Scope and Purpose
The Graduate School requires that at the end of the M.S. program of study, each student must pass a comprehensive examination. The student may elect to take either a written or an oral examination. This document describes the Oral M.S. Comprehensive Exam.

The Oral M.S. Comprehensive Examination, normally about two hours in length, is held when course work is completed or final courses are in progress.

The oral examination covers the core courses and all other courses in the student’s approved Program of Study (Form CS-5), excluding COMP 911 and research team meetings (Comp 990-yxx, where y>0), up to a maximum of 24 hours of courses if the student elects the thesis option, or 30 hours if the student elects a nonthesis option. To reduce the number of courses to 30 (24) hours, the student may specify one or more non-core courses to be excluded. The relative emphasis upon the several courses is decided by the examining committee, which will inform the student of its decision in writing in advance of the examination.

Preparing for the Exam 
The student is responsible for arranging the time and place of the examination. The Student Services Manager may help with these arrangements.

A student who elects to write a thesis is examined by the thesis guidance committee. The exam may take place at the time of the thesis presentation or at another time and place, as determined by the committee. (Sometimes it is more convenient to hold the exam separate from a public thesis presentation.)

A student who elects an option other than the thesis for satisfying the Technical Writing Requirement for the M.S. is examined by an Examining Committee appointed for the purpose.

A student must be registered during the semester when the M.S. Oral is held.

The administration of the exam will be controlled by the exam committee. Normally, the exam lasts two hours counting breaks and committee deliberation time, and the result is communicated to the student immediately after the committee’s deliberation is complete.

If the student passes the exam, that fact is reported to the Graduate School by the department.

If the student fails the exam, he or she may retake it only once (except by petition), after a lapse of at least three months. The student may elect an oral or a written form for the repeat examination(s), independently of the form of the previous exam(s).

If the failure resulted primarily from weakness in a narrow area, the second examination may be designated to cover only that area of weakness. The examining committee will notify the student in writing of the scope of the next examination.