The portfolio, written comprehensive exam, and oral defense option for completing your degree provides you the opportunity to showcase your work in the program; craft an argument about what this work says about you as a writer, your writing process, and your journey through the program; reflect carefully and critically on this work and journey; and use your knowledge in the program’s four core competencies (history of rhetoric, composition theory and pedagogy, and research methods) and your designated “area of specialization” to respond thoughtfully and thoroughly to complex issues or scenarios.
You will select the thesis or portfolio option for finishing your degree once you have completed 18 hours in the program. If you choose the portfolio option, you will assemble a portfolio committee (currently one director and two readers) and take ENG 5328: Guided Portfolio during your last semester in the program.
You will schedule and complete an “oral defense” of your portfolio and written comprehensive exam toward the end of ENG 5328: Guided Portfolio, after your committee indicates that both the portfolio and written comprehensive exam are satisfactory.
The following questions and answers will guide you systematically through the entire portfolio, written comprehensive exam, and oral defense process. Please read this section carefully as it contains all the information you will need to complete these requirements successfully.
- Which option should I choose for my culminating project in the MARC program: a thesis or a comprehensive take-home exam and program portfolio?
- Is one option “easier” or “more difficult” than the other?
- At what point should I make a decision about doing a thesis or an exam and portfolio?
- What is a portfolio and written comprehensive exam committee and how do I select one?
- How should I select my portfolio and written comprehensive exam director?
- Who can be on my portfolio and written comprehensive exam committee?
- What role do the portfolio and written comprehensive exam committee members play?
- How do I register for portfolio hours?
- What is a portfolio and what are the requirements for the portfolio?
- What is the process for creating the portfolio?
- What is the reflective introduction to the portfolio?
- What is the written comprehensive exam and what are the requirements for the written comprehensive exam?
- What is the process for taking the written comprehensive exam?
- May I finish my portfolio and written comprehensive exam and defend it during the summer?
- When is portfolio due to my committee?
- What documentation style am I required to use?
- What is an “oral defense” of the portfolio and written comprehensive exam?
- What can I expect to happen at the oral defense of my portfolio and written comprehensive exam?
Portfolio and Written Comprehensive Exam Checklist
Note: Checklist items are not necessarily steps in a sequence. Rather, you will complete many of these activities simultaneously.
__Assemble a portfolio and written comprehensive exam committee
__Register to take ENG 5328: Guided Portfolio
__Apply for graduation
__Decide on an area of specialization
__Gather key sources that represent that area of specialization
__Study sources on the MARC required reading list and area of specialization
__Write and revise potential written comprehensive exam questions
__Gather completed work for the portfolio
__Decide what “new work” you will include in the portfolio aside from the required reflective
__Draft and revise written comprehensive exam questions and new work for the portfolio
__Receive committee approval for written comprehensive exam questions
__Schedule and take written comprehensive exam
__Schedule and complete oral defense of the portfolio and written comprehensive exam by the
__Submit any additional revisions required by the committee by the deadline