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Advancing to Candidacy (Ph.D.)

Advancing to Candidacy (Updated: September 28, 2023)

When a student begins a graduate program, s/he is not yet a candidate for a graduate degree. To become a candidate for a graduate degree, a student must complete certain academic requirements to achieve the milestone of becoming a candidate for that degree. Advancement-to-candidacy signifies that the student has completed his or her coursework and other requirements and is ready to move forward to the dissertation phase for doctoral students or the thesis/comprehensive exam phase for master’s students. University policy requires students to advance to candidacy at least one semester before they can earn the degree.

Doctoral Students

Students are admitted to candidacy if they pass by unanimous vote an oral examination administered by a Candidacy Committee. Typically, advancement committee membership requires a minimum of 3 members: 1 chair, 2 general members. For students whose committee chair or advisor may have a financial interest in their work, an Oversight member is also required. Due to program variances, please consult with your graduate program/emphasis regarding committee composition.

Students must complete the Advancement to Candidacy form online for processing. The Ph.D. Advancement to Candidacy link will be emailed to the student after he/she has met with the SoE Graduate Staff to ensure that all course and examination requirements for the program are complete.

Please note: Doctoral students who plan to earn the masters along the way toward the doctorate must advance separately for the masters and Ph.D. in order to earn both degrees. Advancement to candidacy for a Ph.D. does not automatically grant the student a master’s degree. Consult with your specific program/emphasis if the M.S. degree en route to the Ph.D. is offered.

Ph.D. Advancement to Candidacy Workshop Presentation Slides available to download: phd_time_to_degree_-_qe_and_atc.pdf

For further policy/procedural guidelines, please refer to the Graduate Policies & Procedures Handbook at: