Comp Exams and Tasks to Complete Before Graduation

Comprehensive Exams
Comprehensive Exams For Option III M.S in Entomology, students are required to take a Written Comprehensive Exam (given through email) and either the online Multiple Choice General Entomology Qualifying Exam (given on Canvas) or the BCE Exam from the Entomological Society of America. When you are ready to take the departmental online or the written comprehensive exams, please contact Erin Bauer ( and she'll set them up for you. You can contact ESA to set up the BCE.

See below for more specific information about the exams.

  1. General Entomology Qualifying Exam The General Entomology exam is a 100-point multiple choice exam covering basic areas of entomology such as biology and classification, ecology, physiology, toxicology, and pest management. This is a one-hour, closed-book test administered on Canvas.
    Topics to study for the General Entomology Qualifying exam:
    1. History of Entomology
    2. Federal regulations for pesticide registration and usage
    3. General insect classification and biology
    4. Insect morphology and physiology
    5. Insect behavior and ecology
    6. Insect development and metamorphosis
    7. Pest management practices
    8. Medical entomology
  2. BCE (Board Certified Entomologist) Exam
    As an alternative to the General Entomology exam given by the Entomology Department, students may take the BCE exam administered by the Entomological Society of America. Requirements and application for this exam are available at

The Written Comprehensive Exam
This exam is in essay format and is administered via email. Questions are solicited by the distance education coordinator from departmental faculty. The exams may be open-book (by discretion of the faculty member) and is assessed on a pass/fail basis. The questions are general in nature and, as such, require a thorough knowledge and synthesis of information. Students are allowed about a week to complete the exam.

Suggested Books to consult for exams (look for latest editions):
  1. The Science of Entomology. William S. Romoser.
  2. Fundamentals of Applied Entomology. Pfadt.
  3. Fundamentals of Entomology. R.J. Elzinga.
  4. An Introduction to the Study of Insects. Borer, Triplehorn, and Johnson.
  5. Destructive and Useful Insects. Robert Metcalf.
  6. The Insects: An Outline of Entomology. P. Gullan.
  7. Medical Entomology for Students. M. Service
  8. Physiological Systems in Insects. M.J. Klowden

Final Steps
Deadlines for submitting the Application for Degree form and other requirements for graduation can be found at the Graduate Studies website.

IMPORTANT NOTE: MS projects and comprehensive exams (both the online multiple choice exam and the written take home exam) must be completed THREE WEEKS prior to the date of Final Exam Reports for the semester you plan to graduate. You can find out the date of the Final Exam Reports on the MS Milestones page from Graduate Studies: The Final Exam Reports include paperwork that online MS advisors fill out to ensure graduation for the semester, so if the tests and MS project are not completed early enough, it will postpone your graduation until the next semester. Also, the MS Project Committee needs time to review and approve final MS Projects before the paperwork can be done.

We recommend that you register for your MS Project at least one semester before you plan to graduate so that you won't have to finish it within limited time in your final semester. We also recommend taking the comprehensive online exam at least one semester before you plan to graduate. This test must be passed with a 70% and can be taken once a semester if not passed the first time. The written exam can be taken the semester you graduate if not before.


Breaking Entomological News...

  • Insect Science major Earl Agpawa (conducting undergraduate research with Joe Louis and Eileen Hebets) was named the 2020 winner of the ESA’s Plant-Insect Ecosystems Undergraduate Student Achievement Award.This is a national award that recognizes outstanding accomplishments in entomology by an undergraduate student working with insect-plant interactions. Congratulations, Earl!
  • PhD student Sajjan Grover (mentored by Joe Louis) was named the 2020 winner of the ESA’s Plant-Insect Ecosystems Kenneth and Barbara Starks Plant Resistance to Insects Graduate Student Award. This is a national award recognizing a graduate student for outstanding work in the area of host plant resistance. Congratulations, Sajjan!
  • Dr. Joe Louis receives a grant to study resistance in sorghum to fall armyworm
  • We are well-represented in ESA North Central Branch awards this year. Déia Montezano is the 2020 John Henry Comstock Outstanding PhD Student Award winner, Gary Brewer is the 2020 recipient of the Award of Merit, and Bob Wright is the 2020 recipient of the C.V. Riley Award. Congratulations, Déia, Gary, and Bob!
  • Congratulations to Dr. Troy Anderson on being elected Vice President Elect for the Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology Section of the Entomological Society of America!
  • Dr. Kyle Koch named new insect diagnostician
  • Check out the Emerald Ash Borer Resource Center, and our Emerald Ash Borer Look-Alike Insects Sheet - Be Sure Before You Treat!