Comprehensive Exam - M.Ed. Curriculum & Instruction - Instructional Technology

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Coursework | Comprehensive Exam | Master's Portfolio

Comprehensive Exam or Master's Thesis Option

Students have two choices to complete the program core requirements:

  • Take 18 credit hours in their major area of study and the comprehensive exam, OR
  • Take 12 credit hours in their major area of study plus six (6) credit hours for the writing of a thesis.
    • CUIN 6399
    • CUIN 7399

Students who choose the Master's Thesis Option should contact their advisor for details.

Comprehensive Exam

Comprehensive exams are designed for learners to illustrate their understanding of a body of knowledge at the level of synthesis rather than knowledge or comprehension. This is an opportunity to show how well you can analyze and apply what you have learned in your course work.


The CUIN Master's comprehensive examination consists of three, one-hour examination periods, each period covering a specific area or topic that is generally addressed in a master's-level education course. Two areas must be chosen from the student's area of emphasis (e.g., early childhood education, science education, or curricular and instructional studies). The third area can be chosen from either the student's area of emphasis or from a College or Department core area (e.g., Historical or Philosophical Foundations or Psychological Foundations).

At least two different full-time faculty members in the College of Education should write the examination questions. All questions will be graded by the faculty member who wrote the question. All faculty members will provide official feedback to the student's advisor on the form.


Approximately three months prior to taking the comprehensive exam, the student and his/her advisor should meet to decide the three courses/areas for which the student will request questions. Following this meeting, the advisor will then ask the student to contact the specific faculty member who taught the class and request a question from them. After the student notifies the advisor which faculty members have agreed to write questions, the faculty member should submit a one-hour question for the student within 20 working days to the student's advisor. Accommodations will be made for students with learning disabilities.


Within five working days after the student completes the comprehensive exam, staff in the Curriculum and Instruction Department will send the student's response to the faculty member who wrote the question. The faculty member is responsible for grading the exam and returning the grade and responses on the attached form back to the advisor within 15 working days. The grading system will consist of the following ratings: (a) High Pass, (b) Pass, or (c) Fail/Oral. In the case of a failed question (Fail/Oral), an oral defense is required. The faculty member who graded the question and the student's advisor or another faculty member from the student's examination committee will meet with the student and listen to the student elaborate his/her responses to the question. These two faculty members will decide on the final grade for that question within 19 working days after the oral defense. The advisor will notify the student of the status of the exam in writing within 10 working days after receiving all the faculty grades. If a student fails any of the three questions, he/she needs to retake a similar question (or questions) from the same general area(s) within the next academic year. Students have two opportunities to pass all three questions from the exam. Should the student fail any portion of the comprehensive examination a second time, the student shall be ineligible for a Master's degree in Education at the University of Houston.

Notification of Results

The Associate Dean for Graduate Studies notifies the student of the results of his/her examination. Each student is also informally notified by his/her advisor regarding the degree of success.

IT Program Policy

In addition to the College of Education comprehensive exam policies, the Curriculum & Instruction - Instructional Technology program also has the following guidelines for students:

  1. Comprehensive exam questions can be requested only from full-time IT faculty members.
  2. At least one of the questions requested should cover a Theoretical Area.
  3. At the time that a student requests a question from a faculty member, that student can also request a general area to study. The exact question will not be provided ahead of the exam date.
  4. Examination answers are scored by the faculty member who provided the question.
  5. An answer that is initially scored as a "Fail/Oral" will be referred to the entire IT faculty for a decision.