The Catholic University of America


Comprehensive Exam Dates

  • Spring 2017: March 17-20
  • Summer 2017: July 7-10
  • Fall 2017: October 20-23 

Registering for Comprehensive Exam

Effective with the Spring 2017 registration, before enrolling in comps each student must meet with his or her advisor and submit the 2017 Advisee Cechklist for Comps form for departmental consent to be granted. (If you do not know who your advisor is, please contact Ms. Louise Gray.) Once the department receives the signed form, you may enroll in LSC 698A if taking classes during the same semester you are taking comps or in LSC 698B if taking comps only.

Overview and Accommodations

A candidate for the M.S.L.I.S. degree must pass a comprehensive examination that tests a common knowledge base in the field of Library and Information Science. The purpose of the examination is to verify that the candidate is able to perform at a professional level at the time of his/her first appointment.

Students are expected to demonstrate knowledge of the philosophy, history, current issues, social roles, and major problems of the profession in general, including such areas as applications of technology, organization of resources, provision of service, and management of libraries and other information agencies. They will be asked to demonstrate knowledge of the theories and principles on which current practices in the information professions are based. In addition, they will be expected to demonstrate their awareness of the research literature in library and information science and related fields. They are expected to demonstrate their ability to evaluate research findings by supporting their answers with references to the professional literature and to class content.

In addition to the University's policy on comprehensive examinations, Library and Information Science faculty require that eligible students have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in classes taken in Library & Information Science, with no outstanding incomplete grades. Students must also be completing classes that bring them up to 36 credits (or 30 with an advanced degree) the semester of the examination. Students will not be allowed to register for more than 12 credits the semester they are taking the comprehensive examination (see course load policy).

Catholic University and the Department of Library and Information Science strive to meet the needs of students who require accommodations in order to take the comprehensive exam. Requests for accommodations are made through the Office of Disability Support Services. You must submit your request and supporting documentation to the university's Office of Disability Support Services (Pryzbyla Center, Suite 201; 202-319-5211).

Comprehensive examination briefing materials are distributed on the LIBSCI-L list each semester.

Questions from previous semesters are available to study and aid in your preparation for the comprehensive exam.