Oral Examination

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 adviser early in the semester to (a) identify a timeframe during which a one-hour examination could be held and (b) identify two faculty members[1] who will be invited to serve on the examining committee. The student’s adviser 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 Minnesota, the exam may be held using video conferencing. Students must confirm distance examination arrangements with the committee if this format is necessary.

Examination materials

The student submits all examination materials below to committee members 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.

  • Copies of three papers written as part of her or his M.Ed. coursework. (NOTE: students who have included FSoS 5949—Student Teaching in Parent Education in their program are asked to submit two student-written papers plus the most recent Observation Guide completed by the Regional Faculty Supervisor). 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).
  • 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 M.Ed. 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; and

outline future professional goals, based on the M.Ed. experience.
  • A completed program checklist showing a total of at least 30 completed credits. Students should consult with Cathy Schulz (famed@umn.edu) for a final approved checklist and to ensure that all degree /graduation requirements have been met. 

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).

Generally, at the beginning of the oral examination, the student is asked to give 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 may be 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.



[1] The examining committee is composed of two Family Education faculty members selected from the following list: Heather Cline, Susan Walker, Beth Magistad.