Oral Exams

Students who plan to graduate must file a Graduate Application for Degree form with the Office of Graduate Education Student Services by the Friday of the third week of the semester in which the student intends to graduate. Please refer to the UH Mānoa Academic Calendar for each semester’s specific deadline. Failure to file by the deadline may delay graduation.

Orientation Sessions

An orientation session will be scheduled each fall and spring by the Program Chair and notice sent to 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.

Fall 2016 Oral Exam Orientation – August 29, 2016 @ 12:00-1:00p – HL Room 002K

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

After submitting a list of preferred dates and times (i.e., “morning” or “afternoon”), students will be assigned a specific date and time for their exam. Exams are scheduled on Fridays throughout the semester and each student has a maximum of one hour to complete their exam. The exam committee is comprised of two LIS 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.
  • Students are encouraged to dress professionally for the exam, but will not be graded on attire.
  • 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 retake 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.
  • Any retakes must be scheduled with the Program Coordinator. Students are also encouraged to meet with their faculty advisors when 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 Program Chair when submitting the request for oral exam dates.


The exam committee will be responsible for passing or not passing a student. All comments must be recorded on an evaluation form. Completed forms will be filed in student folders.

If the exam committee determines that the student needs to retake the exam, they will inform the student of the specific section(s) that must be retaken and the student will have a minimum of two weeks to study before retaking the exam. A new committee will then evaluate the second exam.