All graduating seniors in the School of Philosophy, as well as all senior philosophy majors in the School of Arts and Sciences, must pass a comprehensive exam. The exam, which occurs during the Spring semester, takes place on three consecutive days. The first day tests the student’s knowledge of the history of philosophy; the second day tests the student’s grasp of general philosophical issues; and the third day tests the student’s ability to comprehend and evaluate philosophical texts. Students receive a letter grade on the exam. A minimum grade of C- is required to pass, and a minimum grade of A- is required to pass with honors. The outcome of the exam will be indicated on the student’s final transcript as “Passed,” “Failed,” or “Passed with Honors”. In addition, for majors in the School of Philosophy, the number score and letter grade for the exam will be recorded on the student's transcript.
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.