Fall 2007 Comprehensive Exam Overview and Guidelines
The Masters in Space Studies program is an interdisciplinary program that trains students to think broadly about space related issues. During the program we introduce you to the breadth of Space Studies and the linkages between the different disciplinary areas: history, policy, business and economics, technical/engineering, and science. You then build on the content, approach, and methodologies of the different disciplines in discipline-specific courses. The goal is to develop an interdisciplinary understanding and thought process. Therefore, the purpose of the comprehensive exam is to assess the integrated knowledge that you, the student, have attained during the course of your Masters program in Space Studies and your ability to bring this knowledge to bear in analyzing a major space initiative. As such, the comprehensive exam will not test you on the specific content of any particular course you took, but it requires you to use the principles and methodologies, and your understanding of the interplay between different, often competing, forces (e.g., foreign policy vs. science) that you learned about throughout your program of study. The expectation is that our graduating students should be able to provide a broad-based, integrated, and analytical response on any major space-related issue.
The comprehensive exam for Fall 2007 will consist of a single essay exam question. You will have two (2) hours in which to complete it. The fall semester comprehensive exam is scheduled for Saturday, October 20th, and will become available at 12:00 A.M. CST.
The faculty will jointly choose one (1) of these four major space initiatives or issues as the subject of the comprehensive exam question:
1. Challenger & Columbia Accidents: Complex Program Risk Mitigation Strategies
2. International Space Cooperation
3. Presidential influences on U.S. space policy (could include any former U.S. President and his tenure in office)
4. Space Weaponization
Your answer must be an integrated analysis of the subject initiative, which includes at least three (3) of the Space Studies disciplines given below. More than 3 disciplines are very welcomed.
You must choose at least one discipline from Science or Engineering and another discipline from Policy, History, or Business. The third discipline is your choice from either group. Keep in mind that you need to explain the interrelationships among the disciplines that you select.
It is strongly suggested that you consult with your academic advisor for exam preparation. In the past, some students have formed study groups and utilized chat sessions. The results of past exams have shown that preparation is the key to success. The average success rate for the seven most recent exams has been 75%. The success rate is higher among students who have prepared for the exam. The success rate is much lower for students who have not prepared for the exam. Please see the Space Studies Graduate Student Handbook for advice on how to prepare for the comprehensive exam, or visit with your advisor concerning ways to effectively prepare for the exam.
At the graduate level, we expect our students to distill information from a variety of sources (which you should already have done during your program here and study preparation for the exam), and then synthesize and analyze the issues to provide a cogent, well-organized, well-written answer that covers all aspects of the question. You are given two hours to complete the exam. Successful students can be characterized as having studied and prepared for the question in advance and thus are able to isolate the important from the peripheral. Most of the two hours should be used to organize and write your answer. Any resources or references used must be cited fully.
Plagiarism (copy/paste techniques from web-sites without reference, etc.) will not be tolerated and we strongly recommend that you visit and understand the material contained in the following web sites:
Â· To see how this is dealt with at UND, please visit http://www.und.edu/dept/csl/section-3.htm#3
We expect you all to be aware of these issues and the consequences. This is important, because in the past, a number of students have been failed on the exam due to plagiarism violations. If you are at all unsure of the expectations, please make sure you contact your advisor well in advance of taking the exam.
The grading will be done by the faculty on a pass/fail basis. Dr. Mike Gaffey is the exam facilitator for this semester. Any questions regarding the exam process can be directed to your advisor or to Dr. Gaffey (email@example.com). If the student fails their comp exam, they will be allowed to retake the exam at the next scheduled offering the following semester. No more than three failures will be allowed. A student gets three tries. That means he or she can fail twice, but must pass on the third try. If a student fails three times, they are no longer eligible to complete the degree. If the student desires an additional try, they must petition the department outlining a clear plan for succeeding on the fourth try. Students will receive written notification of the examination results in approximately 3 weeks after taking the examination.
The comprehensive exam will have a "classroom" of its own in the HTMLeZ system. To access this classroom:
1. Login at space.edu (http://www.space.edu/aerospace/smartspace.php)
2. The next screen you will see is your Control Center.
3. Select "Browse" from the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
4. Choose the "Comprehensive Exam" link from the directory.
5. As with other courses, you will need to request access. Select the "Request Access" link from the navigation bar. Access will be granted within a day or two. Request access only if you plan to take the comprehensive exam this semester.
Once inside the classroom, you will notice an instructions page. Please review this in its entirety. You will see the general overview information taken from the Space Studies Graduate Student Handbook. You will also see the exam guidelines, including the possible topics for this semester's exam.
Pay close attention to the "How to use the Exam Tools" section. This describes how to take the actual exam.
After you review the instructions, you should take the practice exam from the link provided in the left column. The practice exam features operate exactly in the same way as those of the actual exam. The practice exam is provided to give you an opportunity to try the new feature before the exam date. This will alleviate problems on exam day. Please complete the practice exam by October 5th.
You will also notice that there is a chat room link in this exam room. Students may coordinate chat sessions as a study tool for exam preparation. There will be scheduled chats with faculty members, but students are also encouraged to schedule chat sessions between themselves.
I have created a comp exam email listserv that may be used to contact all students that are planning to take the exam this semester and have requested access to the classroom. The listserv is firstname.lastname@example.org. You may use this to contact one another for study purposes, or to schedule chat sessions. As students request access to the classroom, their names will be added to this listserv.
You may also use the eZ message center to schedule a chat session. Following is a link to instructions for using the Message Center. Please be aware that the Message Center is internal to eZ - you must login at space.edu to view Message Center messages. These messages are not delivered to your regular email account.
Using the Message Center: Sending Messages With or Without Attached Files