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M.S. Advancement to Candidacy

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.

View the presentation of the M.S. Time to Degree workshop - Pre-Candidacy and Advancement to Candidacy here: ms_time_to_degree_-_atc.pdf

Master’s Students

The master's degree is attained by: Plan I, the Thesis option, or Plan II, the Comprehensive Examination option; both options require students to advance to candidacy. Plan II does not require a committee; however students must consult with their department regarding advancement requirements. Under Plan I a committee of three faculty members is required for advancement, 1 chair and 2 general members.

Students must complete the Advancement to Candidacy form online for processing at least 30 days prior to the start of the graduation term. The MS 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 requirements for the program are complete.  Students should email to set up an appointment to discuss completion of course requirements at least 2 months (60 days) prior to the beginning of the proposed graduation term.

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