Specialization Exam

When can the examination be taken?

The Specialization Examination is scheduled at any time of the academic year upon the combined request of you and your Dissertation Chair.

How is the exam evaluated?

Your Dissertation Committee is responsible for judging the adequacy of the Specialization Examination papers, and the committee’s recommendation is forwarded to the entire faculty for departmental approval. Passing this examination implies that you have a command of your domain of specialization substantial enough to design a productive dissertation study. Approval of the Specialization Examination must be given before you can proceed to your Dissertation Proposal.

What are the criteria for evaluating the exam?

In the Specialization papers you will be expected to identify key theoretical and methodological issues represented in the field, making points clearly and supporting them adequately. Discussion of key issues should be grounded in one or more theoretical frameworks and show evidence of a substantial and critical review of relevant research.

What are my options if I fail?

If you fail the examination, the first option is to resubmit another exam. Before resubmitting the Specialization Exam, however, you must reconvene your Dissertation Committee to agree on the steps to be taken to prepare for resubmitting the exam. You have the ultimate responsibility for determining your preparedness for taking the test. You cannot be prevented from retaking the examination provided that the agreement described above has been made. The Department allows you to take the examination up to three times.

A second option is to appeal the results of the examination. This appeal must be made in writing to the Department Chair, who will bring it before the faculty for review and decision. This decision can be appealed to the Academic Standing Committee of the School of Education and that ruling may be appealed to the Graduate Academic Council. The GAC's ruling is final.