Comprehensive Exam

Department of Information and Library Science

Master of Library and Information Science



All students pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science are required to complete a Capstone experience, as stated by the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. For a Capstone experience, students can complete a thesis, special project, or comprehensive examination.

In order to be eligible to register for the comprehensive exam, students must have completed or be enrolled in courses that will enable them to complete 30 credit hours with an average grade of 3.0 or better in the program prior to taking the exam. 

Exams are scheduled each semester on the first Saturday in November, and the first Saturday in March. The exam is administered online.  Students must register for the comprehensive exam with permission of the MLIS Coordinator and the chair of the department no later than the beginning of the semester in which they plan to take the exam.  A Comprehensive Exam Registration Form (click on the link) is available on here.  

Prior to taking the exam, students should contact the MLIS Coordinator to ensure that all course requirements have been met.

The written comprehensive exam is open for 4 hours as an online session. Students will respond to 5 of 6 questions directly related to the MLIS Student Learning Outcomes.  Each answer will be composed as a Microsoft Word document with one–inch margins all around, a 12-point typeface, and double-spacing.  Additionally, answers must contain between 250 and 500 words.

The exam covers material from the six MLIS core courses. Each question is graded either fail, pass, or superior.   To pass the exam, students must score a “pass” or “superior” on each question. If one or more questions is scored as “fail”, the exam may be taken a second time in those specific areas. The retake exam must be scheduled no less than 2 weeks and no more than 6 months after the first (failed) attempt.  

According to the university graduate catalog, “a candidate who fails the comprehensive examination may petition the Graduate Coordinator for a second examination if there are extenuating circumstances. If the petition is not granted, the student will be dismissed from the program. Failure in the second examination results in dismissal from the program and exclusion from further candidacy.” 

In order to be eligible for the MLIS degree, students must earn a “pass” on all questions in the comprehensive exam. Upon its completion, the exam will be distributed among faculty for grading.  It will take two to four weeks to grade the exam.  The MLIS coordinator will notify the student in writing of his/her exam results. 

The MLIS Coordinator will sign the signature sheet and send a copy to the Department Chair.  The Department Chair and the MLIS Coordinator will sign the signature sheet respectively.  The Department Chair is responsible for forwarding a copy of the signature sheet to the Registrar’s Office indicating that the student has successfully completed the comprehensive examination Capstone option.