MA Comprehensive Examination

Students will declare their intention to take the MA comprehensive examination in writing normally by the end of their second semester. Students will normally write the comprehensive examination at the end of the fifth semester in their program. Faculty advisors, in consultation with students who have submitted letters of intent, shall compile a reading list that will guide the comprehensive examination.

The reading list will focus on variety and centrality. Items on the list should be generally recognizable as significant to the discipline but the overall group should reflect philosophical variation. Specifically, the reading list should:

  • Include fifty items, consisting of twenty-five books and twenty-five articles
  • Represent at least six different mainstream theoretical approaches
  • Represent at least five different folklore genres
  • Include at least 20% Canadian materials
  • Include at least 20% recent publications (within last ten years)
  • Be balanced in terms of length and difficulty

Sample copies of the reading list are available in the Department office. The comprehensive examination will be compiled and graded by a comprehensive examination committee appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies on the recommendation of the Head of the Department, in accordance with General Regulations governing the School of Graduate Studies.

The examination based on the reading list, will normally take place on two consecutive days (dates to be determined by the examination committee, in consultation with the students). Students will be required to answer three questions out of six. Normally answers will be typed. The examination will be administered as a take-home examination in two parts. The first day a two-question examination will be given and the completed answers returned within eight hours. The second day a one-question examination will be given and the completed answers returned within four hours. Students will be notified of their results in terms of a grade of fail, pass, or pass with distinction.