The Catholic University of America

Ph.D. Comprehensive Examinations

The three comprehensive examinations defined by the Colloquy (see above) must be taken on consecutive days during the period set aside each semester on the academic calendar.  For each field, students will complete a four-hour written examination.  A student will be judged to have satisfactorily completed each written examination when two readers have submitted grades of "Pass" to the department for that field.  In the event of disagreement between two readers, a third faculty member in the field in question will be consulted. If a student is judged to have failed the examination in one or more fields, he/she has the right to re-take the examination (with the same readers but with different questions) once, and this would ordinarily be in the following semester.  Students are re-examined only in the field(s) failed at the first examination.

There is also an oral examination for the Ph.D. Within two weeks of the completion of the written comprehensives, there follows a one- to two-hour oral examination on the material covered for the major field.  The examiners will consist of the major professor, as chair, and two other readers of the written exams. The examiners must submit a grade of pass for the completion of the requirement.  As with the written exams, a student failing the oral examination will be permitted to re-take it a single time.

The student is not judged to have completed the requirement for the comprehensive examinations until the student has satisfactorily passed both the written and oral examinations. Success or failure is reported to the School of Arts and Sciences.