PhD Candidacy

Admission to The Graduate School (TGS) does not constitute or guarantee a student's admission to candidacy for the PhD degree. Admission to candidacy is contingent upon the recommendation of the student's department or program and upon approval of the Graduate Faculty.

  • A student must be admitted to candidacy by the end of the third year of study, which falls on the last date of the 12th quarter. A student failing to meet this milestone will be considered “not in good standing” and therefore will be placed on probation. Deadlines may only be altered in the case of a medical or family leave, requiring that a petition for deadline extension be submitted to and approved by TGS.
  • Admission to candidacy is reached by passing a comprehensive qualifying examination, written or oral or both. Individual departments or programs determine the character of this examination. At the time of admission to candidacy, proficiency in the major and related fields is certified and additional requirements for the Ph.D. degree are stipulated. Students should be aware of requirements for admission to candidacy established by both the department or program and the Graduate Faculty.
  • All programs must publish (in a printed handbook and/or on the Web) all policies regarding qualifying exams.  At the minimum, this document must delineate: a) what written and oral exams are required of students; b) when students take the exams; c) what opportunities, if any, students have to re-take the exam if they fail (and on what timeline); and d) the criteria for impact of a student's performance on allowing or not allowing a student to remediate and/or continue in the program.
  • The program, in consultation with the advisor, initiates the procedure for scheduling the qualifying examination.
  • The Director of Graduate Studies, or someone delegated by the DGS, submits the PhD Qualifying Exam form online via TGS Forms in SES. The program must submit approval of this form before the end of a student's third year.  Following the completion of the Qualifying Exam, students will be admitted to candidacy. Students are notified via email by TGS of approval of their Qualifying exam form and admission to candidacy.