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Doctoral Degree Comprehensive Oral Exams


To define the eligibility and requirements for doctoral comprehensive oral exams at the University of Kansas.

Applies to: 

All Lawrence/Edwards Campus Graduate students

Policy Statement: 

When a doctoral aspirant has completed the major portion of the course work at a level satisfactory to the graduate degree program and school and met all other program, school, and general requirements prerequisite to the comprehensive oral examination, including the research skills requirement as appropriately applied and established for the student’s particular program, the degree program must request the Graduate Division of its school to schedule the comprehensive oral examination. It should be determined that the student is in good academic standing (3.0 or higher grade-point average) before scheduling the examination. The examination request must be submitted in advance of the examination date by at least the period specified by the Graduate Division, normally a minimum of two weeks. The Graduate Division ascertains whether all pertinent requirements have been satisfied and if reports of any previously scheduled comprehensive oral examinations have been properly submitted and recorded.

The committee for the comprehensive oral examination must consist of at least five members, all of whom must be members of the Graduate Faculty. Its members are appointed by the Graduate Division of the school or college on the basis of nominations submitted by the graduate degree program. At least one member must be from a department other than the aspirant’s major department. This member represents Graduate Studies and must be a regular member of the Graduate Faculty. The Graduate Studies representative is a voting member of the committee and has full right to participate in the examination. In the case of any unsatisfactory or irregular aspects of the exam or violation of Graduate Studies policy, the Graduate Studies representative shall provide a written report to the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies for consideration of further action.The examination may be scheduled provided that at least five months have elapsed from the time of the aspirant’s first enrollment at KU.

The comprehensive oral examination covers the major field and any extra-departmental work for which the program wishes to hold the aspirant responsible. For every scheduled examination, the degree program reports a grade of Honors, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory. If the aspirant receives a grade of Unsatisfactory on the comprehensive oral examination, it may be repeated on the recommendation of the degree program, but under no circumstances may it be taken more than three times. In any case, departments, schools, and the College will determine appropriate minimum intervals between attempts.


Graduate Studies

Approved by: 
Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Approved on: 
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Effective on: 
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)

This policy reflects the practices that have been in place at the University of Kansas for a number of years.

Doctoral degree comprehensive exams, Graduate Studies representative, Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship policy
Change History: 

06/25/2020: Changed Dean of Graduate Studies to Vice Provost of Graduate Studies.
11/27/2017: Updated Policy Statement. 
12/04/2015: Technical edits.
10/2014: Reviewed and updated by Graduate Studies.

Academic Categories: 
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