Department of English Department of English College of Arts and Sciences
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Comprehensive Exams

All MA, MFA, and PhD students must take Comprehensive Exams.  Some programs may also require a thesis, portfolio, or final project. Students should discuss these requirements with their advisors. For information on writing a thesis please see the Thesis Guidelines and Forms page of this website.

Only students who have completed course work may take the exam. Exceptions may be granted by the Director of English Graduate Studies upon written recommendation of the student's graduate advisor.

Exams are given twice a year, in fall and spring. Under special arrangements made during the spring semester, examinations can also be scheduled during the summer session.

The exam will be designed and assessed by a committee of graduate faculty members. Some concentrations choose to arrange exams individually while others will have all students take the exam together. Students should discuss their requirements with their faculty advisor or contact the English Graduate Office, Sarah Ellis, at (901 678-1448.

Grading for the exam is pass or fail. In order to complete the degree a student must receive a pass from a majority of the Comprehensive Exam Committee on all parts of the exam. A student who does not perform satisfactorily on the first exam may retake the entire exam or a portion of the exam, rescheduling with the Comprehensive Exam Committee.  If the student's performance is unsatisfactory on the second exam, the student will be dropped from the program.

After completion of the comprehensive exam, the student must fill out and submit the results from the exam and obtain the required signatures on a Comprehensive Examination Results Form to the English Graduate Office well before the Graduate School's deadline.

Additional Information

Information on MA Comprehensive Exam for Literary and Cultural Studies
Information on the PhD Comprehensive Exam for Literary and Cultural Studies


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Last Updated: 7/7/14