The Catholic University of America

M.A. Degree

M.A. Comprehensive Examinations

An M.A. candidate must complete a written comprehensive examination consisting of two four-hour examinations over the field of study, taken on consecutive days. The examination is split roughly as follows:

United States: Colonial to 1877, 1877 to present

Modem Europe: 1450-1789, 1789-present

Medieval Europe: 700-1100, 1100-1450

Latin America: 1492-1820, 1820-present

The M.A. comprehensive examination in late medieval/early modern religion is structured topically rather than chronologically.

These examinations normally are taken either during the semester in which the student completes the 30 credit-hours required for the degree or at the first available testing opportunity thereafter (that is, the next semester, or the summer following the semester during which the course requirements were completed).

Examinations are based on standard reading lists prepared and regularly updated by the faculty of each section. Questions are submitted and read by at least two faculty members. Students are encouraged to obtain a copy of the reading list for their area no later than the end of their first year. Most importantly, students should regard comprehensive examinations as a process rather than an event: that is to say, each student must take responsibility for meeting a number of times with each professor involved with the examination, to consult about reading, content and preparation.

When readers have submitted grades of "Pass" to the department, the School of Arts and Sciences will be notified that the student has successfully completed this requirement. In the event of disagreement between readers, an additional faculty member in the field in question will be consulted. If a student is judged to have failed one or both portions of the M.A. comprehensive examination, he/she has the right to retake the examination (with the same readers but with different questions) once, and this would ordinarily be in the following semester; a student who fails one of the two parts of the M.A. comprehensive need re-take only that one part.