The Catholic University of America

  Comprehensive Exams

The University requires that students in the Ph.D. and D.N.P. programs take comprehensive exams during the last semester of coursework. Students register for comprehensive exams during the CUA identified registration period. The table below indicates the course numbers to be used:

Doctoral Level COMP 998A
(Doctoral Comps with classes)

(Doctoral Comps without [any registered] classes)

Pre-examination Procedures

  • The student obtains the academic advisor's authorization to register for comprehensive exams. 
  • The student who requests an accommodation due to a learning disability must follow the CUA procedures for documentation as articulated by Disability Support Services (see

Post-Exam Procedures

  • There are no extensions for the exam due date.
  • Each exam will be graded by two faculty.  They will have approximately 10 days to grade the exams. Possible grades are Pass or Fail.  On occasion, based on the judgment of the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Programs, a third reader may be assigned..
  • Students will be notified via CUA email or letter of their comprehensive examination results approximately three weeks or 15 working days after the examination. 
  • If a student fails one or more comprehensive exam questions, the students must submit a written request to the Assistant Dean, Doctoral Programs to retake the examinations along with an analysis of the factors contributing to the failure and a remediation plan. This request should be submitted prior to the registration period for the semester when the student hopes to retake the exam. As per CUA policy, the SON reserves the right to make the decision whether a student make retake the exam or not. Students may not retake an exam more than once.
  • Students are only permitted two opportunities to complete the comprehensive exam per University Policy.