Political Science C

Graduate Student Policy on Comprehensive Exam and Portfolio Review


All graduate students in the MA, MPA, or MPA/CJC programs must demonstrate competence in at least two subfields of the discipline before graduation by passing comprehensive written examinations in each as follows:

Master of Arts in Political Science
     Must take comprehensive examinations in at least two of the following:

          American Politics
          Comparative Government/International Relations
          Public Administration/Public Policy
Master of Public Administration
     Must take comprehensive examinations in at least each of the following:
          Public Administration
          Public Policy
Master of Public Administration with a Concentration in Criminal Justice
     Must take comprehensive examinations in:
     Criminal Justice and at least one of the following:
          Public Administration
          Public Policy

This is a take-home exam composed of questions from three faculty members with no more than two members representing one subfield. Students shall have one week to complete the exam. Students must have completed at least four 600-level courses (at least 2 from each subfield) prior to taking the exam and must take the exam by the tenth week of their final semester.

Process: Each student shall form a committee of three faculty, one of whom will act as committee chair. It is expected that students will select faculty members they have had in class (although there may be exceptions with the approval of the Graduate Advisor). Faculty members shall each compose a question (or questions) to be answered by the student. The committee chair shall collect the questions and present them to the student who will then have one week to answer all of the questions required by each faculty member. Upon completion of the exam, the student shall return all of his/her answers to the committee chair, who will distribute them to the other committee members. They will grade their portion of the exam, Pass/Fail, and report the results to the committee chair. The committee chair will then inform the Department Chair and the Graduate Advisor as to the results of the exam. The Department Chair will then inform the student as to the results of the exam.

If an individual does not pass all or any portion of the exam, he/she may retake the exam (or the portion they did not pass) one time. A student unable to demonstrate sufficient competence after two attempts is not allowed to complete his/her studies for a Masters degree from the Department of Political Science. Effective: Summer, 2009


We are asking that all graduate students submit a portfolio of their papers (written for their various classes) at the end of their final semester. Papers need not be graded and can be submitted to either Dr. Steve Hall or Dr. Charles Taylor. Thank you.

Department of Political Science
Ball State University
North Quadrangle Building (NQ), room 258
Muncie, IN 47306

Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Phone: 765-285-8780
Fax: 765-285-5345
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