Texas Tech University

Final Comprehensive Components

During the final semester of enrollment, each student will complete a final comprehensive component that will take into account the students three areas of study.

The MA/MS Interdisciplinary Studies program has 5 options:

Comprehensive Exam

  • The Comprehensive examination will be inclusive in breadth, requiring the student to draw upon material covered in previous courses with a goal of integration and synthesis. Questions may involve hypothetical problems, or they may test theories from various disciplines, concern problems encountered in the student's non-academic career, or address other similar interdisciplinary areas. 
  • The written examination is typically three to four hours in length and could require additional oral presentation to the students chosen committee.
  • Students should identify their Committee members as early as possible to give time for committee members to develop their exam.
  • Faculty Committee Role with the Exam
    • Committee members while developing questions for the Comprehensive exam must include the following question:Discuss how your areas of study synthesize to fulfill your academic, personal, and/or career goals. (short answer)
    • Finally, the chair of the student's review committee must submit a report on the outcome of the formal meeting to the Graduate School no later than one week after the meeting, or before the last day to report the results to the Graduate School. The report will indicate whether the student's final comprehensive component was satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

Portfolio

  • The Portfolio option may take several forms. For students in the humanities, it should include three research papers or graded documents written in courses taken for the M.A., and a reflection paper that summarizes the integration of the students chosen areas. For students in the sciences, it may include accounts of three experimental projects that were carried out in courses taken for the M.S. and a reflection paper.
  • Portfolios will only present the students original research in the students three chosen IS degree areas along with the critiques or commentaries and grades that the projects or papers received at the time that they were submitted. Papers written in collaboration with other students are not acceptable..
  • The portfolio will also include a reflection essay that presents the student's views of their development. In the reflection paper, the student may make observations about methodologies that the three projects involved and about the strengths and weaknesses of these projects.
    See Portfolio guidelines
  • Faculty Committee Members' Role with the Portfolio
    • Faculty members should review the papers that the student chooses to put into the portfolio. They are not required to grade the papers (the papers have already been graded), but they should determine whether the papers are appropriate examples of what the portfolio should contain; i.e., Are the papers adequate representatives of term projects? It is the responsibility of the committee members to accept or reject the papers that are included in the portfolio.
    • Committee members are also responsible for making certain that the reflection essay is suitable for the portfolio. Committee members should carefully read the essay, make suggestions for any improvements that seem appropriate, and generally serve as judges of the academic worth of the reflection essay.
    • Finally, committee members should meet as a committee with the master's degree candidate. They should discuss the portfolio with the student .If the committee approves of the portfolio, the chairperson of the committee should notify the Graduate School that the student has successfully completed his or her work on the portfolio.

Master's Report

  • The Master's Report option is comprised of research identifying a specific problem associated with their students chosen areas of interest, research conducted to examine alternative solutions to the research question, and their interpretation of that information in presenting their solution to that research question. Typically, the report should not exceed 75 pages. Students opting for this comprehensive component will take 33 hours of coursework plus 3 hours of a Master's Report course (IS 5330).

    See Master's Report guidelines.
  • Faculty Committees Role with the Report
    • Faculty members should review the report similarly to the review of a thesis. Thus, it is the responsibility of the committee members to accept or reject the report that is presented to them.
    • Committee members should meet as a committee with the master's degree candidate. The student should make a presentation of their research report allowing time for the committee to ask questions. They should discuss the report with the student. If the committee approves of the report, the chairperson of the committee should notify the graduate advisor that the student has successfully completed their work on the report.
    • Finally, the chair of the student's review committee must submit a report on the outcome of the formal meeting to the Graduate School no later than one week after the meeting, or before the last day to report the results to the Graduate School. The report will indicate whether the student's final comprehensive component was satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

Internship

  • The Internship option offers students the opportunity to work and learn outside of the classroom. The internship will also extend a service to the host site/facility by providing a new source of practical experiences, leadership, and potential candidates for employment.
  • Students opting for this comprehensive component will take 33 hours of coursework plus 3 hours of an Internship course (IS 5031). In addition to the course, students must find an internship that applies to their areas of study. Once the site has been pre-approved by the students committee and graduate advisor, the student must work 118 hours with their internship site supervisor for any credit. Once the Internship is completed, the student must write about their experiences at their chosen site, the resources they used, their duties as an intern and about how their internship synthesizes their chosen areas.
    Internship Guidelines.
  • Faculty Committees Role with the Internship
    • Committee members must evaluate the Internship and written document. They will determine if the approved internship fully adheres to the students chosen areas. It is the responsibility of the committee members to accept or reject the Internship that is presented to them.
    • Finally, committee members have the option to meet as a committee with the master's degree candidate. If the committee approves of the Internship document, the chairperson and committee members should notify the graduate advisor that the student has successfully completed their internship

Thesis

A thesis can be defined as the written product of a well-researched area study. The thesis will integrate work from all three fields of study, and will clearly identify a research question, state any theoretical assumptions, explain the significance of the undertaking, review relevant literature, identify and justify the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyze the information or data, present and discuss results, and offer a conclusion or recommendation.

Students opting for this comprehensive component will take 24 hours of coursework plus 6 hours of a Thesis course (IS 6000). Final grades for thesis hours (A or B) grades will be CR until the student's final semester. Students will also need to adhere to the Graduate School Rules and Regulations for the Thesis and oral defense.
 
Graduate School Formatting Manual

All of these final components require a faculty committee drawn from professors in the subject areas or colleges under which the student has studied. Students will consult with their Interdisciplinary Studies advisor who must approve the three-person Faculty committee. 

For more information about committee members and their responsibilities please see Faculty Committee Responsibilities

For More Information

For more information about INDS examinations, email us at inds.gradschool@ttu.edu


Mailing Address

Graduate School at Texas Tech University
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Phone: 806.742.2787
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