General Exam

Approved 10/30/09

  1. The management comprehensive (general) exam will be administered one month following the conclusion of the student’s second year in the PhD program (approximately the last week of June). According to Graduate School policy, coursework must be substantially completed in order for a student to take the exam, but it need not be entirely completed.
  2. Candidates are encouraged to meet with seminar instructors and faculty at any time to receive guidance on how to prepare for the exam.
  3. The exam will consist of four questions, based on each of the substantive areas covered in the required UCONN Management doctoral seminars (currently; Organizational Behavior, Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Methods). Three (3) of the questions will test the student’s breadth of knowledge in a given area while the fourth will test the student’s depth and breadth of knowledge in his or her chosen area of concentration. In doing so, the depth question should also move the student towards the next phase of their PhD course of study – The Dissertation.
    • Breadth questions are designed to ensure that the student is aware of the key theories in an area of study, what is happening in this field of research, how to pose different questions in this field, and provide feedback and critique to work in this field (methods will always be considered a breadth question).
    • The depth question will be administered in the student’s chosen concentration area (i.e., strategy, entrepreneurship, organizational behavior). There the student must demonstrate not only a strong grasp of the foundational knowledge in the area (breadth), but also the ability to integrate theories and research streams and develop questions that add to the literature (depth).
  4. Questions are based in part upon seminar content, but are designed to be more general in scope and as such seek to test the student’s comprehensive knowledge in each of the respective areas.
  5. Prior to the exam (beginning of the spring semester of their second year) each student will declare his or her major area of concentration (i.e., strategy, entrepreneurship, organizational behavior).
  6. Exam questions will be developed by the faculty who are teaching the PhD seminars in conjunction with faculty who work in each area (i.e., strategy, entrepreneurship, organizational behavior). When multiple courses are offered on a topic, instructors will work together with other faculty members to develop an exam that reflects the content of the combined courses and the field of research as a whole.
  7. Each question will be graded by two members of the Management doctoral graduate faculty. Graders do not have to be faculty who currently teach the PhD seminars but do have to be faculty involved in the writing of the questions (point #6 above). In cases when there are multiple courses, one or both instructors can grade. When this is not the case, or if a seminar instructor is not available, another member of the Management doctoral faculty will be selected by the seminar instructor and PhD coordinator to serve in the role of grader.
  8. Grades for each question will be assigned using the following range, A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, or F. If need be, numerical point values can be assigned to each of these grades in accordance with the Graduate Catalog (e.g., A+ = 4.3, A = 4.0, A- = 3.7 ….. D- = 0.7, F =0).
  9. To pass the exam completely, a candidate must have no grade on any breadth question lower than a C+, no grade lower than a B on the depth question, and an overall average of a B or better.
  10. Students must earn a least C+ on each breadth question and a B on the depth question to pass the question. If a student earns less than these minimums on three or more questions, he or she will fail the exam. If a student earns less than the minimum on any one question, he or she will be given the option of a retake on that question only.
  11. For retakes, the candidate will have the option of taking the question within two months of receipt of feedback on the original exam. The retaken question can be in the form of either a “new” written question or an oral exam of the “same” question. An oral retake will be graded by the faculty graders and the PhD coordinator. It is up to the discretion of the student whether they choose a written or oral retake.
  12. Following the grading procedure described above, the retaken question grade will be substituted for the original grade and a new overall exam grade will be computed. Using the standard for passing the exam set out above, if the student still does not meet this criterion, NO additional opportunities for taking the exam will be offered and a recommendation will be made to dismiss the candidate from the doctoral program.
  13. The Management Ph.D. Coordinator will be responsible for administering the entire exam and providing grades to candidates. Feedback from faculty graders will be provided within three weeks of student taking the exam.