MLS Comprehensive Exams

All students receiving the Master of Liberal Studies degree are required to take two comprehensive exams—one within their concentration, and the other covering the MLS core (IDS 801, 802, 803, & 804). Students completing a thesis are required to take the MLS core exam only. Students should sign-up for comprehensive exams with the Graduate School prior to the sign-up deadline posted each semester.

 Concentration Exams
Concentration exams are administered by advisors, and should be completed and graded in advance of the comprehensive exam reporting deadline posted each semester by the Graduate School. Each concentration has full control over the format, content, and grading methods for this exam.

 MLS Core Exam
The MLS core exam is administered by the MLS Coordinator and Graduate School at least three-weeks prior to the comprehensive exam reporting deadline posted each semester by the Graduate School. The MLS core exam will be available on Blackboard for a period of time specified by the MLS Coordinator, and students will have that time in which to access and work on the exams. Access to the Blackboard MLS core exam site will be closed, except during the examination period.

The MLS core exam is a self-contained exam which includes research and a writing prompt. Students will carefully consult the research and write a position paper that will be uploaded on the Blackboard site before the end of the examination period. Exam graders are looking for the application of skills that students learned in their IDS 800-level courses, specifically the ability to work with scholarly research, analyze it, and synthesize it in writing. There are no study questions available, for graders are looking for the application of skills, not memorization. A copy of the MLS core exam grading rubric used to assess the exams will be available to students on the Blackboard site. The rubric is based on a 10-point scale. The lowest possible passing grade is 6.0/10, averaged among all readers of the exam. Graded rubrics reflecting final averages for the MLS core exam will be sent to examinees through the Blackboard site on or before the Graduate School reporting deadline.

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