Comprehensive Examination

Doctoral Candidates write their comprehensive examinations normally during their third term of study, and after completing coursework. Intended to help Doctoral Candidates prepare for the thesis research, the Comprehensive Examination presents an opportunity for Candidates to demonstrate general knowledge of their field and specific knowledge of their own research area. The Comprehensive Examination determines whether a Candidate should be permitted to continue through the final stages of the doctoral program.

Doctoral candidates are expected to have expertise in one of the areas of study within one of the following areas of study:

  • Biomechanics/Ergonomics
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Health Promotion
  • Physical Activity Epidemiology
  • Psychology of Sport
  • Socio-Cultural Studies of Sport, Health and the Body

They need to develop a breadth of knowledge that will allow them to excel as teachers and researchers in their chosen fields. In addition to a basic understanding of the fundamentals of their chosen sub-discipline, Candidates also need to have a sound knowledge of concepts related to their areas of research specialization. They should be able to speak wisely and authoritatively on recent developments in these areas. The Comprehensive Examination aims to provide a balanced evaluation of the Candidate’s strengths and weaknesses with regard to these expectations.

The PhD Comprehensive Examination has both written and oral components.  There are two different formats for students to follow depending upon their area of study. 

PhD Candidate and Supervisor print one copy of the appropriate form and enter the required information at the top:

SKHS PhD (Socio-Cultural) Comprehensive Examination Timeline Form and Instructions (Socio-Cultural only)

SKHS PhD (Science) Comprehensive Examination Timeline Form and Instructions  (all others except Socio-Cultural)

At this point the Candidate and Supervisor should identify the remaining 2 Examiners; invite a Chair to serve in that capacity OR request that the SKHS Graduate Assistant identify a Chair for them from the SKHS Faculty Services List; convene a meeting in person, via email or telephone; and during that meeting identify the dates of the examination, prepare questions, etc. as outlined in the Instructions.

Chair, before the oral examination, to print one copy of each of the:

PhD Comprehensive Examination Report of Examining Committee 

PhD Comprehensive Examination Decision Sheet

enter the identification information at the top and bring both forms to the oral examination for completion by the Committee

All PhD Comprehensive Examination Forms are submitted to the SKHS Graduate Assistant, along with the original versions of all questions and answers, following the oral examination.  Documents are forwarded to SGS for preparation of the acknowledgement of completion of the oral comprehensive examination requirement where the student has passed all three questions successfully.  The School of Graduate Studies will provide a letter certifying comprehensive examination completion.  A copy is also filed in the student’s SKHS graduate student file.  Where remedial work is required, that work will be completed accordingly and those final results forwarded to the School of Graduate Studies upon that completion.