Department Comprehensive Examination
Department Comprehensive Examination
Each candidate for the Master of Arts degree in Popular Culture must successfully complete a six-hour comprehensive examination that examines materials covered in the core curriculum (POPC 675, three graduate seminars in popular culture, the graduate course in folklore: POPC 660, and a departmentally-offered course in international popular culture), and the books and articles listed on the departmental M.A. core reading list. Graduate course descriptions for courses offered in the Department of Popular Culture are accessed online using the prefix "POPC" at http://webapps.bgsu.edu/courses/search.php.
The comprehensive examination is administered once in the Spring Semester on the first Saturday of April, except when that date conflicts with a major religious holiday such as Passover or Easter. In that case, it is administered on the second Saturday of April. The comprehensive exam in the Fall Semester will be administered on the first Saturday of November. Exact dates will be announced at least six weeks in advance. Each candidate should consult with the Graduate Coordinator about the best time for her/him to take the examination. Candidates normally take the examination during their second year in the program during Fall Semester. Each candidate planning to take the examination during a specific examination period must make this known to the department secretary at least two full weeks before the examination.
The comprehensive examination is demanding. Each candidate is expected to demonstrate a mastery of the materials. The examination is intended to ensure that students who complete the Master of Arts degree program in Popular Culture have an in-depth understanding of the field of Popular Culture (including multicultural perspectives), and are able to clearly articulate and communicate that understanding. Candidates should plan on spending a significant period of time prior to the examination preparing for it. NOTE: Copies of past examinations are available from the department secretary and may be reviewed in the department office/reception area. Examinations may be reviewed by first making a request to Ms. Bernice Aguilar ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) at least 48 hours in advance of intended use. Students are encouraged to take notes of old comprehensive exams.
Examination Content & Structure
The examination is divided into three sections:
(a) Theories of Popular Culture and Methods for Studying It
(b) The Mass Media and the Popular Arts
(c) Folk Culture.
It is expected that sophistication about multicultural issues and popular culture will be demonstrated throughout all three parts of the examination. The test is six (6) hours in length plus an hour break for lunch. It is divided as follows:
(a) 9:30-11:30 Theories and Methods
(b) 11:30-12:30 Lunch Break
(c) 12:30-2:30 Mass Media and Popular Arts
(d) 2:30-4:30 Folk Culture.
On Exam Day
During each two-hour session, it is expected that each candidate will carefully think about and outline a well-organized answer before actually writing. About one full hour of writing on each answer is all that is expected. In taking the examination, candidates should keep in mind that their answers are expected to utilize and make clear references to materials from the core courses and from the reading list. The evaluators (a committee of Popular Culture Graduate Faculty) expect the candidates to directly apply what they have learned in the core courses and the readings to questions that demand individual interpretation and synthesizing of these materials.
Student Performance on Comprehensive Exam
Satisfactorily passing the comprehensive examination is a requirement for the M.A. degree in Popular Culture. Candidates who do not pass the examination the first time may take it one additional time during the scheduled examination period at any time within six (6) years from the first semester they were registered in the M.A. program. Candidates may take the examination for the first time during any scheduled examination time while at BGSU or for the next six (6) years after their first semester of enrollment.
Candidates must pass all three sections of the examination to successfully pass the overall examination. Candidates who do not pass two or more sections have failed the exam and must take the entire examination again. A candidate who passes two of the sections need only re-take the one section of the examination s/he did not pass, provided the candidate has attempted to answer all three sections of the examination. Within a minimum of ten (10) days advance notice, the candidate should inform the graduate coordinator when s/he wishes to re-take the section. The section must be re-taken prior to the next regularly scheduled examination. If the retake of the section is successful, it will be recorded that the entire examination was passed the first time. If the candidate once again does not successfully pass the section of the exam, the entire first examination will be recorded as a "Fail" and the candidate will have one additional opportunity to take and pass the entire examination at a regularly scheduled examination time. Candidates taking the entire examination for the second time will have one additional opportunity to pass a failed question if they pass the other two questions.
Prior to the scheduled examination date, each candidate will be assigned or self-select a secret identification number to be used instead of the candidate's name. This procedure is meant to ensure objectivity when the examinations are evaluated.
Results of the examination will be ready within four to six weeks after the examination day and will be placed in department mailboxes unless candidates provide self-addressed envelopes (with another mailing address) to the department secretary.