When the prescribed course work is substantially complete as defined by the guidance committee, the doctoral student is eligible to take the comprehensive examinations covering the major and related fields. At least one component of the comprehensive examinations must be written and must be maintained in the department or school office for three years. Colleges, departments, or schools may also require an oral component. Students must be registered during the semester(s) in which they take comprehensive examinations (see Maximum and Minimum Credits). This requirement may be waived if the examination is administered during the summer session immediately following a spring semester during which the student was registered and/or prior to a fall semester in which the student will be registered.
Scheduling, composing, and evaluating the comprehensive examinations is done in accordance with college, department, and school policy. In the case of a comprehensive examination that consists of more than one part, the date that the student passes the examination is the date on which he or she passes the final component of the comprehensive examination. The department, school, or college shall make available to doctoral students upon matriculation a written explanation of comprehensive examination procedures. The comprehensive examinations must be completed before an oral defense of the dissertation can be scheduled.
For the Doctor of Philosophy and the Doctor of Musical Arts degrees, all of the comprehensive examinations must be passed within five years and all remaining requirements for the degree must be completed within eight years from the time when a student begins the first class at Michigan State University that appears on his or her doctoral program of study. Application for extensions of the eight-year period of time toward degree must be submitted by the department/school for approval by the dean of the college and the Dean of the Graduate School. Upon approval of the extension, doctoral comprehensive examinations must be passed again.