Comprehensive Exam

Texas State University requires that all students seeking a graduate degree take a comprehensive examination.

  1. To fulfill the comprehensive examination requirement, computer science non-thesis graduate students take a programming exam, a communication exam, a written examination over the core courses, and must satisfy the computer science seminar requirement.
  2. To fulfill the comprehensive examination requirement, computer science thesis graduate students take a programming exam, a communication exam, give a presentation of their thesis to faculty and students, and must satisfy the computer science seminar requirement.

    For information on thesis, please click here.

GRADUATE DEGREE OUTLINE, SEMINARS, AND COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION

IMPORTANT!  All graduate students in the Department of Computer Science are required:

(1) to take the written departmental examination in programming the week before their first semester of graduate coursework or take CS 5301 during that first semester (also, see Programming Exam information and policy below);
(2) to take the written departmental examination in communication during their first semester of graduate coursework (also, see Communication Exam information and policy below);
(3) to have a degree outline prepared before the end of their first semester;
(4) a.) to pass a written comprehensive examination if student is taking the non-thesis option, or,
      b.) to pass an oral comprehensive examination if student is taking the thesis option.
(5) to fulfill the department's SEMINAR ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENT policy.  Graduate students seeking a master's degree in computer science must attend at least four computer science departmental seminars throughout their attendance in the Department of Computer Science graduate program at Texas State.  Students must not wait until their last semester of enrollment to attempt to fulfill the seminar attendancerequirement.

Failure to complete (1), (2), and (3) will result in a "hold" on registration and may cause delays in taking/passing the comprehensive examination.

The comprehensive exam components are administered by a committee of faculty members. The exams are given during the fall and spring semesters. Students are required to register for the exams in advance.

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Programming Exam

Communication Exam

  • The Communication Exam covers the ability to write clear technical English on computer science topics.
  1. Have a score of 3.5 or higher on the Analytical Writing section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  2. Take the Communication Exam and earn a passing score in the first long semester. This exam can be taken only once. (Students who do not pass the Communication Exam must satisfy one of the other two options.)
  3. Complete one of the following Texas State English courses, ENG 3313, ENG 3311, or ENG 3303, and earn a grade of B or higher by the end of the student's first year in the graduate program.

Oral Comprehensive Exam

  • All thesis students are required to take an oral exam at the time of their public thesis presentation.

Written Comprehensive Exam: This exam covers the core courses as indicated in the student's degree outline.

  • All non-thesis students are required to take a departmental written comprehensive exam after they become qualified by completing the core courses in computer science or software engineering and accumulating at least 18 graduate hours of credit. Students are strongly advised to take the comprehensive exam immediately after they are qualified.
  • The questions are graded on computer science or software engineering content.
  • Students who perform unacceptably on the exam may take the exam a second time. A third test administration is at the discretion of the committee that administers the exams, based on intensive and documented justification provided by the student.
  • WRITTEN Comprehensive Exam Study Guide

Appeals

  • Students may appeal in writing with justification to the Chair of the department's Comprehensive Examination Committee within two weeks of the date of notification of the grade.
  • A faculty appeals committee will review the exam and make a decision about the grade. The decision of the appeals committee will be final.
  • Students will be informed of the decision and of the sections that were deficient.

The graduate advisor or the Comprehensive Examination Committee may be consulted for further information regarding these rules.

Some samples of previous comprehensive exams are available in the department's archives but should not be used as predictors of the content or format of future exams.
Comprehensive Exam Archives