Welcome To The School of Human Resource Education HRLD Program

Welcome to the official web site of the LSU School of Human Resource Education's Human Resource and Leadership Development Program. We look forward to helping you advance in this exciting field.

Questions or suggestions for improvement of this site should be sent to eholton2@lsu.edu.

M.S. General Exam Info

About the Exam

All master’s candidates in the HRLD concentration will be required to complete a standard comprehensive final exam. The exam will consist of a case study followed by a series of questions students must answer about the case study.  This exam is specifically designed to address two key learning objectives:
  1. Demonstrate the ability to integrate knowledge acquired from the courses required in the HRLD M.S. curriculum, and
  2. Apply that knowledge in a simulated real world situation.

Students will be presumed to have completed all core courses in the HRLD master’s curriculum or be in the process of completing their final core courses during the semester in which they take the exam.

Why This Type of Exam

Our goal is to make the exam a valuable learning experience and not just another hoop through which to jump.  Although nobody would suggest that a general exam is fun, we believe you will find this type exam to be fair and to add value to your learning. Most graduates (including your faculty) will reluctantly concede that a good general exam enhances their ability to integrate their knowledge and prepare for professional practice.

Additionally, the format is designed to be very adult oriented in that it allows you to apply your learning and experience to a simulated real world problem situation just as you will have to do when you practice HRLD.  Finally, by focusing on application of knowledge and allowing you to use your resources, the exam reduces the need to memorize large volumes of material. 


  1. The case study will be distributed to all students who filed exam requests by the due date for this semester.   Each student’s exam will be placed in a sealed envelope and can be picked up from Ms. Ann Harrington or Ms. Chelsea Lewis in the main office, Room 142 Old Forestry Building on a Friday date that will be announced each semester.

  1. The exam must be returned by 12 noon on  a Monday 10 days later, .  A hard copy of the exam must be returned in person to Ms. Harrington or Ms. Chelsea Lewis, and an electronic copy sent to Dr. Holton by email (eholton2@lsu.edu)

  1. Students will be presumed to have completed all core courses in the HRLD master’s curriculum or be in their final semester and taking their last core courses.  The questions may cover any or all of the courses taken as a part of your MS degree in Human Resource and Leadership Development, but grading will be adjusted if a student is still completing core course(s) during the same semester as the exam.

  1. Students may use any notes, books, journal articles or other published materials as resources during the exam.  They are welcome to use materials not distributed in class, but class resources are sufficient to be successful on the exam.  This is not intended to be a library research project.

  1. Your responses must be typed double-spaced and the resources you use properly cited using APA format.  You need to number the pages of your exam and provide a table of contents identifying the location of your responses to each of the exam questions.  Please provide a title page that lists your name, HRDL Master’s Exam, list of your committee chair and committee members, and date.

  1. You must work individually on the exam.  Any collaboration of any type will be considered academic misconduct under the LSU code of student conduct.  The exam papers will be compared for similar answers and violations will be dealt with harshly.
    1. You must include a statement at the end of your exam stating that you “have not collaborated during the exam with any other person by giving, receiving or otherwise sharing information.”  Exams without this statement will not be graded.

  1. If a student passes the written exam, no oral exam will be required. 
    1. If the committee does not feel like the written exam is sufficient to provide a passing grade to the student, the student may be asked to re-write all or part of the exam, or to take an oral exam.  The choice of options is at the complete discretion of the student’s committee. 
    2. If the student fails the exam he/she will be allowed to retake the written exam during the next semester, providing the student’s committee approves it.

  1. Students will be informed by their committee chair as to whether they have passed the exam, and what additional steps (if any) are required.
Sample Exam Introduction

For this exam, you are to put yourself in the position of Director of HRD for Microsoft.  You are to assume that Microsoft has made a strategic decision that it must address the high turnover rate    for employees in the first 5 years with the company and the skills shortage it faces with these employees.  They are convinced that they must change their culture and include some type of structured training program for employees in their first 5 years with the company, as well as engage in other interventions to improve the situation. However, they are very concerned that this change be managed carefully and fit the needs of their fast changing and competitive high-tech environment. Your task is to prepare a comprehensive plan you would propose to Microsoft for HRD interventions you think will address their needs and problems with employees in their first 5 years with the company.

You answer must include answers to ALL of the following questions as they pertain to the case study given to you, but you are not limited to these topics. You may include anything you think would be useful, including material from elective courses you have taken.  However, your paper should produce an integrated plan that you think can be realistically implemented in this organization, not just answers to each question.  We understand that the case only provides limited information, so you are to answer to the best of your ability given the data you have.  For information you do not have, but feel you need, simply include steps in your plan detailing how you would acquire that information.

Be sure to ground your ideas in HRD theory and research, and clearly indicate how your ideas link to that theory and research.  Be sure to cite appropriate literature in the text of your answers and include any citations in a complete reference list attached to the end of the exam.   Both in-text references and those in the reference list should be properly cited using APA format.  Good Luck.

A series of specific questions will follow.