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 members of your program's Graduate Studies Committee (GSC).

At least one committee member must 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.

CVs/Resumes for Non-GSC Committee Members

The Graduate School requires a CV/resume for committee members who are not on the program’s Graduate Studies Committee. Degree plan evaluators will search for them, but in cases where a CV/resume cannot easily be found online, it is the student’s responsibility to provide this information. One of the degree plan evaluators will contact the student should a CV/resume be required.

Applying for Candidacy

Update your contact information

After your committee is formed, visit All My Addresses at the link above to update your name, address and phone number.

Complete the Degree Candidacy Application form

Students must have registered and paid tuition during the term in which the candidacy application is submitted.

As part of the application, 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.

Request for Change in Doctoral Committee

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

Petition to Write Dissertation in a Language other than English

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

The program of work for the Doctor of Philosophy includes the courses taken toward fulfillment of the degree requirements, as established by the Graduate Studies Committee and the Graduate School.

The program of work must:

Have a minimum of 30 semester hours of advanced coursework, including a minimum of 6 hours of dissertation;

Include only courses taken within the past six years;

Include coursework that is sufficient in academic breadth/depth.

Contact your Graduate Adviser to determine the specific requirements for your degree.

Completing Registration Requirements

Continuous Registration

Once the Dean of Graduate Studies approves your application and you have been admitted to candidacy, you are required to continuously register for the dissertation course (_99W) or treatise course beginning the next long term. (Music majors and treatise option students should check with their graduate adviser for registration requirements.)

The Graduate School regularly reviews and approves candidacy applications during the first half of terms, but applications submitted after the halfway point may not be reviewed immediately or in time for pre-registration.

If you will be applying for candidacy later in the term and want to sign up for the required _99W course the following term, it is suggested you pre-register for a placeholder course of the equivalent hours until your application is reviewed and approved.

If you advance to candidacy after the 12th class day you are not required to enroll in the _99W course until the next long term, after which point you must remain continuously enrolled in dissertation hours until graduation.


If you have questions about advancing to candidacy or completing the application, contact your departmental graduate office.