Counseling Comprehensive Exam Procedures

Students enrolled in the Masters of Education in Counseling program must take a comprehensive exam towards the end of their academic work to fulfill the requirements for a Masters Degree at UAF. The primary purpose of the comprehensive examination is to determine whether the student has integrated knowledge and understanding of the principles and concepts in the field of study. In order to take the comprehensive examination, the graduate department at the School of Education has established the following minimum requirements:


To be eligible to take the comprehensive examination, students must have completed, or be in their final semester of required course work for the M.Ed. in counseling.

Duration and Schedule

The written comprehensive examination will be emailed out to participants at 9:00 AM on the appropriately scheduled Friday (1st Friday of November in the fall and last Friday of March in the spring).

Permitted Materials and Academic Integrity

You may use outside resources to assist you in answering your questions, but you may not discuss the exam with other individuals; a reference page is not required but you must cite resources as you would within the text of any research paper. In addition, the exam must be destroyed when you return your answers – we are taking it on your honor that you will not keep a copy of the questions or distribute them to anyone else.

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.

Exam Questions

The final product will be due to the Counseling Department Chair or designated representative by 9:00 AM on the first Monday after the exam was received.Your answers will not be returned to you.

Format and Length

The exam will cover 9 required fields: Career Development, Child & Adolescent Development, Cross-Cultural Counseling, Counseling Interventions, Group Counseling, Professional Ethics, Research/Appraisal, and Theories of Counseling; the 9th field will be either Community Counseling or School Counseling; if a student is completing both tracks, then they will need to complete both the Community and School questions.
  • Each question must be answered in a minimum of 2 pages and a maximum of 3 pages – start each question on a new page; answers must be word-processed, double-spaced, using size 12 font Times or Times New Roman; be sure to take the time to check for grammar and spelling errors. 
  • Each page must include the name of the student and the page number in the top right corner. 


Responses will be evaluated separately by the faculty of the Counseling Department and each response will be scored on a 5-point scale: 1 = did not meet expectations; 2 = met expectations in some areas; 3 = met expectations; 4 = exceeds expectations in some areas; 5 = exceeds expectations in all areas. The final score will be an average of the faculty scores for each question.


Students will receive their results within 3 weeks of completing the exam.

If a student does not meet expectations in up to two required fields then the student will be asked to sit for an oral examination in those areas; if answers did not meet expectations in at least 3 areas then the student will be required to retake the entire examination. A student may sit for the exam no more than twice. If the exam is not passed the second time, the student is considered to have failed and will be exited from the program.