Comprehensive Exam

The comprehensive examination required by the Graduate School consists of written cumulative exams and an oral examination.

Written Cumulative Exams

A series of cumulative examinations are given to test your ability to solve problems in chemistry and to integrate material from various courses, the current chemical literature, and seminars. Cumulative exams in each major area (inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry) are offered eight times a year.  Ph.D. candidates are required to pass five exams at the doctoral level out of up to 20 attempts; M.S. candidates are required to pass two of twelve at the master’s level.  At each cumulative examination, you are free to select the exam area.

Oral Examination

For the doctoral degree, after the cumulative exam requirements have been satisfied, an oral comprehensive examination is taken for admission to Ph.D. candidacy.  The oral comprehensive exam consists of an original research proposal which you present and defend before your graduate advisory committee.  Finally, fulfillment of the requirements for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees is attained with the writing of an original thesis or dissertation on your research.  You will defend your thesis or dissertation in an oral examination before your graduate advisory committee.