Departmental Regulations on Graduate Exams

M.A. PROGRAM - COURSE STREAM AND THESIS STREAM

Ph.D. PROGRAM  

M.A. COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION PROCEDURE

The major field advisor will normally serve as the student's advisor. The advisor will work with the student in selecting the major field bibliography and in preparing for the examination.

After completing four courses students will write an examination in the major field, and sit a comprehensive oral examination. Only those students who have attained a minimum grade point average of 3.0, with not more than one 6 credit hour course with a grade of C+, are admitted to the oral examination. The minimum passing grade in each examination is B.

The written major field examination will be based on a bibliography of 30 books. Field examiners consisting of a major field Advisor and one other member of the Department will be assigned by the Chair of the Joint Discipline Committee in History at registration time. It will be the responsibility of the student to meet with her/his field examiners.

The written major field examination will normally take place in late April or early August each year. Students may handwrite the exams or use the department computer. If students choose to use the department computer, they must use the word processing program that is currently installed by the department. No other program will be downloaded for a particular student. The examination will be marked by the field examiners. The minimum passing grade is 3.0 (B). Students who fail the written examination must re-sit the exam within one calendar year of their initial failure.

The oral major field examination is of approximately 60 minutes duration and will normally follow the written examination within a few days and will be conducted by an Examining Committee which normally consists of two examiners in the major field and a Chair chosen by the Chair of the Joint Discipline Committee in History. The Chair of this Examining Committee is responsible for the conduct of the oral examination, and he/she must try to ensure that the normal standards of the Department are being upheld. In case of a disagreement between the two other examiners, the Chair's verdict becomes the final one. This oral examination focuses mainly on the student's major field but may also include questions on the broad scope of her/his historical studies.

The Examining Committee usually meets before the candidate is scheduled to appear. It discusses the student's performance in the course work. The Chair then outlines the procedure to be followed during the examination. After this preliminary conference, the candidate is ushered into the room. Examiners are expected to ask their questions as directly and as explicitly as they can. The candidate is examined for approximately 20 minutes by each of the two examiners. The normal length of the comprehensive oral examination is about 60 minutes.

When the Chair of the Examining Committee is satisfied that the panel has enough evidence on which to base its verdict, the candidate is asked to withdraw. The Examining Committee then discusses the student's performance in the oral examination and reaches its final decision in about ten minutes. The student is then recalled and apprised of the verdict.

For the purposes of Convocation, the Examining Committee needs only to indicate whether the student has passed or failed. For departmental purposes, however, the Examining Committee is required to place the candidate in one of the following categories: Passed with distinction; Passed well; Passed; or Failed. Students who fail the oral examination are not normally required to repeat the formal course work. They are expected to re-sit the oral examination within one calendar year of their initial failure. If they fail the oral examination at their second attempt they will be required to withdraw from the M.A. program in History.

The Chair of the Examining Committee must submit, to the Chair of the Joint Discipline Committee in History, a brief report on the oral comprehensive examination. This report must indicate clearly in which category the candidate was placed. It becomes an important document in the student's file.

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M.A. THESIS EXAMINATION PROCEDURE

Each thesis student must satisfy an examining committee, selected by the Chair of the Joint Discipline Committee in consultation with the student's thesis Advisor. When the thesis has been completed to the satisfaction of the student and the Advisor, a copy for each examiner is submitted to the Chair of the Joint Discipline Committee in History, who is responsible for distributing it to the members of the Examining Committee. This Committee, which is appointed by the Chair of the Joint Discipline Committee in History, under authority of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, includes the Advisor (a non-voting member) and two other members of the History Graduate Programmes and one examiner from another department within the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg.

Members of the Examining Committee are requested to submit written appraisals to the Joint Discipline Committee Chair within four weeks of receipt of the thesis. These appraisals will place the thesis in one of three categories:

  1. acceptable without modification

  2. acceptable subject to modification

  3. rejected.

Theses placed in categories 1 and 2 will go forward to defence. These appraisals and the Chair's report on the oral examination are placed on the student's file.

The oral examination is normally a defence of the dissertation but the candidate is also required to demonstrate a sound knowledge of the field in which the thesis has been written. In the event the Advisor feels that the completed thesis is not yet suitable for examination, the students has the right to insist that it come before the committee over the Advisor's objection.

The Examining Committee usually meets before the candidate is scheduled to arrive. It discusses the quality and nature of the thesis, and decides on the procedure to be followed during the actual examination. After this preliminary conference, the candidate is ushered into the room by the advisor.

The student is required to comment on the thesis research and findings. The students has 10 minutes to complete this presenttion. Each examiner is expected to question the candidate for approximately fifteen minutes, and the whole thesis defence normally lasts about sixty minutes.

When the Chair of the Examining Committee is satisfied that the questioning is complete, he/she requests the student to withdraw. A brief discussion of the thesis defence follows, and a final decision is reached. The student is then recalled and informed of the result.

For the purposes of Convocation, the Examining Committee needs only to indicate whether the student has passed or failed. No grade is assigned to the thesis-defence, but a clear statement on the quality of the oral examination is submitted to the Chair of the Joint Discipline Committee in History by the Chair of the Examining Committee. For departmental purposes the Examining Committee is required to place the candidate in one of the following categories: Passed with distinction; Passed well; Passed; or Failed.

Following completion of the examination of the thesis, the examiners will determine the nature of and procedures for approval of any revisions that will be required prior to submission of the final copy of the thesis to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Normally the advisor is responsible for ensuring that revisions are completed according to the instructions from the examining committee.

If the thesis writer fails to satisfy the Examining Committee on more than one occasion, s/he will be required to withdraw altogether from the graduate program in History.

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Departmental Regulations on Graduate Exams - PhD Program