Description of the Oral Examination Requirement of the Family Education M.Ed. Professional Studies Program

Towards the end of the Family Education Master of Education (M.Ed.) professional studies program (generally the last semester that the student is taking courses), an oral examination is given as part of the degree requirements. 

The purposes of the M.Ed. oral examination are to:

  1. Review the student’s knowledge, reasoning, and academic program of study in relation to his or her current and/or projected professional role.

  2. Provide an opportunity for the student to discuss his or her academic and professional work—and the relation between the two.

  3. Provide a means by which faculty can identify revisions to the M.Ed. program and/or individual coursework to better meet learning needs.

  4. Provide an opportunity for the student to realize a sense of accomplishment and closure related to completing the M.Ed. program.

Arranging for the examination

To make arrangements for the examination, a student consults with her or his advisor early in the semester to (a) identify a timeframe during which a one-hour examination could be held and (b) identify another faculty member  who will be invited to serve on the examining committee. The student’s advisor reserves a room in McNeal Hall on the St Paul campus where the examination will be held. In some cases, particularly for students who live outside of the Twin Cities Metro Area (e.g, requiring a 3+ hour drive), the exam may be held using video conferencing. Students must confirm distance examination arrangements with the committee if this format is necessary. 

It is highly advised that students make these arrangements in the first 8 weeks of the semester the oral examination is planned to take place to ensure a time and date convenient for all. 

Examination materials

The student submits all examination materials below to her or his committee member so that they arrive at least one week prior to the examination. Students should contact each committee member to determine the format preferred and location of delivery. Papers may be requested in hard copy sent via mail; others may prefer that PDF copies are emailed.

  1. Copies of three papers written as part of her or his M.Ed. coursework. (Students who have included FSoS 5949—Student Teaching in Parent Education (2 cr) in their program are asked to submit two student-written papers plus the final evaluation of Student Teaching.) In all cases, copies of papers shared with the committee should not be revised and should include the course instructors’ comments on them (if there are comments on the paper). If a copy of the original assignment description is available, it is advised to include this with the paper(s). 

  2. A 3-4 page reflective summary of their experience in the M.Ed. program and plans for the future. The summary should 

    • explain why the student entered the MEd program; how the student’s background contributed to his or her desires to seek professional development in family education

    • explain why courses in the M.Ed. program of study were selected

    • reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the M.Ed. experience

    • outline future professional goals, based on the MEd experience

  3. A completed program checklist showing a total of at least 30 completed credits. Students should consult with their advisor for a final approved checklist before submitting as part of the oral exam materials.

It is imperative that students confirm the receipt of all materials by committee members prior to the exam. If both committee members do not possess all materials at least one week before the scheduled meeting, the student risks cancellation of the exam and will have to re-schedule (likely in the next semester). 

Preparing for the examination (Updated 3/31/2016)

What to bring: 

  • Completed Program Checklist 

  • Completed Graduate Degree Plan (GDP) form (for students admitted prior to spring 2013. Those admitted Spring 2013 and later do not need to complete and bring this form to the meeting. Students admitted spring 2013 will complete the Graduate Program and Audit System information indicated below and described here. See Final Steps for Degree Completion).

  • Back up copy of materials shared with committee members
Generally, at the beginning of the oral examination, the student distributes copies of the Program Checklist to committee members, and gives a brief summary of the reflective summary described above. The subsequent examination takes the form of a discussion between the student and the examining committee. It is common for faculty committee members to ask the student questions about the papers that were submitted for the examination or about additional professional issues raised by the student in his or her introductory comments.

Towards the end of the examination time, the student is asked to step outside of the room so that the committee members can assess the students’ performance in the examination. Upon committee agreement, the student is invited back into the room where the committee members inform the student as to whether or not she or he has successfully passed the examination.