Oral Exams

Orientation Sessions

An orientation session will be scheduled each fall and spring by the program chair. Notice will be posted on the lis-stu@lists.hawaii.edu. At the session, the chair will go over the purpose, requirements, and schedule for the comps. The chair will also provide suggestions in preparing for the comps.

FALL 2014 ORAL EXAM ORIENTATION – August 26, 2014 –  HL Room 2K (Halawai, 1 hour) Link: http://breeze.hawaii.edu/p25408017/?session=breeztghy44wkc6z9ogo4

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 comp scenarios are available online:

Oral Comp Schedule

Each student will be allotted one hour for the comp. Students will arrange for a specific time with the program chair. Exams are normally scheduled on Fridays. Summer graduates must take their comps in the spring semester.
There will be two faculty members on each exam team. The program chair in discussion with faculty will arrange schedules and assignments.

Advice in Preparing for Comps

  • Students may study in groups; however, the comp 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 comps. 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 Comps

  • No notes are allowed in 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

Students who live on neighbor islands or outside the state may request to take the oral exam online. The exam would still be given by two professors 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 insure 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.