Comprehensive Exams

The intent of the comprehensive written and oral examination is to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of the student’s knowledge in the field of counselor education and supervision than can be completed in an individual course. The comprehensive written and oral examination is to be taken at the completion of the student’s course work (CES 88292 Internship in CES may be incomplete at the time of the comprehensive examination); that is, the course work listed as part of the Prospectus & Residency Plan must be completed before the student is eligible to take the comprehensive written and oral examination. Application and clearance for the comprehensive written and oral examination occurs through the Graduate Student Services Office (418 White Hall).

The comprehensive examination will be offered two or three times during the academic year, usually during finals week of each semester (during week 8 of the Summer II). The Doctoral Coordinator will announce via email the exact dates and location of the comprehensive exams.

The Comprehensive Exam Application Packet is to be completed and submitted to the Graduate Student Services Office in order to initiate the application process and is available in the Graduate Student Services Office (418 White Hall). 

In the CES Ph.D. program, students complete a three-day "written portion" of the comprehensive examination in a proctored setting. The two CES faculty advisors help prepare the student for the five areas to be covered on the "written portion" of the examination. Students have a maximum of four hours (total) each day to write their responses. The CES faculty advisors read and grade the "written portion" of the examination; the two advisors may determine that the student has successfully passed the written examination and is ready for the oral examination, or they may determine that there is a deficiency and that a re-writing is necessary. A deficiency is thought to exist when one or more of the five answers are graded as unsatisfactory. Both CES faculty advisors must indicate a satisfactory performance on the "written portion" of the examination before the student can schedule the "oral portion" of the examination. 

Upon successful completion of the "written portion" and "oral portion" of the comprehensive examination, the student may register for CES 80199 Dissertation I.

CES Doctoral Comprehensive Examination Study Guide

There are five areas of the CES Doctoral Comprehensive Examinations:

  • Counseling (Day 1; 2 hours)
  • Teaching (Day 1; 2 hours)
  • Supervision (Day 2; 2 hours)
  • Foundations of Professional Identity (Day 2; 2 hours)
  • Research and Scholarship (Day 3; 4 hours)

Below are some general guidelines to help prepare for the written portion of the examination:

  • These are comprehensive examinations – students need to demonstrate a culmination of their learning in the CES doctoral program.
  • Grading will be based on content (e.g., accuracy and thoroughness of information) AND form (e.g., written clearly, good grammar and spelling, etc.).
  • Students must adhere to APA style (6th Edition).
  • Students are expected to appropriately cite at least six different scholarly sources in each area. Students will need to memorize all citations for this examination. However, full references will not need to be memorize, only name and date of citations are needed, e.g., "Baker (2008)".
  • In each area, make sure to answer ALL questions or sub-questions. Typically, written comprehensive exam areas fail when they are not fully answered. It is recommended that students identify each of the sub-sections of the examination with a sub-heading.
  • Make sure responses are thorough and are "deep". Shallow or surface level responses are not appropriate.
  • Begin preparing at least six months before the examination. Dedicate considerable time (e.g., 10-20 hours each week) for studying. This is NOT a time for cramming.

When studying, please refer to the 2016 CACREP doctoral standards. The examinations in CES have been developed around the 2016 CACREP doctoral standards. In addition, the following questions have been developed to help student’s study for the five sections of the written comprehensive examinations.

For further information, refer to the CES Doctoral Handbook.