Comprehensive Examinations

The choice of topics to be covered in a student’s comprehensive examination for the Ph.D. is up to the student’s advisory committee. As a guideline, here is an example of how topics have been set for examinations given in Zoology. The written comprehensive examination is in five parts covering at least four of the following disciplinary areas:

  • Behavior and Neurobiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Comparative Morphology and Systematics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Ecology
  • Evolution
  • Genetics
  • Physiology

A student may choose five disciplinary areas, or a student may take two examinations in a single area provided those two are each administered by a different member of the committee and cover distinctly different aspects of the discipline. Coverage should be agreed upon by the advisory committee as a whole. The examination is to be prepared by and graded by five members of the student’s advisory committee.