The purpose of the SPPH PhD Comprehensive Exam is to provide PhD students an opportunity to demonstrate the integration of knowledge and successful application of learning from the core curriculum in the PhD program. Students are asked to demonstrate the ability to apply learning in the key areas of proposal development and the ability to critique published research studies, skills that are essential to progress in the program, and to succeed in a research career.
The exam is held in late May and/or early June each year. Students typically take the exam at the end of their second year. The exam is scheduled over a two-week period, with Week 1 focusing on two written submissions, and Week 2 focusing on an oral examination. The Week 1 written submissions include a research proposal developed in response to a simulated ‘Call for Proposals’ and a written critique of a published research article. The Week 2 Oral Examination will be up to one hour, with approximately 30 minutes allocated to review and defence of each of the two written components.
Thesis Screening Panel
PhD students are required to prepare a thesis proposal and present it to the Thesis Screening Panel (TSP) prior to embarking on major components of the thesis research. The TSP’s role is to evaluate the scope and content of the proposed research in light of the general expectations of the University and SPPH for doctoral dissertations, and to provide feedback to the student and the supervisory committee on all aspects of the proposal.
Students are encouraged to complete the Comprehensive Examination prior to presenting to the TSP. After students pass the Comprehensive Examination and present to the TSP, they can apply for Advancement to Candidacy.
The TSP Process document which includes standards for submitted thesis proposals, can be downloaded here.