All graduating seniors in the School of Philosophy must pass a comprehensive exam. The exam, which occurs during the Spring semester, takes place on two consecutive days. The first day tests the student’s knowledge of the history of philosophy and the second day tests the student’s grasp of general philosophical issues. The outcome of the exam will be indicated on the student’s final transcript as “Passed,” “Failed,” or “Passed with Honors”. 

Details Regarding the Comprehensive Exam 

Preparing for the Exam

  • A complete description of the exam, as well as information about how the exam is graded, can be found here.
  • The faculty member who is that year's Comprehensive Exam Coordinator will visit senior seminar at the end of the Fall semester to speak about the exam.
  • Any additional questions can be directed to that year's Comprehensive Exam Coordinator.

Registering for the Exam

  • All graduating seniors should register for the comprehensive exam when they register for their Spring courses.
  • Details about registering will be provided by your Academic Advisor, or you can contact the Assistant to the Associate Dean for more information.


  • Since each exam is graded by at least two faculty members, it can take some time to grade the exams and compile the results.
  • Students will be notified of their score by email about a month after the exam.
Comprehensive Exam Coordinator: Dr. Melissa Moschella,