Oral Exams

At the start of the semester in which you intend to graduate, you must submit a Graduate Application for Degree form to the Office of Graduate Education and a completed Record of Service form to the LIS Program Coordinator. For forms and additional graduation information, please refer to the LIS Program’s Graduation page.

Orientation Sessions

An orientation session will be scheduled each fall and spring by the program chair. Notice will be posted on the LIS student mailing list. At the session, the chair will go over the purpose, requirements, and schedule for the exam. The chair will also provide suggestions in preparing for the exam.

Spring 2016 Oral Exam Orientation – January 27, 2016 @ 12:00-1:00p –  HL Room 3F

General Requirements

The oral comprehensive examination is an exit requirement for all MLISc candidates in Plan B (non-thesis). The exam must be taken in the last regular semester—fall if graduating in the fall, spring if graduating in the spring or the summer. The oral exam scenarios are available online:

Oral Exam Schedule

Students will arrange for a specific time with the program chair and each student is allotted one hour for the exam. LIS faculty members and the Program Chair arrange schedules and exam committee assignments. Exams are normally scheduled on Fridays. Summer graduates must take their exam in the spring semester. The exam committee is comprised of two faculty members per student.

Advice in Preparing for the Comprehensive Oral Exam

  • Students may study in groups; however, the exam must be taken individually.
  • Students should read each scenario carefully to determine the intent of the scenario and the major questions posed.
  • There is no specific reading list for the exam. Rather, students must cull from the various courses they have taken, seeking out relevant resources and notes. In addition, they should search the University’s print collection and electronic journal databases.
  • Each response must demonstrate evidence of the following:
    • Succinct overview of historical background relevant to the issue or problem.
    • Organized analysis of situation.
    • Clear description of methodology and/or rationale for handling the situation.
    • Meaningful connections made between theory and application in a particular information center context.

Rules in Taking the Exam

  • Students may not bring notes with them into the exam room.
  • Follow-up questions may be asked at the administering faculty members’ discretion.
  • The administering faculty members will make pass or fail decisions immediately following completion of the exam. Students are asked to step outside briefly while faculty members deliberate and are informed of the decision at that time.
  • Students must repeat any portion that they fail. They must schedule a retake with the program chair. They will also be encouraged to meet with their faculty advisers in preparing for a retake.

Distance Education Students

Neighbor islands students may request to take the oral exam online. The exam would still be given by two LIS faculty asking questions on Halawai, Skype, or another synchronous videoconferencing system. The student must also secure permission for a proctor to oversee the remote site. The proctor should be an MLS/ MLIS/ MLISc graduate who is willing to observe the hour-long exam to make sure there are no notes or other unethical behavior. The proctor needs to be approved by the LIS Chair when submitting the request for oral exam dates.


The administering faculty members will be responsible for passing or not passing a student. All comments must be recorded on the evaluation check sheets. Completed sheets will be filed in student folders.