Advancing to Doctoral Candidacy


When you’re ready to advance to doctoral candidacy, consult with your department regarding policies related to your program of work and to ensure you’ve completed any steps that must be taken prior to candidacy.

Forming the Dissertation Committee

All doctoral students, in consultation with the committee supervisor(s), must secure the agreement of a minimum of four people to serve on their dissertation or treatise committee.

  • The supervisor and at least two other committee members must be from your department and must be Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) members.
  • At least one committee member should be from outside your GSC.
  • Some departments may require that more than four individuals serve on the dissertation or treatise committee.

Retired faculty who have been nominated or granted emeritus status and who were members of the GSC upon retirement may request continued membership on the GSC with approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies. Such requests should be accompanied by the recommendation of the appropriate GSC, and be submitted to the graduate school by the GSC chair. If approved, the continued membership will be reviewed annually.

Such faculty may serve on student committees as a GSC member or as a co-supervisor, but may not serve as a sole supervisor. In the event that a GSC member of a dissertation committee terminates employment with the university, except as discussed above, an additional current GSC member must be added to the committee. A former faculty member may remain on the dissertation committee, but will assume status as an outside committee member.

Submitting CVs for Non-GSC Committee Members

Students are responsible for providing a curriculum vita for any committee member not a member of the Graduate Studies Committee. Additionally, the Special Agreement to Serve on Thesis/Dissertation Committee form is required if an off-campus committee member is recommended by the graduate adviser.

Both items should be delivered to the doctoral degree evaluators in the Graduate School, Main 101. To expedite processing, include your UT EID with all submissions.

Applying for Candidacy

After your committee is formed, visit All My Addresses to update your name, address and phone number, if necessary, then complete the online Degree Candidacy Application form.

You will be required to include a brief (60 lines or less) description of your dissertation or treatise proposal approved by your committee supervisor. This should be prepared in advance; the application will time out after 30 minutes of inactivity and you will lose any changes not yet submitted or saved. 

Changes to committee membership require special approval, so students should be certain the membership is complete and correct before initiating the application.

Those who wish to write a thesis, report, dissertation or treatise in a language other than English must petition to do so.

Certifying Academic Credentials

A program of work—a list of courses taken toward the Ph.D.—must be submitted to the chairperson of your Graduate Studies Committee for approval.

The program of work must:

  • Meet all the requirements established by the Graduate Studies Committee and the Graduate School;
  • Include only courses taken within the past six years; and
  • Include coursework that is sufficient in academic breadth/depth.

Completing Registration Requirements

Once the Dean of Graduate Studies approves your application and you have been admitted to candidacy, you are required to continuously register for dissertation or treatise. Your first semester in candidacy is _99R; for all semesters after the first, you must register for _99W. (Music majors and treatise option students should check with their graduate adviser for registration requirements.)