When coursework is nearly completed, doctoral students will meet with their advisors to determine if they are prepared to complete the comprehensive examination. The advisor will consider the program of study, the student’s professional presentations and publications, the student’s teaching or other applied work, and the student’s professional service.
When the advisor agrees, the student will complete the comprehensive examination. After completion of the examination, the doctoral committee will evaluate the written work. If the committee deems the work to be generally acceptable, the advisor will schedule an oral examination in which the student will defend his or her exam.
Part I: Coursework
- Include your correct and updated plan of study.
- Summarize (in 1-2 pages) what your coursework prepares you to do.
- Identify five theories/theorist of central importance for your work. Discuss these theorist/theories, demonstrating your command of their theories and work.
- Conciseness and completeness are appreciated. While not a firm requirement, most faculty believe that this section could be completed in no more than 20 pages.
Part II: Research and Scholarship
- What is your epistemology/ontology? How do your published research and convention presentations conform to your epistemology/ontology? How do they differ? If they do differ, how can you explain this discrepancy? Point/counterpoint. Articulate what a person with an alternative epistemology/ontology would say about your work and defend your work to this person. While not a firm requirement, most faculty believe that this section could be completed in no more than 10 pages.
- In what method(s) do you feel proficient? How can you demonstrate your proficiency? How would you design a study using a method in which you are proficient? Identify three articles in your area of interest that use a research method in which you are proficient and critique those articles. While again, not a firm requirement, most faculty believe that this section could be completed in no more than 20 pages. Please include the three articles that you critique in an appendix.
- How is your research agenda different from your advisor's agenda? We imagine that this section will include a brief summary of your advisor's work and a discussion of what makes your work distinct. Most faculty believe that this could be accomplished in 2 pages.
- The reflective essay will detail the student’s research line and will suggest how his or her current research is consistent with developing (or developed) lines of inquiry in the discipline. Students should also indicate future research expectations.
Part III: Praxis
- How does your praxis inform your understanding of communication theory and research? How does your teaching philosophy conform to your epistemology/ontology? This should be less than 3 pages.
- What courses are you equipped to teach? This should be in table format, and no more than one page.
Part IV: Engagement or Service
- Engagement or service. List your engagement or service in a bulleted list. Then in no more than 3 pages, reflect on how your service informs your understanding of communication theory or research.
Comprehensive Exam Appendix
- A curriculum vita
- A 1-2 page teaching or training philosophy.
- A 2-3 page research agenda that includes, among other matters, an answer to the "so what" question
- Copies of publications and presentations
- A tabular summary of teaching evaluations
- Three articles critiqued in Part I