonstrate a mastery of advanced planning and design theory, and the important work in their major and minor fields. At least four faculty members serve on the exam committee of which two must be from the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. The examining committee will include the student’s advisor, at least two additional members familiar with the student's major or minor fields, and the student’s planning theory professor. The selection of the committee is made by the student, with the approval of the student’s advisor. The comprehensive exam is a three-day take-home exam.
To prepare for the examination, in consultation with their advisor and committee members, students are required to prepare a reading list for their chosen major and minor fields plus urban planning theory. This reading list will reflect the agreed-upon scope of work that the students are expected to know for the exam. All of the committee members should have reviewed this reading list and agreed that it includes the important work in the student's fields.
Each committee member should write one question in the area of the student’s major or minor field. The committee member may write several questions among which the student should select one. The advisor should collect all questions from the committee members, review the questions for clarity, comprehensiveness and fairness, and pass the exam to the student. Generally the total exam includes two questions from the major field, one question from the minor field, and a planning theory question. At the end of three days (72 hours), the student should return the exam to his/her advisor. The advisor will pass the exam to the committee.
The questions will be graded by the committee, with each committee member responsible for grading the question he/she asked. The advisor is responsible for reading and grading all questions. The examining committee should take no longer than two weeks to assess the exam. The options are (1) pass, (2) rewrite and (3) fail. A student may receive a pass, rewrite or fail on each question separately. Students are allowed to rewrite a question one time only. Only one committee member is required for a decision to rewrite. At least two faculty members must concur if a failing grade is given. The case where the student fails one or more questions constitutes an exam failure.
Once successfully passing the comprehensive exam, students will need to complete the required paperwork to be formally admitted to candidacy.
Policy updated 10/10/2008