About | Planning | Checklist | Coursework | Exam | Dissertation

Comprehensive Doctoral Examination

Educational Technology Doctoral Degree photo
When a doctoral aspirant has completed the major portion of the courses at a level satisfactory to the department and school and has met all other departmental, school, and university requirements prerequisite to the comprehensive oral examination, including the basic and applied research skill requirements for the program, the department shall request the Graduate Division to schedule the comprehensive written and oral examinations. The minimum required advance notice time between such a request and the desired examination date is two weeks. The committee for the comprehensive written and oral examinations shall consist of at least five members , all of whom must be members of the Graduate Faculty. At least one of the members must be from a department other than the aspirant's major department; ordinarily this member represents the student's minor area for Ph.D. candidates. The examination will be scheduled provided that no less that five months shall have elapsed from the time of the aspirant's first enrollment at the University of Kansas.

The written comprehensive examination taken by doctoral students in the School of Education is focused in two areas: (1) the student's major area of study and (2) the student's minor area of study where required. Responses to questions in the major and minor areas are to be evaluated by all members of the student's comprehensive examining committee. If a student fails either the major or minor portions of the written comprehensives, it will be left to the examining committee to determine whether the entire written portion of the exam or only the failed portion(s) need to be retaken (no sooner than the next scheduled examination period). In order to pass the written portion of the comprehensive exam, the student must be evaluated as having satisfactorily completed questions in both the major area and the minor area (when a minor area is required).

Students in doctoral programs in the School of Education are required to pass both the written and oral components of the comprehensive examination. Satisfactory performance on the written examination must be attained before the oral examination may be attempted. To fail either component is to fail the exam.

If a student passes the written component but fails the oral, the examining committee will determine if both components or only the oral need be repeated (after the minimal 90-day interim period). The grade on the comprehensive oral examination will be "Honors," "Satisfactory," or "Unsatisfactory."

A student may enroll for dissertation hours during the semester in which the examination is taken. If the student fails, the dissertation hours will not be counted toward degree requirements.

The duration of the entire written comprehensive examination is to be at least 16 hours. The written comprehensive examination for doctoral students in education will be taken during any of three regularly scheduled periods. These times will be announced each year by the School of Education Graduate Office and will approximately conform to:

Fall semester: 2nd week of October*
Spring semester: 2nd week of February*
Summer session:

*Note: Students are advised to check with the School of Education Graduate Office for exact dates.

Written Exam Procedures and Proctoring

Unless otherwise informed in writing you must adhere to the following procedures when taking the your comprehensive oral exams.

Requesting Questions from Your Committee
You request questions from and write response for a minimum of four of your five committee members which must include your chair, your outside representative and your statistics / research design representative. Your chair will request questions from your committee members and the procedures that each committee member wishes for administering their portion of the exam.

There is no one procedure for administering the comprehensive oral exam. Each committee member will give you questions and specify the procedures that will be used when administering their portion of the exam. Generally the exam administration will include a mix of the following:

A. Advanced Questions, Advanced Writing
The committee member provides the candidate with the questions in advance. The candidate turns in the questions during their exam week.

B. Advanced Questions Test Time Writing
The committee member provides the candidate with the questions in advance. The candidate writes their response in a 4-hour period during exam week.

C. Test Time Questions and Writing
Candidate receives the questions and writes the responses in a 4-hour period during exam week.

Identifying a Proctor
A proctor will be identified for your exam. A single week will be identified for writing the exam, during which all responses are emailed to the chair and the faculty person that you are writing for. You should let your procotr know the week prior to your exam week which times you wish to write for a given committee member.

Write on a "Clean" Computer Without Notes or Internet Connection
You may check out a portable from the LRC for this if you wish. You should write on a computer that is clean of any data related to the topics and is not connected to the Internet. You should not bring any notes.

4 hours to respond to proctored questions
For proctored questions (B and C) you will have 4 hours to respond to each faculty member. In the case for test time questions, the proctor you will not give you questions until the beginning of the 4-hour response period.

Turning in your responses as a PDF file
Each day immediately after completing the exam, place your response on a flash drive as a PDF file then go to a connected computer and email the response to your chair. You may write with any word processor you choose but turn in your responses as a PDF file. For the advanced question and advanced writing responses email your responses to your chair and the professor you have responded to by Friday noon during the week you are responding to questions. For response to the proctored question, go to a different room, connect to the Internet, email your responses to your chair and the professor you have responded to. Alternative you may ask your proctor for a clean flash drive.

Awareness of Plagiarism
At the beginning of the exam week the candidate must email their proctor and chair saying that they have read this Awareness of Plagiarism statement and understand the repercussions of plagiarism at the University of Kansas. KU considers Plagiarism as academic misconduct, which may result in failure of the examination (likely), a transcript citation for academic misconduct, or suspension from the University.

The University Senate as defines plagiarism: Knowingly presenting the work of another as one's own (i.e., without proper acknowledgement of the source). The sole exception to the requirement of acknowledging sources is when the information or ideas are common knowledge. Fabrication and Falsification is defined as: Unauthorized alteration or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise. For more information on plagiarism see this KU Writing Centers document on Academic Integrity.

Post Comprehensive Continuous Enrollment:
After passing the comprehensive examination, the aspirant becomes a candidate and must be continuously enrolled including summer session until the degree is completed. This enrollment shall accurately reflect the candidate's demands on faculty time and university facilities. Students are expected to earn 24 dissertation hours with a minimum of 18 credits in post-comprehensive enrollments which may include the hours taken during the period in which the examination was passed.

A student shall be continuously enrolled until the degree is complete or until 18 post-comprehensive hours have been completed (whichever comes first). The student shall enroll for a minimum of six hours a semester and three hours a summer session. If after completing 18 hours of post- comprehensive enrollment, the degree is not completed, the student must continue to enroll for the amount of credit which best reflects his or her demands on University resources each semester and each summer session until the final oral examination is passed. Post-comprehensive enrollment may include enrollment during the semester or summer session in which the comprehensive examination has been passed. Under certain conditions, the candidate may petition the School of Education Graduate Division for a leave of absence during the period between the comprehensive examination and the final oral examination.

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university’s programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 West Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas, medical center campuses).