Office of the Registrar
School of Graduate Studies (2019/2020)
4.8 Comprehensive Examinations
4.8.1 Master's Comprehensive Examination
  1. 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 or delegate, shall be voting members.

  2. In this examination the student 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 normally be completed.

  3. In cases where there are multiple parts to a comprehensive exam, including written and oral parts, a student must satisfy all parts of the examination to obtain a pass. The requirements to advance to a later part of the examination are specified in the Degree and Departmental regulations or by the appropriate academic unit.

  4. Members of the Comprehensive Examination Committee shall decide the results of the comprehensive examination as indicated in a.-d. below:

    1. The category of 'pass with distinction' will be awarded to students who demonstrate superior knowledge of their area(s). This category requires unanimous support of the Comprehensive Examination Committee.

    2. The category of 'pass' will be awarded to students who demonstrate an acceptable knowledge of their area(s) and requires a simple majority vote.

    3. The category of 're-examination' selects those students 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 student's program. There is no option for further re-examination.

    4. Students awarded a 'fail' are deemed, by unanimous vote of the Comprehensive Examination Committee, to be unable to demonstrate an adequate understanding of their area(s). The student's program is terminated. A simple majority vote will default to the award of 're-examination'.

  5. 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 student by the Dean.

4.8.2 Ph.D. and Psy.D. Comprehensive Examination
  1. The student shall submit to a comprehensive examination, which may be written or oral or both as determined by the academic unit. Students 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 student's program.

  2. 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 student's Supervisor [or, where a Supervisor has not yet been appointed, the Graduate Officer or Chair of the Graduate Studies (or equivalent) Committee], and at least three other members, the total voting members to be an odd number. For students in the Ph.D. program, all members of the Committee including the Chairperson, but excluding the Dean of Graduate Studies or delegate, shall be voting members. For students in the Psy.D. program, the voting members of the committee shall be clinical psychologists, but will not include Chairperson, the Supervisor, or the Associate Vice-President (Academic) and Dean, Graduate Studies.

  3. In this examination, the student must demonstrate a mastery of those subjects appropriate to the student's area(s), as defined by the academic unit in which the candidate is a student. Therefore, in order to be eligible to sit the examination, all course requirements must normally be completed. The area(s) upon which the student will be examined should be made known to the student no later than three months prior to the examination. The student must further be able to relate the specialization of their research to the larger context of these areas.

  4. In cases where there are multiple parts to a comprehensive exam, including written and oral parts, a student must satisfy all parts of the examination to obtain a pass. The requirements to advance to a later part of the examination are specified in the Degree and Departmental regulations or by the appropriate academic unit.

  5. Members of the Comprehensive Examination Committee shall decide the results of the comprehensive examination as indicated in a.-d. below:

    1. The category of 'pass with distinction' will be awarded to students who demonstrate superior knowledge of their area(s). This category requires unanimous support of the Comprehensive Examination Committee.

    2. The category of 'pass' will be awarded to students who demonstrate an acceptable knowledge of their area(s) and requires a simple majority vote.

    3. The category of 're-examination' selects those students with an understanding of their research area(s) 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 student's program. There is no option for further re-examination.

    4. 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(s). The student’s program is terminated. A simple majority vote will default to the award of 're-examination'.

  6. 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 student by the Dean.