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HESS Comprehensive Exam


The Graduate School of Texas Tech University requires that all students seeking the Master's degree be given a comprehensive performance evaluation at the conclusion of their studies for that degree. Each department is charged with developing a method to accomplish this that is consistent with the expectations of the faculty and gives students a chance to demonstrate the competencies that they have gained during their time in graduate school. A description of the options presented to students by the Department of Health, Exercise & Sport Sciences appears below. Each student should work closely with his/her advisor(s) to determine the best option for his/her career and future success.

Research Project

After receiving approval from a graduate faculty member in the student's area of specialization, the student will be required to conduct a research project under the supervision of at least one graduate faculty member. A student choosing this option will be required to enroll into ESS 7000 – Independent Study for a maximum of six credits to be counted toward the Master's degree. Successful completion of the project will be shown by 1) developing and testing a question of sufficient interest to the academic community that could be accepted for publication in a scholarly journal, or 2) a comprehensive meta-analysis or theoretical review paper. The student will be required to complete the research project and present the findings to the supervising faculty member and one other graduate faculty member. After the presentation and approval of the graduate faculty members, the student will be required to submit the manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal, determined by the supervising faculty member and student, by the same deadlines as the comprehensive exam finals determined each year by the Graduate School if the presentation is in the student's final semester of work. If the student does not complete and submit the manuscript by the deadline, s/he will be required to sign-up for at least one credit in the following semester to complete the project if no further coursework is required for graduation. In the event the student does not complete the project the following semester, s/he will fail the program and will not be awarded the Master's degree. With permission of the graduate advisor this may be completed in summer school.

Certification or Licensure

Recognizing that some specialty areas are affiliated with associations that provide stringent examinations for certification/licensure in that area, students will be allowed to take a certification or licensure examination to satisfy the comprehensive performance evaluation requirement. If the certification/licensure exam does not include content that shows knowledge of research methodology, design, and statistical analyses, the student will be required to take the research component of the department's comprehensive finals on the date set for that examination. Determination of sufficient content related to scholarly activity will be made by members of the graduate faculty on the recommendation of faculty members in the specialty. The results of the certification/licensure test and the department's research methods component (if required) must be submitted by the deadline established by the Graduate School for comprehensive evaluation results, if taken in the semester that the student intends to graduate. The student will be required to pass both the certification/licensure requirements and the research methods area of the Comprehensive Final option, if it is required, to complete the degree requirements. If a student does not pass the research methods part of the exam, s/he will be required to enroll in at least one credit for the immediately following semester to take the exam a second time. If a student does not pass the certification/licensure, s/he will be required to sign up for the same certification/licensure exam while enrolling in at least one credit for the immediately following semester or taking and passing the entire comprehensive exam in the next semester. The graduate faculty recognizes that certification/licensure tests are offered at different intervals and offered more or less frequently, depending on the agency. Students should work closely with their advisors to make certain that any test to be used to satisfy the comprehensive evaluation is scheduled and available to the student so that s/he may satisfy the requirements within a reasonable time period for degree completion. If students do not pass the certification/licensure requirements or the research methods area a second time, they will not be awarded the Master's degree.

Thesis Option

Students who choose to complete a thesis will choose an advisor who is a member of the graduate faculty to supervise their research. The thesis project requires a student to work closely with and under the supervision of a faculty member who has similar interests and expertise. Stipulations for completion of the thesis are explained in detail on the Graduate School web page here.

Comprehensive Final Exam

Successful completion of this option requires that a student respond to a set of questions related to the student's field of specialization and a set of questions that measure the student's understanding of research. Two test sessions (one for the specialization and one for the research questions) will be schedule on one day during the semester in which the student intends to graduate. Responses will be evaluated by members of the graduate faculty. A student who does not achieve a satisfactory evaluation on the written exam would be assessed once again after an interval of three months or more as per the Graduate School protocol. This subsequent assessment will be an oral examination conducted by graduate faculty members in the student's area of specialization, with possible assistance from faculty members responsible for assessing knowledge of research. If this situation is required the student will enroll in a minimum of one-credit in HESS and take the oral assessment in the semester immediately following the written attempt. At the discretion of the faculty members evaluating the responses a student may be asked to expand or clarify an answer in a venue other than a formal oral exam if the faculty members deem that procedure appropriate to assure that the student has mastered the required content.

Graduate Resources

More Information

Monica Luna
Administrative Business Assistant &
Graduate School Secretary
Exercise & Sport Sciences, Rm 141
(806) 834-3897