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General Information

Students taking the comprehensive examination will usually have 2-3 units of PSY 598 Graduate Directed Study on their programs which provides an opportunity for guidance of work done in preparation for the examination.  The student should complete their PSY 598 units under faculty supervision during the quarter prior to enrolling in the comprehensive exams. Typically, students will work independently with their advisor who will guide their study, recommend reading materials and give feedback on their preparation.  For more information students should consult Dr. Brigitte Matthies.

The comprehensive examination in the MFT program consists of two areas:

1. A Multiple Choice Exam covering broad principles of psychology as a scientific discipline.

2. Essays on Clinical Vignettes covering issues of diagnostics, therapy, ethics, judgment and the law.

The examination is given on two successive days, during Spring and Fall quarters only, in sessions lasting three hours each day.  The first day covers area one; the second day covers area two.

The student is required to write on two clinical vignettes.  Each examination response will be scored on a pass/fail basis, being read independently by at least two professors.  To pass the examination, a student must receive "pass" scores from both professors on two of the four questions.  In the case of a split evaluation on a comps question, a third reader will be asked to evaluate the question.  A student who successfully passes two questions on a particular day but does not pass overall, does not have to repeat the portion passed on a subsequent sitting.  A student who enters the examination room, and then leaves without attempting an answer, will be considered to have "sat" for that examination.  The comprehensive examination must be passed within three sittings.

Students may have no more than one course remaining to complete on their graduate program following the quarter in which they first take the comprehensive examination.  Students must formally apply to take the examination the quarter before it is scheduled.  This is done by filing an application with the graduate secretary of the Psychology Department.  They must also register for PSY 596 (0) during the quarter in which they expect to take the examination.  Those who subsequently wish to withdraw from taking the examination without penalty may do so no later than the scheduled date of the examination by notifying the graduate secretary.

The faculty will from time to time prepare up-to-date lists of suggested readings to assist students in preparing for the examination.  However, students are expected to show an acceptable breadth of mastery in the field, acquired not only from the lists of recommended reading, but also from class work.


□ Check your program to see that you have "Comps" listed and not "Thesis' listed.

□ You have no more than TWO classes left in your program.

□ Your G.P.A. is at 3.0 or higher.

□ You have passed the WPE.

□ You have been advanced to candidacy.

Note: For further information regarding the requirements set forth by the College of Natural and Social Sciences please read the Graduate Handbook.