Comprehensive Exam

Students enrolled in the Masters of Education in Secondary Education have the options to write a thesis, design a project, or take a comprehensive exam towards the end of their academic work to fulfill the requirements for a Masters Degree at UAF.

Make sure to get your 3 member committee and your graduate plan of studies established before October. 

Contact the SOE Graduate advisor Jane Monahan-

The final comprehensive examination constitutes a synthesis and application of knowledge, skills, and dispositions acquired during the course of study leading to the Master’s degree in Education Secondary Education. The exam will cover topics from the area of certification. The exam will require the candidate to analyze, evaluate, and apply principles, theories, and understandings about teaching and learning.
In order to take the comprehensive examination, the Graduate Department at School of Education at UAF establishes the following minimum requirements:


  • A candidate must be enrolled in the term in which a comprehensive examination is taken.
  • A candidate must have accumulated at least 27 credit hours (including current semester’s enrollment) in the master’s program, and have an approved plan of study on-file with the graduate School.
  • A candidate must be in good academic standing, and must have graduate department of the UAF-SOE and committee approval to take the comprehensive examination.


Candidates should complete the UAF-SOE Masters of Education Secondary Education Registration Form and submit it to the adviser of the Graduate School at UAF-SOE by the time-line established for the semester in which the exam will be taken.  The comprehensive exam is a take-home exam and offered in Fall and Spring semesters. The Registration Form and schedule for deadlines and actual exam dates can be obtained from the website or the adviser of the graduate department at UAF–SOE.

Duration and Schedule

The candidate has 7 calendar days (1 week) to complete the exam. The comprehensive exam will be available for pick up at the UAF-SOE or electronically over e-mail at 10 a.m. AST on a Thursday in March (Spring Semester) or October/November (Fall Semester). The completed examinations must be returned or submitted via e-mail the following Thursday at 10 a.m. AST.  Exams turned in beyond the established date are considered void.

Spring 2018 Examination Dates:   Students may choose from one of the following weeks (Thursday - Thursday)

    March 9, 2018 - March 16, 2018

    March 02, 2018 - March 09, 2018

   other dates maybe available on request,

Jane Monahan, Graduate Advisor
UAF School of Education

Permitted Materials and Academic Integrity

Students are permitted to use any resources in responding to the comprehensive exam prompts.  However, exam responses should not include work previously submitted for academic credit, and must adhere to the highest professional, personal and intellectual standards of academic integrity (UAF student code of conduct). During the exam period, all work must be done individually. Students will be required to sign a statement certifying that they had no assistance (content or editing) during the exam period.

Disability Accommodations

Accommodations will be made for students with verified disabilities. Students with disabilities who require accommodations for taking the comprehensive exam must contact the Office for Student Disability Services at UAF.

Preparation for the Examination

Candidates should contact their committee for assistance in preparing for the comprehensive examination. Assistance provided by the program faculty may include distributing sample questions, offering study tips, scheduling study sessions, and so forth.

Exam Prompts

The comprehensive exam has two parts.
In part one
, candidates will choose and respond to two comprehensive exam prompts from a list of three prompts. The prompts will require the candidate to analyze, evaluate, and apply research based principles and understandings about teaching and learning. The candidate should demonstrate the ability to interpret theory and practice as reflective practitioner. The prompts will focus on the area(s) of certification, educational technology, and researched based effective practices in education for all learners.

 In part two, candidates will select four short response prompts from a list of six. These prompts will focus broadly on the course content of the program. By responding to the prompts the candidate will demonstrate:

  • Broad knowledge of school curriculum,
  •  In depth understanding of current issues in secondary education,
  • Knowledge of principles of teaching and learning related to classroom practices, procedures, and assessment,
  • Knowledge and skills in classroom management and supervision, inclusive of special learners,
  • Knowledge of multicultural, global, and community aspects of education, including place-based and culturally responsive education in Alaska,
  • Knowledge of research and research methodology in Education,
  • Technology knowledge and skills related to curriculum and teaching,
  • Knowledge and skills related to school community relations, and parents.

Format and Length

Each of the two responses should be typed, 8 to 10 pages long (not including the bibliography page), double spaced, with 1 inch margins, and using a traditional 12 point font. The formatting adheres to APA (6th edition) guidelines. Candidates should begin their responses by identifying the specific prompt they answer. Each responses should be based on research with current citations (5 citations minimum per response). Each response includes a personal, reflective statement. The two long responses should be written in third person but first person may be used for reflective statements. The APA style bibliography should reflect only citations used in the responses.

The short response pompts from part two will be limited to 500 minimum to 600 maximum words each. Content may reflect your engagement, experiences, thoughts about best practices, ideas and/or believes as education practitioner or future educator embedded in educational research. Citations may strengthen your argument (they are not counted in the word count).


Exams will be graded by the candidate’s committee or program faculty, and evaluated based on the following criteria:

The candidate

  • Discussed the question/statement with sufficient depth and as reflective practitioner,
  • Answered the questions with an understanding of the breadth of theories, concepts, and philosophies of education,
  • Demonstrated knowledge of particular aspects of literature in education and applications in the content area,
  • Provided appropriate and sufficient citations and references,
  • Used appropriate examples and thoughtful personal statements to explain the narrative,
  • Organized a logical presentation,
  • Used appropriate APA Style.


Candidates will be notified of the results of their exam in writing about 2 weeks after the exam is submitted. The ratings are pass or fail. The committee chair will contact students who do not pass the Comprehensive Exam to determine reexamination options. 

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