Program Benchmarks

Advance to Candidacy

All students will file an application to Advance to Candidacy once they have (1) Completed 21 units of study (2) Their Faculty Advisor has approved drafts of the student's Professional Development Plan and Practicum Proposal. The Graduate Program Coordinator will provide instructions to the student to complete the form, typically in early April. For students completing the 12-month accelerated track, this will happen in the spring quarter. For students completing the 2-year track, this will happen after their first year. 

Student Progress Assessments (SPA): 

Student Progress Assessments (SPA) is an online tool that facilitates faculty and graduate programs documenting an evaluation of a graduate student's progress in their degree program. This annual report is completed for each graduate student between April 1st and June 30th. The student will be prompted when the Student Progress Assessment becomes available. 

Comprehensive Exam

See below.


Successful completion and evaluation of all coursework and elements of the Comprehensive Exam will result in the recommendation for graduation. There are two required forms that the Graduate Program Coordinator will provide instructions to the student to complete. After the Advance to Candidacy form has been approved by Graduate Studies, the Program Coordinator will complete the Masters Report Plan II on behalf of the student. The student is responsible to complete the Graduate Program Exit Information form on their own and return it to the Program Coordinator for submission. 

Comprehensive Exam

The comprehensive exam entails fulfilling all program requirements, which include meeting the minimum GPA in required courses and satisfactory completion of four written reports:

  • Professional Development Plan
  • Practicum Proposal
  • Practicum Report
  • Policy Clinic Project Report

Templates, examples and submission instructions of these documents can be found here.

Approval of these four reports by the Comprehensive Examination Committee constitutes passing of the exam.

If any component of these materials is less than satisfactory, the student will be asked to also have an oral exam that can include a basic understanding of the principles of the material, or an evaluation of the student's written products. The committee will determine if the student has learned the necessary tools with which they can succeed in their professional development plan. 

Students who do not pass the exam can be:

  • Asked to engage in individual study to fulfill deficiencies in knowledge
  • Retake classes

Students would be required to retake the exam. Failure will also trigger an explanation from the program course instructors regarding student performance. A second failure results in a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies that the student be disqualified from the program.