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A doctoral student must successfully complete the comprehensive examination within a period of five years beginning with the first semester of enrollment as a PhD student. Individual departments or area programs may stipulate a shorter time period.

The comprehensive examination consists of written and oral sections. It must be completed at least seven months before the final defense of the dissertation. The two sections of the examination must be completed within one month.

Official university recesses, university holidays, and periods of intersession that fall between the two sections of the examination (for example, Thanksgiving Recess, Winter Break) will not count against the student’s timeline. Students are encouraged to communicate and work with committee members to achieve a mutually workable timeline.