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Economics Comprehensive Exam

Comprehensive Exam

In order to confer your Masters Economics degree, you must pass both parts of the comprehensive exam. There are two parts of the comprehensive exam: Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. Again, you cannot receive the Masters Economics degree without successfully completing both parts of the exam.

Rules on the Economic Theory Comprehensive Exams                    

  • The Economic Theory Comprehensive Exams (Micro and Macro) will be offered at the end of each semester during the final exam week.  They are based on the topics covered in ECO 505 and ECO 507.
  • It does not require passing ECO 505 and ECO 507 to be eligible to take the Comp Exams.
  • A student has the option of taking or not taking the Comp Exam(s) in his/her first semester in the program.  After the first semester, a student must continuously take the exam(s) whenever offered until passing.
  • A student will be dismissed from the program if failing to pass both Comp Exams by the end of their fourth semester.
  • For fulfilling the degree requirements, a student must pass both Comp Exams and also ECO 505 and ECO 507.
  • Passing the Comp Exams does not exempt a student from having to pass ECO 505 and ECO 507 courses.

When Is The Next Exam?

Both exams are always during Exam week, during finals. Current Masters students will receive an email approximately 1 month before finals with the date and times of the exam

  • The Microeconomics Exam will be on — from __ to __
  • The Macroeconomics Exam will be — from __ to __

Who creates the Comp Exam?

There is a faculty committee who creates the comprehensive exam.

The committee structures the exam with the understanding that various sections of Macroeconomics and Microeconomics were taught.

Common material between these sections is used to construct the exam.

What material will be covered on the exam?

The Micro Comp Exam is based on the materials covered in ECO 505 (Microeconomic Theory).

The Macro Comp exam is based on the materials covered in ECO 507 (Macroeconomic Theory).

If you have specific questions about the exam, then you should contact a faculty member on the Masters Economics Comprehensive Exam committee.

Is there a sample exam available to study?

Sample comprehensive exams aren’t distributed because in the past, students were only studying the subject material for those specific questions.

As a result, they were not passing the exam. Instead, we encourage all students to review the materials in ECO 505 & ECO 507.

If you have any questions regarding the exam, you are encouraged to contact a faculty member on the Masters Comprehensive Exam committee.

 Do I need to bring anything for the exam?

YES. You must bring your University at Buffalo Identification Card. Without this card, you will be unable to sit for the exam.

 What else am I allowed to bring to the exam?

Pens/Pencils
Please bring your own writing utensils (pens/pencils). They will not be provided. Test booklets and additional blank paper will be provided. The proctors will provide test books and paper for you.

Jackets/Schoolbags are NOT ALLOWED near your chairs!!!! 
In an effort to promote academic integrity, all exam takers will be asked to place all jackets and schoolbags in the front of the room before the exam starts. Please don’t bring these items to the exam with you if you’re not comfortable as you will be asked to leave them in front of the room and will not be able to access them until the exam is over.

Calculators are NOT ALLOWED!!!! 
In an effort to promote academic integrity, calculators are no longer allowed for the Masters Comprehensive Exam. The Exam has been structured so a calculator is unnecessary for the exam.

Dictionaries are NOT ALLOWED!!!! 
In an effort to promote academic integrity, dictionaries of any kind are no longer allowed for the Masters Comprehensive Exam. Student should not need the use of a dictionary to complete the exam.

Electronic Devices 
There are absolutely no PDAs, cell phones, laptops, or other communication devices allowed during the exams.

If you have a special learning need (i.e. disability) and require special arrangements or additional time for the exam, you should contact the Assistant Director.

 What can’t I bring to the exam?

There are absolutely no personal devices [PDAs], cell phones, laptops, or other communication devices allowed during the exam.

There are no calculators or dictionaries allowed during the exam.

How do I sign up for the Exam?

This is usually communicated via e-mail sent approximately 1 month before finals.

You should sign up well in advance.

Where do I take the exam?

The Assistant Director of the Masters program will email students the information on exam location well in advance.

This is usually communicated via e-mail. All exams are taken on UB campus.

 Can I take the exam somewhere else?

  1. NO. You can not take comprehensive exam off-campus. There is no exception to this rule.

For more information, please contact the Assistant Director of the Masters Program.

 What if I can’t make the exam date?

Unfortunately, there are no alternatives to taking the exam on another date.

There is no way the exam can be administered unless all students take it at the same place and time.

For more information, please email the Assistant Director of the Masters Program.

How will I know if I pass the exam?

Exam results usually take 2 weeks.

The Assistant Director of the Masters Program will e-mail a spreadsheet to the Listserv with PASS/FAIL grades.

Students will be able to identify themselves by the last 4 digits of their person numbers.

 What if I disagree with the grading?

Review Procedure for Masters Students Who Failed the Comp Exam

  1. Exams are graded double-blindly.
  2. Third time fails are identified by the MA Program Office, and are reviewed again by the MA comp exam committee, double-blindly.
  3. Students are then informed of the outcome. The MA Comp Committee will hold a session to review the exam questions within ten days of the announcement of the results, at a time no MA classes are scheduled. Only students who failed the exam will be informed of the time and place of the review session.
  4. Students shall be given an opportunity to discuss their exam with the MA Comp Exam Committee immediately following the review session, or at a later time agreed between a student and a committee member.
  5. From this point on, any questions from the students must be submitted in writing and channeled through the MA program office.
  6. The Comp Exam committee will review the student submission and render a final decision. Once the Comp Exam Committee makes a final decision, students are not permitted to make additional requests for further consideration.

What if I completed all of my courses and haven’t passed the comp exam?

If a student fails a comprehensive exam, he or she must continue taking it whenever offered.

Maintaining Full Time Status

Per Graduate School Policies and Procedures, if a student has fulfilled all the course requirements and is not taking any more courses, the student will have to register for at least one Graduate Economics credit (usually ECO 598) in order to maintain continuing student status. In order for a student to graduate, they must maintain continuous registration status as outlined by the Graduate School. This states that a student must be registered for at least one credit for the semester in which they are graduating. For example:

  • In order for a student to graduate in June, they must be registered for at least one credit in the preceding Spring semester.
  • In order for a student to graduate in September, a student must be registered for at least one credit in either the preceding Spring or Summer semester, not both.
  • In order for a student to graduate in February, they must be registered for at least one credit in the preceding Fall semester.

For more information, please contact the Assistant Director of the Masters Programs.