The comprehensive examination assesses the student's knowledge of major trends and fields in linguistics to determine the student's preparation for specialized and specific studies at the academic level. A reading list – identifying the authors, fields, and major works, approved by a faculty comprehensive examination committee- is maintained by the chair of the Department office and is available to students. The chair of the comprehensive examination committee will solicit questions from faculty teaching in the program. The committee prepares an examination and evaluates responses. The competency expected on the comprehensive exam is the general background in all fields of linguistics that a professional in the field would be expected to have. The Master degree in applied linguistics is primarily a reading degree, requiring a broad background as well as expertise in certain specific areas. The program fosters these areas of expertise, but students are responsible for strengthening their general background knowledge. Possible results of the examination include:
1. Pass: The Degree is awarded after all requirements (including passing the comprehensive exam) have been met and approved by the Department Committee of Graduate Studies.
2. Conditional Pass: If the student does not successfully pass the comprehensive exam in no less than three out of the four areas that comprise the said exam, he will be given a conditional pass. This means that the student will have to sit for a make-up exam in the area he had failed to pass.
3. Fail: The Degree is not awarded if the student does not successfully pass at least two out of the four areas that comprise the comprehensive exam.