Return to PhD in SLS Program

Comprehensive Exam

Following successful completion of the required course work during residency, a comprehensive examination is prepared before the dissertation proposal. The comprehensive examination, taken only with the consent of the appointed doctoral committee, is based on three of the following: second language analysis, learning, use, pedagogy, and research methods. Approximately one semester prior to the tentative date of the examination, the student must submit to the committee chair an indication of the areas to be covered and specify the topic within each of the three areas, including a list of references. The committee must approve any description and may require modifications.

The examination consists of a written and an oral part:

  1. Written: For the written portion of the comprehensive exam, the candidate is given two weeks to answer three questions based on the specified topics approved by the committee. The two-week duration is strictly enforced. Answers for each question will usually be from 15 to 30 pages in length. The committee then takes two weeks to evaluate the candidate’s answers.
  2. Oral: The committee convenes with the candidate for the oral portion of the examination. Here, the examinee clarifies and amplifies topics addressed in the written portion.

A student who does not pass the comprehensive examination may take it only once more (see UHM Graduate Division Degree Requirements).