The Comprehensive Final Exams are offered during the second half of the fall, winter and spring quarters. Students must register for the Comprehensive Final Exam by the end of the second week of the exam quarter. Preparation for the exam should begin well before exam registration. Students register for the final exam by completing the Final Examination Registration Form.
For the exam, students will answer three questions: at least one exam question must come from a core course and the other two may come from MCS critical studies (not production) courses of the student’s choosing. All three courses selected must be taught by different members of the core MCS studies faculty (e.g. Alvaray, Booth, Davis, DeAngelis, and Kessler). Questions will be written by the students' professors in the chosen courses. On the day of the exam, students will have 4.5 hours to finish all three questions.
Students are encouraged to alert professors that they will be choosing their courses in the quarter prior to the exam period. They must alert the chosen faculty members prior to turning in the registration form.
NOTE: This policy will be in effect for students starting the program in Winter 2014 and after. Students who entered the program prior to 2014 and are taking the exams after Fall 2013 may choose between this comps format or the previous one where exams cover the 3 core courses.
The exam proctor will send the exams to the faculty for grading. Faculty members have two weeks to review the exam answers and issue a final exam grade. The questions will be graded as pass with distinction, pass and fail. Pass with distinction will be granted to exceptional work on all three questions. In order for students to pass the comprehensive exam, they must pass all three questions.
Students who receive a conditional pass in any of the questions must remove the condition in order to receive a passing grade. A conditional pass typically means that the student has failed to adequately demonstrate a command of the materials in one or more areas covered by the exam. If any of the questions has a conditional pass, the student has the chance to re-write and re-submit the question during the following five days after the student has been notified of the conditional pass. If the student elects not to re-write the question, the grade will be reported as fail.
Failed questions must be retaken during the next scheduled comprehensive exam period. Students may retake an exam only one time. Failure on the second attempt means failure to complete the program.