General Regulations and Information Governing All Graduate Students

H) COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATIONS

1. Master's Comprehensive Examination

a) The composition of the Comprehensive Examination Committee is specified in the degree and departmental regulations, and the Committee is appointed by the Dean. The Dean of Graduate Studies or delegate may exercise the right to attend. All members of the Committee including the Chairperson, but excluding the Dean of Graduate Studies, shall be voting members.

b) In this examination the candidates must demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the academic discipline as defined by the academic unit in which they are students. Therefore, in order to be eligible to sit the examination, all course requirements must be completed.

c) Members of the Comprehensive Examination Committee shall decide the results of the comprehensive examination as indicated in i-iv below:

i. The category of "pass with distinction" will be awarded to candidates who demonstrate superior knowledge of their chosen field. This category requires unanimous support of the Comprehensive Examination Committee.
ii. The category of "pass" will be awarded to candidates who demonstrate an acceptable knowledge of their chosen area and requires a simple majority vote.
iii. The category of "re-examination" selects those candidates with an understanding of their research area that lacks sufficient depth and scope as indicated by a simple majority of the Comprehensive Examination Committee. Only one such re-examination is possible and students in this category are not eligible for the award of "pass with distinction". If a re-examination is to be held, it must be conducted not less than one month and not more than six months after the first examination. The decision of the voting members of the Committee following this re-examination can only be "pass" or "fail" decided by simple majority. Failure will lead to immediate termination of the candidate's program. There is no option for further re-examination.
iv. Students awarded a "fail" are deemed, by unanimous vote of the Comprehensive Examination Committee, to be unable to demonstrate an adequate understanding of their research area. The candidate's program is terminated.

d) The Chairperson of the Comprehensive Examination Committee shall report to the Head of the academic unit who shall report to the Dean. The result of the comprehensive examination(s) shall be reported to the candidate by the Dean.

2. Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination

a) The candidate shall submit to a comprehensive examination, which may be written or oral or both as determined by the academic unit. Candidates shall normally take the examination no later than the end of the seventh semester in the doctoral program. Unless an extension is approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies, failure to take the examination at this time will result in the termination of the candidate's program.

b) This examination, whether written or oral, shall be conducted by a Committee appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies on the recommendation of the academic unit. It shall consist of the Head of the academic unit (or delegate) who shall be the Chairperson, the candidate's supervisor [or, where a supervisor has not yet been appointed, the Graduate Officer or chair of the Graduate Studies (or equivalent) Committee], the Dean of Graduate Studies (or delegate), and at least three other members, the total voting members to be an odd number. All members of the Committee including the Chairperson, but excluding the Dean of Graduate Studies, shall be voting members.

c) In this examination, the candidate must demonstrate a mastery of those sub-disciplines appropriate to his/her research area, as defined by the academic unit in which they are students. Those sub-disciplines upon which the candidate will be examined should be made known to the candidate no later than three months prior to the examination. The candidate must further be able to relate the specialization of his/her research to the larger context of these sub-disciplines.

d) Members of the Comprehensive Examination Committee shall decide the results of the comprehensive examination as indicated in i-iv below:

i. The category of "pass with distinction" will be awarded to candidates who demonstrate superior knowledge of their chosen field. This category requires unanimous support of the Comprehensive Examination Committee.
ii. The category of "pass" will be awarded to candidates who demonstrate an acceptable knowledge of their chosen area and requires a simple majority vote.
iii. The category of "re-examination" selects those candidates with an understanding of their research area that lacks sufficient depth and scope as indicated by a simple majority of the Comprehensive Examination Committee. Only one such re-examination is possible and students in this category are not eligible for the award of "pass with distinction". If a re-examination is to be held, it must be conducted not less than one month and not more than six months after the first examination. The decision of the voting members of the Committee following this re-examination can only be "pass" or "fail" decided by simple majority. Failure will lead to immediate termination of the candidate's program. There is no option for further re-examination.
iv. Students awarded a "fail" are deemed, by unanimous vote of the Comprehensive Examination Committee, to be unable to demonstrate an adequate understanding of their research area. The candidate's program is terminated.

e) The Chairperson of the Comprehensive Examination Committee shall report to the Head of the academic unit who shall report to the Dean. The result of the comprehensive examination(s) shall be reported to the candidate by the Dean.


Last modified on May 21, 2002 by MaryJane Puxley

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