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Doctoral Comprehensive Exams

The intent of the comprehensive written and oral examination is to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of the student’s knowledge in the field of counseling, counselor education, and supervision than can be completed in an individual course.  The comprehensive written and oral examination is to be taken at the completion of the student’s course work (CHDS 88292 Internship In CHDS may be incomplete at the time of the comprehensive examination); that is, the course work listed as part of the Prospectus & Residency Plan must be completed before the student is eligible to take the comprehensive written and oral examination.  Application and clearance for the comprehensive written and oral examination occurs through the Graduate Student Services Office (418 White Hall).

The Comprehensive Exam Application Packet is to be completed and submitted to the Graduate Student Services Office in order to initiate the application process and is available in the Graduate Student Services Office (418 White Hall).  At the time the student applies for the comprehensive examination, she or he will also form the comprehensive examination committee.  For the “written portion” of the examination this committee includes two CHDS advisors (identified in the Comprehensive Exam Application Packet) and for the “oral portion” of the examination this committee includes two CHDS advisors plus one “outside” faculty member (from “outside” the CHDS Program) (also identified in the Comprehensive Exam Application Packet).  Upon successful completion of the “written portion” and “oral portion” of the comprehensive examination, the student may register for (or be registered for) CHDS 80199 Dissertation I.

In the CHDS Ph.D. program, students complete a three-day “written portion” of the comprehensive examination (students must use a computer to complete this portion of the examination) in a proctored setting.  Students will have a maximum of four hours (total) each day writing their responses.  The two CHDS faculty advisors help prepare the student for the five areas to be covered on the “written portion” of the examination.  The CHDS faculty advisors write and grade the “written portion” of the examination.  Both CHDS faculty advisors must indicate a satisfactory performance on the “written portion” of the examination before the student can schedule the “oral portion” of the examination.  For the “oral portion” the two CHDS faculty advisors assist the student with identifying one “outside” faculty member (from “outside” the CHDS Program) to serve on the “oral portion” of the comprehensive examination.  For the student to successfully complete the oral examination there must be no more than one negative vote.

Each semester the rooms used for the comprehensive examination may change; as a result, once notified of being cleared to sit for the comprehensive examination the student needs to contact the CHDS Program Office (310 White Hall, 330-672-2662) to be informed of the exact location of the “written portion” of the examination.  The comprehensive examination will be offered two times during the academic year: early in January and late in August.  Exact dates will be posted in the Counseling and Human Development Services Office, 310 White Hall, at the beginning of the academic year (September of each year).

Once the “written portion” of the examination has been completed, the two advisors from the CHDS Ph.D. program may determine that the student has successfully passed the written examination and is ready for the oral examination, or they may determine that there is a deficiency and that a re-writing is necessary.  A deficiency is thought to exist when one or more of the five answers are graded as unsatisfactory. 

CHDS DOCTORAL COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION STUDY GUIDE

There are five areas of the CHDS Doctoral Comprehensive Examinations:

  • Counseling (Day 1; 2 hours)
  • Teaching (Day 1; 2 hours)
  • Supervision (Day 2; 2 hours)
  • Foundations of Professional Identity (Day 2; 2 hours)
  • Research and Scholarship (Day 3; 4 hours)

Below are some general guidelines to help prepare for the written portion of the examination:

  • These are comprehensive examinations – students need to demonstrate a culmination of their learning in the CHDS doctoral program.
  • Grading will be based on content (e.g., accuracy and thoroughness of information) AND form (e.g., written clearly, good grammar and spelling, etc.).
  • Students must adhere to APA style (6th Edition).
  • Students are expected to appropriately cite at least six different scholarly sources in each area. Students will need to memorize all citations for this examination. However, full references will not need to be memorize, only name and date of citations are needed, e.g., “Baker (2008)”.
  • In each area, make sure to answer ALL questions or sub-questions. Typically, written comprehensive exam areas fail when they are not fully answered. It is recommended that students identify each of the sub-sections of the examination with a sub-heading.
  • Make sure responses are thorough and are “deep”. Shallow or surface level responses are not appropriate.
  • Begin preparing at least six months before the examination. Dedicate considerable time (e.g., 10-20 hours each week) for studying. This is NOT a time for cramming.

When studying, please refer to the 2009 CACREP doctoral standards. The examinations in CHDS have been developed around the 2009 CACREP doctoral standards. In addition, the following questions have been developed to help student’s study for five sections of the written comprehensive examinations.

Section I: Counseling (Day 1; 2 Hours to Complete)

Compare and contrast three major counseling theories. Ensure that the three theories you choose are distinct from each other. Please include the following in your response:

  • brief scholarly description of each theory (e.g., descriptions of health and psychopathology, role of the counselor, etc.)
  • a description of techniques related to each theory
  • strengths and weaknesses of each theory
  • applicability to multicultural populations of each theory
  • specific ways you might evaluate the effectiveness of each theory
  • utilization of each theory in crisis situations
  • outcomes or effectiveness of each theory

Section II: Teaching (Day 1; 2 Hours to Complete)

Respond to the following regarding teaching in a graduate level counseling program:

  • Briefly describe your philosophy of teaching that is supported by scholarly literature.
  • Identify how you would deliver content in a large class (e.g., 40 students) and how the delivery would be congruent with your philosophy of teaching.
  • Identify how you would deliver content in a seminar class (e.g., 20 students) and how the delivery would be congruent with your philosophy of teaching.
  • Identify assignments for this course and how these assignments would be congruent with your philosophy of teaching.
  • Critique your above responses for pedagogical strengths and weaknesses.
  • Identify the ethical, legal, and multicultural issues associated with being the instructor of record in a course.
  • How would you evaluate whether your teaching was effective?
  • How would you infuse technology in your teaching?

Section III: Supervision (Day 2; 2 Hours to Complete)

Please provide a brief (thorough yet concise) description of the purposes of clinical supervision.

Compare and contrast three models of clinical supervision. Choose one model from each of the following areas:

  • Psychotherapy Theories to Supervision: Psychodynamic Supervision, Person-Centered Supervision, Cognitive-Behavioral Supervision, Systemic Supervision, Narrative Approach, Adlerian, or Solution-Oriented, etc. approaches to Supervision
  • Developmental Approaches to Supervision: Integrated Developmental Model; Ronnestad and Skovholt Model; or Loganbill, Hardy, and Delworth Model
  • Social Role Models of Supervision: Discrimination Model, Hawkins and Shohet Model, or Holloway Systems Model

When comparing and contrasting these three models, please respond to the following:

  • brief scholarly description of each model
  • a description of the roles for the supervisee and supervisor and a description of the supervisee-supervisor relationship
  • applicability of each model to multicultural populations
  • the legal and/or ethical considerations for each model
  • specific ways you might evaluate the effectiveness of each model

Section IV: Foundations of Professional Identity (Day 2; 2 Hours to Complete)

According to CACREP (2009) “it is expected that doctoral students will have experiences designed to help them… develop an area of professional counseling expertise” (p. 53). This question infuses the notion that you have obtained a level of expertise in a particular area in counseling, you have provided a level of leadership in the counseling profession, and you can critique / evaluate the effectiveness of services you deliver. Please address the following:

  • In one sentence, identify a leadership position in the counseling profession that you could see yourself obtain within the next 10 years (e.g., President of the Ohio Counseling Association, President of Ohio Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, Coordinator of a counselor education program, etc.).
  • Present a clear definition of the area in which you have expertise.
  • Briefly describe a program that could be developed within your area of expertise and how you would evaluate that program in order to serve the constituents of your identified leadership role.
  • How would you infuse your area of expertise in your leadership role? When answering this question, please address the following:
  • A theory (or theories) of leadership that would inform your professional leadership role.
  • How would you advocate for the group your leadership role serves?
  • What multicultural considerations need to be accounted for while infusing your area of expertise in your leadership role?
  • Why and how the group you are serving in your leadership role would benefit from your area of expertise in times of crisis.

Section V: Research and Scholarship (Day 3; 4 Hours to Complete)

Note:  Students will have a maximum of four hours to respond to this portion of the examination. Be prepared to fully respond to all of the below areas:

Area 1: Quantitative Research:

  • When is it appropriate to use a quantitative design?
  • Explain when you would use a univariate versus a multivariate analysis.
  • What are the benefits and limitations of quantitative research?
  • Describe at least two issues effecting internal validity of a quantitative study.

Area 2: Qualitative Research:

  • When is it appropriate to use a qualitative design?
  • Explain when you would use a grounded theory versus a phenomenological analysis.
  • What are the benefits and limitations of qualitative research?
  • Describe at least two issues effecting internal validity of a qualitative study.

Area 3: Instrument Design: Describe an instrument (e.g., survey, objective personality inventory, diagnostic screening, symptom checklist, etc.) that might be used in a quantitative research study. Describe issues related to instrument design that should be considered when evaluating the appropriateness of the instrument for a quantitative research study, e.g., theoretical considerations in designing the instrument, use of norming groups, multicultural issues, issues of reliability and validity, etc.

Area 4: Research Development: Organize and plan a qualitative, quantitative, or “Q” research study in the area of counseling or counselor education.  Specifically, describe the following:

  • a brief overview of the literature that suggests support for the research topic and purpose of the study
  • the specific research question(s) addressed by the study
  • a description of the research design, e.g., sample, instruments, procedures, and analysis.
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