For Current Grad Students

Comprehensive Exams for Non-Thesis Students

**The August, 2016, Comprehensive Exam Date is scheduled for Friday, August 12, at 8:00 am in the ESS Conference Room (315 CHS)**

All students on the non-thesis tract, whether they are Sport Psychology, Exercise Physiology, or Human Performance, must take comprehensive exams. Specific information about the exams is as follows:

1. Students are eligible to take the exams following the successful completion of all coursework and are not on academic probation. Students must contact the ESS Graduate Chair in writing (email, postal mail) at least two weeks before the scheduled exam date, and not prior to four weeks, with their intention to take the exams. At this time the student must submit to the Graduate Program Chair a graduation audit worksheet, filled out as much as possible. Please conduct your own degree audit on HomerConnect to check your status. It is your responsibility to make sure that any necessary forms, e.g., grade changes or waiver-subs, are completed.

The graduation worksheet is available in the document section of this web page.   You may also obtain these forms from the ESS Graduate Program Office or the Graduate Program Chair.

Students re-sitting for one or all of the exams must email the graduate program chair ( stating which sections you will be re-taking.  Please state if it is your 2nd or 3rd attempt, and when you last sat for the exam(s).

All students requesting to take the comprehensive exams will receive email from the Graduate Program Chair if there are any problems.  If you require confirmation early please contact the graduate chair (

2. New students take two exams in the following order; (a) Statistics and Research Methods - from 8:00 am until 11:00, and (b) Concentration area (i.e., either sport psych, ex phys, or human performance) - from 11:30 am until 3:30 pm. The concentration area test is four hours long and the stats/research methods test is three hours long.

For students retaking the exam(s) please contact the graduate chair to determine the order of exam administration. Note that the leadership exam is no longer being administered to current students, but students from previous years must still complete this requirement.

3. All tests are administered on the same day and only two times per year. Students take all exams on the same day. The tests are given after Summer Session II during the first part of August, and again in December on the last day of the fall semester final exams.

4.   Research Methods & Stats: Please contact your statistics and/or research methods instructors. Generally (but not always), calculators are not necessary as emphasis is placed on interpreting existing statistics. Students from 2016-17 will take the exam based on Larissa True Plumlee's classes and should contact her for exam information. Prior year students should contact the graduate program chair for study materials.

5.    Test material for the concentration area is on both theory and application required courses. This generally, but not always, means the following:

  • Exercise Physiology courses: Physiological Mechanisms I and II (or Advance Exercise Physiology in place of PhysioMech I), Cardiopulmonary Assessment, and Pathophysiology. Students are encouraged to also bring forth material from Strength & Conditioning and Multidimensional Assessment.
  • Sport Psychology courses: Psychological Perspectives, Psychological Applications, Counseling, Motivation/Team Building. Students are encouraged to use material from other courses as well.
  • Human Performance: Test is based on the core physical sciences courses (Advanced Exercise Physiology, Advanced Biomechanics), core psychological sciences courses (Counseling Student Athletes, Team Building, Motivation), and practical integration of both (Multidimensional/Cardiopulmonary Assessment, Psychophysiology/Exercise & Rehab Psychology). Generally, this test includes separate questions for psychology and physiololgy/biomechanics, and then an integrative question using concepts learning in either Psychophysiology or Exercise & Rehab Psychology. See Dept. Chair for more details.

Specific content area is unique to each professor, so students are encouraged to discuss topic areas and study guides with their professors.

If you had courses waived or substituted please contact the graduate chair for more information.

6. Test material for Leadership is based on that course and applied to your concentration area. See the course instructor for specific material. (This only applies to certain students who matriculated before 2009. If you are unsure if you need to take this exam please contact the Graduate Chair.)

7. There are no set number of questions, but for the concentration area and the Stats/Research Methods area there are typically 4-10 questions. In your answers we look for factual understanding, synthesis of material across domains, and the ability to apply the information in new areas.

8. Exams are graded pass/fail and are typically graded within three weeks. Students who fail one or more of the tests are usually given a second opportunity to take the failed exam(s). Students needing to take an exam again must wait until the next time the comprehensive exams are offered.