PhD Comprehensive Examination Procedures


To be taken normally within the first 5 semesters of Ph.D. Programme, unless an extension is approved by the CABE Board of Studies.

Select Committee (Chair of CABE programme informs Dean of Graduate Studies, who in turn appoints Examination Committee).

Committee comprised of:

- Chair of CABE Committee unless on Supervisory Committee of candidate

Members (maximum of four)
- Supervisor
- Member of supervisory committee (when appropriate)
- Psychology or Biology representative
- representative from among the faculty members currently associated with CABE
- representative from either within or outside of CABE
- Dean of Graduate Studies representative (ex officio non-voting member)

The Dean of Graduate Studies appoints the committee.

The entire Committee (less the Dean of Graduate Studies representative) and Student meet and decide on:

a) Comprehensive Examination question/theme, which should be the focus of a comprehensive, integrative review and critical evaluation of novel ideas with regards to a topic that is not a clone of thesis research topic. The focus is on meaningful and useful educational exercises for the student. A potential aim could be to produce a document suitable for publication. The core of the document should be 20-30 double-spaced pages (shall not exceed 30 pages); references cited, graphics and tables are in addition.

b) Submission date for examination question/theme document is 8-10 weeks following the meeting at which the topic was decided upon. The specific date will be determined at the meeting.

c) Date of formal Examination (usually 2-3 weeks after the agreed upon submission date).

Formal Examination:

a) Student presents review of topic, 30 minutes (maximum)

b) There will be two rounds of questions by the examiners, which address the written submission, the presentation and broader knowledge of Behavioural Ecology and Animal Behaviour. The first round of questions is directed at the comprehensive topic and the second round should include broader issues in Behavioural Ecology and Animal Behaviour.

Evaluation of Examination:

Three Components

1. written submission
2. oral presentation
3. answers to questions of examiners

Options (see Memorial calendar for details)

1. Pass with Distinction
2. Pass
3. Reexamination
4. Fail

The Chair will communicate the decision to the Dean of Graduate Studies.


Faculty of Science

230 Elizabeth Ave

St. John's, NL A1B 3X9 CANADA

Tel: (709) 864-2530

Fax: (709) 864-2552