Comprehensive Exam and Thesis Information

Graduate Students in the Political Science program must completed either a Comprehensive Exam or a Masters Thesis.

Comprehensive Exam

The non-thesis option is capped with a comprehensive examination, both written and oral. The purpose of the examination is to help the student synthesize knowledge from different courses into a coherent whole. The exam shall be administered by a committee of three regular faculty members of the Reubin O'D. Askew Department of Government that taught the core courses in the Program. The comprehensive exam is made up of two components; a written exam and an oral exam. Students should review the Comprehensive Exam Standards listed below for more information.

Comprehensive Exam Procedures and Dates:

  • Select a committee of 3 members of the Reubin O'D. Askew Department of Government's regular faculty who teach in the core seminars of the program.
  • Select a committee chair (they will help schedule the oral exam as well as lead the oral exam).
  • Submit the completed Comprehensive Exam Registration Form to the Office Administrator no later than the end of the first full month of the semester (September in the Fall, January in the Spring, and May in the Summer).
  • Meet with instructors to figure what coursework needs to be completed before taking the written exam.
  • Meet with the members of the committee (to discuss what to expect in terms of exam format, focus, and expectations).
  • Submit the completed Coursework Completion Form to the Office Administrator no later than three days before the last day of classes, but only after course work has been completed.
  • The written exam will being at 5:00pm (CT) on the last Friday of classes and end that Sunday at 5:00pm (CT)
  • If you pass the written exam then you will go on to the 2 hour oral exam the following week. You and your committee chair will arrange the oral exam time and day.

Comprehensive Exam Forms

Masters Thesis

The thesis will include an appropriate theoretical foundation and a scholarly investigation of a significant political problem or question. The problem may be historical, contemporary, or hypothetical. The research will be conducted in accordance with a methodology suitable for studying the question. The choice of the thesis topic lies with the student in consultation with the thesis director. The thesis options requires a minimum of 6 sh devoted to a thesis. No more than six sh of thesis credit may be applied to the student’s degree plan. However, as long as the student is working on a thesis, he or she must enroll in at least 1 sh every semester, even if this brings the total for the degree to more than 33 sh. Students interested in completing a Thesis should review the Thesis Standards information below. 

Thesis Procedures and Dates:

  • Students interested in completed a Thesis should consult with the Academic Advisor prior to beginning the Thesis process
  • Select your Thesis Director and two or three additional committee members
  • Submit the completed Thesis Registration form no later than one semester prior to starting the Thesis
  • Submit the thesis prospectus to the committee
  • Meet with your committee to discuss thesis proposal
  • If the committee approves prospectus then begin work on thesis
  • Meet with thesis direct to discuss thesis draft
  • Work on revisions and meet with committee members to discuss draft|
  • Schedule your thesis defense

Thesis Forms