Graduation and Comprehensive Exam

Candidacy for Degree

Students become degree candidates when they enroll in the last semester or term of coursework and apply for the degree/comprehensive examination by completing the Application for Graduation. The procedure and due dates for completion and submission of this form are available on the Graduate Studies website.

Comprehensive Examination

A comprehensive examination (oral, written, or a combination of oral and written) is required of most candidates for degrees. The specific type of examination to be given is determined by each individual department. In preparation for the comprehensive examination, candidates should contact their academic advisor.

The comprehensive examination is to be scheduled during the semester in which the student is enrolled in the last course(s) needed to complete the degree or certification. Dates pertaining to the comprehensive examination and the Application for Graduation Procedure are found on the Graduate Studies website.

After applying for graduation, the student will be notified of the date, time, and location of the examination by the chair of the Comprehensive Examination Committee. The student will be examined on course content and knowledge of the field of study. It is the student’s responsibility to contact each member of the Comprehensive Examination Committee to receive guidelines in preparation for the examination.

If, after applying, the student elects not to take the comprehensive examination that semester, the student must submit a new Application for Graduation form by the deadline of the semester in which the student does elect to take the comprehensive examination. A $50 degree fee is charged to students each time they submit a new Application for Graduation form.

If the student does not pass the comprehensive examination on the first attempt, the student must meet with the chair of the Comprehensive Examination Committee to schedule arrangements to retake the comprehensive examination. In order to retake the comprehensive exam in a subsequent semester, the student must submit a new Application for Graduation form. Each time an Application for Graduation form is submitted, a $50 fee is charged.

Students are allowed a maximum of two attempts to successfully complete the comprehensive examination. If a second attempt is necessary, a passing score on the comprehensive examination must be received by the Graduate Certification Office for the student to remain a candidate for degree completion.

For students choosing the thesis option for their degrees (if available), the thesis defense serves as the comprehensive examination.

Application for Graduation

Doctoral, Education Specialist, Master’s, and Education Certificates

All students must file an Application for Graduation form the last semester of their enrolled program by the set deadline. This form must be completed online through MyJSU. Application for graduation procedures, along with due dates, are located on the Graduate Studies website.

Students who fail to file the Application for Graduation form by the listed date risk having their graduation delayed until the next regularly scheduled graduation. In addition, a student must submit a new application for graduation by the listed date at the beginning of the semester in which they plan to graduate.

The specific due dates for the application for each semester are listed in the Academic Calendar.

Application for Completion of Graduate Certificates

Non-Education Certificates

All non-education certificate graduate students must file the Graduate Certificate Application (Non-Education) form. This form must be completed online through MyJSU. Application procedures, along with due dates, are located on the Graduate Studies website. Certificates will not be awarded on a retroactive basis.

The specific due dates for the application for each semester are listed in the Academic Calendar. (Please review the Graduate Certificate Disclosure information.)

Student Outcome Assessment

To assess and improve its academic programs, the university must obtain periodic measurements of student perceptions and intellectual growth. As a requirement for graduation, every student shall participate in one or more assessment procedures. These procedures include survey questionnaires and examinations in the major field of study. The information obtained through these assessment procedures is used solely to improve the quality of the educational experience for future generations of JSU students.

For further information about assessment procedures, students should contact the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, (256) 782-8142.