Comprehensive Exam in Computer Science

  1. All majors are required to take the Comprehensive Examination in their senior year (but see 3 below)
  2. The examination will consist of material from three courses: Computer Science 161 (or 171), 201 and 301 (or 211 and 311). The examination will be a 1 hour and fifteen-minute oral examination. It is closed book.  At the beginning of the exam, the student will be given two questions, one drawn from 161/171 and one from 201/301/211/311.  During the first 15 minutes, the student will have an opportunity to prepare the questions; the remaining 60 minutes will be dedicated to presentation and discussion of the solutions to the questions. Two professors will listen and ask questions. Study material is available via the menu at the left.
  3. Students who have earned a grade of A- or above in the three required courses are considered to have passed the comprehensive exam.  Students who register for the second semester of thesis are considered to have passed the comps.
  4. The department will contact seniors about the scheduling of the examination.  Exams may begin early in the fall semester.  Students who have completed the required courses before their senior year may be expected to be ready for the exam at any time during the year. 
  5. If a student does not pass the oral examination, the student will be asked to prepare material to be discussed with an examiner later in the semester.  Often, the student will be asked to present solutions to one or both of the questions they presented, but the examiners may choose other material.  The choice is informed by the desire to help the student learn the material they have missed. 

September 2005; revised to incorporate new study materials, November 2010, revised August 2017