Upon completion of the required course work, a student (unless submitting a thesis) is required to take a comprehensive examination consisting of two stages, the first written; the second oral. Exceptionally strong performance in the written stage may be cause for the examining committee to waive the need for the oral exam. Such a decision is normally rendered to the student at the meeting time of the oral examination. The examination covers the candidate's fields of emphasis. The examining committee is normally composed of three of the student's course instructors, plus a Chair designated by the JDC. However, each examining committee shall include at least one full-time instructor for each of the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg.
Comprehensive oral examinations are normally conducted in April, May and August (and as needed, in December or January). The student is expected to demonstrate a sound knowledge of their fields of emphasis. The examination may continue until the examining committee is satisfied that it can render a judgment on the student’s performance, although the usual duration is approximately 60-90 minutes.
Candidates must inform the Chair of the JDC by March 1 whether they intend to take the comprehensive examination in the Spring or in September. Permission to take the comprehensive examination at a time other than the customary examination periods is entirely at the discretion of the JDC.
The report of the examining committee sent to the Office of the Faculty of Graduate Studies shall be in terms of "approved" or "not approved" or "approved with distinction" and should be unanimous.
Students who fail the comprehensive oral examination must take the examination again within one calendar year. Students who fail the comprehensive oral examination on more than one occasion are required to withdraw from the program.