Comprehensive Exam

Written exam

Students enrolled in the thesis and non-thesis options take the same M.A written comprehensive examination. Students are urged to take the examination no later than the fourth semester of graduate study.


Five-hour written examination (taken on a single day) prepared and administered by an Examination Committee composed of three faculty members.


The examination, normally scheduled during the 12th week in each semester; dates for any summer examination are to be determined by mutual agreement between the student and the Examination Committee.


Based on courses taken by the student and on the Department’s established reading list.


The examination, of which at least one section must be answered in Spanish, will contain questions over the following areas:

  1. Spanish Peninsular Literature,
  2. Spanish-American Literature,
  3. Language, linguistics, or other required courses the student may have taken,
  4. Any item on the Department’s established reading list.

At least one hour will be designated for each of the first three areas.

Oral comprehensive examination

At the discretion of the Examination Committee, students who are found to be deficient in parts of the written examination may be asked to take an oral exam within one week of the written exam.

Deficient performance on the examination

When the entire examination (written and oral) is judged to be of doubtful quality, the Examination Committee will make recommendations concerning the student’s status in the program. The student may be asked to repeat the examination or may be granted a passing grade with the recommendation that s/he not continue graduate study towards the Ph.D. Students who fail the examination may repeat it only once during any subsequent regularly scheduled period, not within three months from the date of the first examination.