College of Communication > Academics > Communication and Media > Student Resources > Master's Thesis/Project/Exam > Comprehensive Exam

Comprehensive Exam

As a culminating experience for the MA degree, students are asked to compose and submit an essay addressing reflective questions. The act of reflection is essential for learning and this essay is assigned as an opportunity for students to synthesize the experiences of their program, and provide them with a foundation from which to discuss their degree with others (family, friends, coworkers or prospective employers) as they move into the next phase of their professional and/or scholarly development.

Students must address the following questions in their reflective essay and refer regularly to the rubric provided to ensure they are meeting expectations.

  1. Considering your goals and aspirations as articulated in the essay you wrote for admission to the program, how has your experience in the program affected those goals? For example, have your goals changed or been refined? Did the program meet your expectations or take you in a new direction?
  2. Drawing upon content from a minimum of three courses, describe three core concepts, readings, or theories from your degree program that influenced your perspective on your chosen field. Please provide specifics about the courses you draw upon (including course name and instructor name) and incorporate at least 10 readings from your chosen courses into your essay.
  3. Apply the core concepts/readings/theories discussed in question two. In your response, identify a specific problem or issue and articulate how those conceptual resources would help to meaningfully address the problem/issue.

Procedures and Format
Students must register for the comprehensive exam by notifying in writing (includes email) the Graduate Advisor and Program Director by the Friday of Week 1 of the quarter in which they plan to graduate. Summer graduating students must take the exam in the spring quarter prior to the completion of their coursework – the comprehensive exam will not be offered in the summer.

The comprehensive exam essay is take-home and open-book, 1,500-2,000 words (6-8 double spaced pages), and must include a reference list in APA or MLA format (references do not count toward the page limit). The essay is due to the Program Director no later than Friday of Week 5 in the quarter the student intends to graduate.

Two faculty members will grade the comprehensive exam essay. To ensure there is no plagiarism in exam answers, the program director will also use to verify that the student submitted original work. In order for students to graduate from the MA program, they must pass the comprehensive exam essay.​