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Comprehensive Exam and Thesis Option

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive exam allows students to demonstrate that they have the necessary foundation upon which to build a planning career.  The exam consists of the student responding to a scenario or case study where a student is asked to synthesize knowledge gained in one's coursework and apply it within a particular context. To take the exam, a student must meet the following requirements:

a)  Core Curriculum - The student has completed all courses in the core curriculum. If a student who began their studies in the spring semester and is in their fourth semester of studies, the student must have completed all core courses and be currently enrolled in UBPL 763 and UBPL 850

b)  Specialization Courses – A student must have completed the theory and policy course and the methods course in the chosen specialization. 

Students will receive the exam at 8:00 a.m. on a Friday and have until 5:00 p.m. the following Monday to complete the exam. The exam shall be submitted electronically. Students are subject to code of conduct outlined in the Student Handbook. 


In lieu of the comprehensive examination, the thesis experience provides an opportunity for the student to apply individual research skills in the context of his/her area of interest.  Thus the thesis is a continuation of the student's course of study rather than a separate academic effort.  The format, medium, and focus of the thesis vary with the problem addressed.  Six hours of academic credit is given for the thesis.  A student must have a minimum GPA of 3.50.  A student desiring to prepare a thesis must develop, with the assistance of a faculty advisor, a thesis proposal to be submitted to the Faculty Thesis Committee no later than the first day of classes of the semester prior to the semester in which the student plans to graduate.  The Committee must approve the proposal for the student to pursue the thesis option.  For Spring (May) graduates, the proposal must be submitted by the start of classes of the preceding fall semester, and the Committee will decide by September 15.  For Fall (December) graduates, the proposal must be submitted by the start of classes of the preceding spring semester, and the Committee will decide by February 5

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, retaliation, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies and is the University’s Title IX Coordinator: the Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.