• Comprehensive Exam and Thesis Overviews


    Students enrolled in the MA in Public Policy can satisfy the requirements of the program by completing either a comprehensive exam or a thesis. Highlights of both options are presented below. Students should consult faculty to discuss and choose an option based on their skills, professional or academic objectives, and other factors.



    Comprehensive Exam Overview

    The comprehensive exam provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their overall knowledge of the dynamics of the policy process, the core research methodologies and analytical tools of the field, and their expertise of a public policy area of their choice (e.g., education policy, environmental policy, foreign policy).

    Please read the exam overview and policies.

    Exam Highlights

    • Students should contact the Graduate Program Director to request registration for the exam. Students do not have the ability to self-register for the exam.
    • Exams are generally taken during the last semester of study.
    • Preparation includes meeting with faculty who are writing the exam questions. Special preparation sessions or meetings are available.
    • Two parts of the exam are taken on campus during evening hours.
    • One part of the exam is a taken at home. Students are provided with the exam question and instructions for submission.
    • Students present their work to program faculty after exam submission and grading (usually during the University Reading Day or during the final exam period).


    Master's Thesis Overview

    Similar to the comprehensive exam, the thesis is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge of a policy area and research methodology with the design and execution of an original research project.

    To register for the thesis, please see the Master's Thesis Application.

    Thesis Highlights

    • Students register for the thesis using the Master's Thesis Application.
    • The student is the principal investigator of the thesis. He/she is responsible for formulating an idea and research questions, conceptualization, operationalization through a detailed methodology, project implementation, and a presentation of findings and conclusions.
    • Students are guided through the process by a first and second reader (program faculty).
    • The thesis design, implementation, and write-up generally require frequent meetings with first and second readers to clarify ideas, develop data collection instruments, work through data collection and findings, develop a presentation, and edit.
    • If the thesis involves human subjects (e.g., conducting interviews, observation, or a survey), students will need to prepare an application for review by the Monmouth University Institutional Review Board.
    • Students generally align with faculty to discuss their research ideas and projects one to two semesters prior to their registration for the thesis.
    • The completed thesis is a research paper of publishable quality with the following sections: abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, findings, and conclusion.