University of Idaho - I Banner
A student works at a computer


U of I's web-based retention and advising tool provides an efficient way to guide and support students on their road to graduation. Login to VandalStar.

Comprehensive Exam

The comprehensive exam is required of students choosing the non-thesis option. Students must enroll in PSYC 502 DS: Comp Exam (1 credit) in the semester that they plan to take the exam. Failure to take the exam after it has been scheduled will constitute a failure on the exam.

Performance in PSYC 502 DS: Comp Exam and performance on the exam are linked. That is, passing the exam will result in a passing grade for PSYC 502 DS: Comp Exam. Failing the exam will result in an F for PSYC 502 DS: Comp Exam.

An incomplete for PSYC 502 DS: Comp Exam will only be given in rare cases, such as a family emergency or a protracted health problem. Failure to adequately prepare for the exam is not an adequate reason for the granting of an incomplete.

It is the students’ responsibility to contact the faculty to schedule the exam. There are no formal study materials or reading lists for the comprehensive exam. Students are encouraged to contact the faculty if they have questions about the format of the exam or how to prepare for the exam.

Consistent with university guidelines, students failing the exam may have one opportunity in which to retake the exam. A minimum time of three months is required between the tests. Failing the exam does not automatically grant the student the right to re-take the exam.

Comprehensive Exam Procedures

All non-thesis students will be required to complete a three-part written exam. Students must pass Part I prior to completing Part II. Part III is a written research methods and statistics exam. All exams can be administered by an off-campus test proctor or can be taken at the University of Idaho.

Topics Covered on the Exam

Part I: Basic Knowledge

This exam will contain a mix of multiple choice and short-answer items designed to assess the student's understanding of basic principles in Human Factors. Items found on this exam include but are not limited to the topics of: sensation, perception, cognition training, ergonomics, biomechanics, design principles, human computer interaction, engineering psychology and safety. This will be a closed-book, two-hour exam.

Part II: Application

The second exam focuses on the ability to integrate basic knowledge to address applied problems. This exam will consist of two or three applied situations that must be addressed by the student. This is an open-book, three-hour exam.

Part III: Research Methods and Statistics

This element is composed of two parts: The research methods exam is a closed book test that assesses the understanding and application of research methods to both laboratory and applied research problems. The statistics exam is an open-book test designed to assess basic statistical competencies.


The comprehensive exam will be offered once per semester.

Failing the Exam

In the event a student fails any part of the comprehensive exam, the Department will follow the procedures outlined by the University of Idaho College of Graduate Studies.

Psychology & Communication

Physical Address:
206 Student Health Center

Mailing Address:
Psychology & Communication
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3043
Moscow, ID 83844-3043

Phone: 208-885-6324

Fax: 208-885-7710


Web: Psychology and Communication