M.A. Comprehensive Evaluation


All master’s students in the College of Media & Communication must pass the comprehensive examination before graduation. Further, no student may select a thesis chair, form a thesis committee, or defend a thesis or project until after she or he has passed the comprehensive examination.

Students must complete all core courses with a grade of B or higher before they may take the comprehensive examination.

In order for a qualified student to take the comprehensive examination, he or she must notify the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in writing of his or her intent to take the examination by the last class day of the semester preceding the date the examination is to be taken.

Each fall, spring and first summer term, the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies will form a M.A. comprehensive examination committee. Only graduate faculty members will serve on the M.A. comprehensive examination committee.

The M.A. comprehensive examination will be given on three days during the academic year:

  • the second Monday of October,
  • the second Monday of February and
  • the second Monday of June
The examination will be given from 1-5 p.m. The examination will begin promptly at 1 p.m. No late admittance will be permitted.

The M.A. comprehensive examinations will be administered in the Center for Communication Research on the appointed day.

Students will use the computers in the CCR to keyboard their answers. At 5 p.m. all work will stop and the tests will be collected. No extensions of the time will be permitted.

All students taking the M.A. comprehensive examination in any given term will answer the same questions.

Questions on the M.A. comprehensive examination will address media and communication theory and research methods.

The M.A. comprehensive exam questions must not replicate the questions on a final exam for a particular course.

The examination will be graded using a system that masks the identity of each student whose work is being graded.

Each question will be graded separately and given a score based on a 4.0 scoring system. Only members of the committee will grade the examinations. After all answers have been evaluated and given a grade, the grades will be averaged to determine a final score.
  • A score of 0 to 1.50 will be a failing grade. The student must retake the examination during the next term when M.A. comprehensive examinations are offered.
  • A score of 1.51 to 2.50 is a marginal pass. The committee may conduct an oral defense. Any student, with a score of 1.51-2.50 whose response to the oral defense is not deemed adequate by the committee must retake the examination during the next term when M.A. comprehensive examinations are offered.
  • A score of 2.5 to 3.5 is pass. No oral defense is required.
  • A score above 3.5 is a “pass with distinction” and the student will be notified of this accomplishment.
For those students who have passed the examination, the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies will file the Report of Final Defense by the Texas Tech University Graduate School deadline.