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Economics | Comprehensive Exams

Information for MA Students

All masters students are required to pass a comprehensive examination in economic theory, which is based on the material taught in ECON-500 and ECON-501 during the previous two years.  Comprehensive examinations are given twice each year in January and June. In order to sit for a comprehensive, students must register with the department staff by the announced deadline, which is generally eight to ten weeks before the comprehensive examinations are given. The date of the registration deadline will be announced via email well in advance. To avoid missing the deadline, you are advised to apply for your comprehensive examination when you register for the semester before you plan to take your comp. The examination date for each comprehensive will be set after the registration deadline. It is the student's responsibility to learn about the administration of the comprehensive examinations, including the dates by which you must register.

Professors who read the comps are not told the name of the students sitting for the comps. To protect the students’ anonymity, a special identification number is issued to each student for each comprehensive examination. Each comprehensive is graded by at least two professors. Students are allowed to know the names of the graders for each examination. Once a reader assigns a grade to a comprehensive examination, it cannot be regraded except by recommendation of the department Chair. The Chair will not recommend regrading except in truly extraordinary circumstances, such as apparent negligence or incompetence on the part of the grader.

Students are expected to sit for their comprehensive examination as soon as they have completed ECON-500 Microeconomics, ECON-501 Macroeconomics, and ECON-505 Mathematical Economics. Students who fail the comprehensive examination have two additional attempts to pass it. Should a student fail the comprehensive three times, the student will be dismissed from the MA program and will receive a Graduate Certificate in Applied Microeconomics rather than a Master’s degree (providing all other requirements are met). Students who fail a comprehensive should retake the examination at the first opportunity.