Maternal and Child Health master's comprehensive exam

The purpose of the exam is to ensure basic competence in core MCH content, to demonstrate the ability to integrate core content with MCH skills in a professional dialogue, to provide an opportunity for the student to synthesize material in an oral presentation, and to satisfy the University requirement. The Department of Maternal and Child Health’s comprehensive examination is administered orally during the examination period at the end of the Spring semester of the student’s first year. Any exception must be approved in writing by the Director of Graduate Studies. The MCH core course, MHCH 701 and 702: Foundations in MCH, must be completed prior to the exam.

Five questions will be distributed approximately two weeks ahead of time (including at least one question which could be answered either from a domestic or a global perspective or requires domestic/international comparison). Material to be covered in the exam will come directly from the 701 and 702 readings and lectures. Students are encouraged to refer to examples from the course readings in their answers.

  • One student will present to two faculty members (one full time and one adjunct or retired).
  • Students will select one question, and the faculty examiners will select a second.
  • Students have the opportunity to respond for up to five minutes per question. Faculty may question the student for another ten minutes per question.
  • After the two questions, the student is excused for five minutes while the two faculty examiners decide upon a grade (pass/fail).
  • The student then returns for feedback and a grade.

The exam will be audio-taped. In the event of a disagreement between the faculty members, a third faculty member (selected by the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies) will listen to the tape and break the tie within two working days. Failure of one of the two questions constitutes failure of the entire exam. The entire exam must then be re-taken.

In the event that the student fails the examination, either by agreement of the two examiners or by the vote of a third faculty member, the student must wait three months to retake the exam. A third exam, in the case of a second failure, is allowed only with the approval of the Administrative Board of the Graduate School. Registration is required in the semester in which the comprehensives are taken.

The following protocol will be followed when a student does not pass her or his oral comps:

  1. The examiners will notify the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies.
  2. The Associate Chair for Graduate Studies will immediately notify the student’s advisor.

The following is the procedure to re-take the exam:

  1. The Associate Chair for Graduate Studies will appoint two new examiners.
  2. The Associate Chair for Graduate Studies will set a date for the examination and will notify the student.
  3. The student will be examined on two of the remaining three original questions: one question will be chosen by the student and the other question chosen by the examiners.