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Section 7.8 of the Graduate School Handbook

Definition of Candidacy. Candidacy is defined as that period in a doctoral student’s studies when she or he is deemed ready to undertake independent and original research resulting in a dissertation (PhD) or to meet performance and document requirements (DMA). Doctoral students achieve candidacy by passing the written and oral portions of the candidacy examination.

Candidacy should be reached after doctoral students have taken enough course work to become proficient in the field of study, which is generally two years after starting the doctoral program or one year after qualifying or preliminary exams.

Doctoral students who have achieved candidacy are deemed to have:

  1. acquired the necessary advanced knowledge of the subject (normally by meeting all of the course requirements for the particular PhD program)
  2. developed the needed technical skills (e.g., language, laboratory, computational, etc.) for work in the subject
  3. demonstrated the ability to do the research or scholarship necessary to begin work on a dissertation

Admission to Candidacy. Provided that the student is in good standing at the end of the semester or summer term in which the candidacy examination is completed, satisfactorily completing that examination admits the student to candidacy for the doctoral degree in that program at the end of that semester or term.

A student is normally expected to enroll primarily in 8999 or in program-approved courses after satisfactorily completing the candidacy examination. Post-candidacy doctoral students must enroll for at least three credit hours (full time). Candidacy status established in one doctoral program is not transferable to another doctoral program.

Continuous Enrollment. This policy is effective for all students who were admitted to the Graduate School Autumn Quarter 2008 and after, or if a student admitted prior to Autumn Quarter 2008 does not enroll for two years.

All students who successfully complete the doctoral candidacy examination will be required to be enrolled in every semester of their candidacy (summer term excluded) until graduation. Students must be enrolled for at least three credits per semester. While the Graduate School and the individual graduate programs will monitor the enrollment of all post-candidacy students, it ultimately will be the responsibility of each student to ensure that they are meeting the enrollment provisions of this policy.

Non-enrollment. Post-candidacy students who do not enroll in a required semester will be withdrawn from active candidacy status. A student whose candidacy status has been withdrawn will not be allowed to continue on in the doctoral program until reinstated. A hold will be placed on the student’s university record preventing any further registration or access to university resources. A student wishing to be reinstated to the doctoral program and active candidacy status will need to petition the Graduate Studies Committee in their program. If approved, the Graduate Studies chair of the program will send to the Graduate School a formal request to allow the student to resume studies and register. Non-enrollment does not interrupt a student’s five-year candidacy period.

Upon approval of a post-candidacy reinstatement, the student will be retroactively enrolled in every semester of missed enrollment for three credits of 8999 research hours under their advisor. The student will be responsible for paying the past tuition charges as well as the current university per semester late registration penalty. All past due charges will need to be paid before the Graduate School will approve the student for any future enrollment.

Leave of Absence. Post-candidacy students who cannot continue in their doctoral program due to extenuating circumstances can request a Leave of Absence from their doctoral studies on a semester by semester basis for up to a maximum overall leave period of one year. While there are many situations upon which a leave can be requested, such as the birth or adoption of a child or a serious medical condition, a leave will not be granted with the sole reason of financial hardship. A leave request requires the student to submit a Committee and Examination Petition form on GRADFORMS.  Once submitted the form will be available on GRADFORMS for approval by the student’s home program and advisor before being forwarded to the Graduate School for final review.  A request for a leave needs to be submitted before the actual leave period begins. Verification of circumstances should be included as an attachment on the petition form. If a leave is granted, the student’s candidacy period will be paused until the student returns to continuous enrollment status.

Condition of Reinstatement. Any student who was admitted to the Graduate School before Autumn Quarter, 2008 is not bound by the continuous enrollment policy. However, a student who is not enrolled for at least two years will need to be reinstated to their graduate program to resume doctoral studies. As a condition of reinstatement a student will be required to follow the continuous enrollment guidelines as a post-candidacy student regardless of when they were admitted to the Graduate School.

Time Limit. If a student fails to submit the final copy of the dissertation or D.M.A. document to the Graduate School within five years of being admitted to candidacy, the student's candidacy is cancelled. In such a case, with the approval of the advisor and the Graduate Studies Committee, the student may take a supplemental candidacy examination. If the student passes this supplemental candidacy examination, the student is readmitted to candidacy and must then complete a dissertation or D.M.A. document within two years.

Supplemental Candidacy Examination. The nature of the supplemental candidacy examination and the membership of the candidacy examination committee are determined by the student’s advisor within the rules of the Graduate Studies Committee. The examination committee is comprised of the advisor and at least three other authorized Graduate Faculty members. The supplemental candidacy examination must include a written and an oral portion that last approximately two hours. A Graduate Faculty Representative is appointed if a prior unsatisfactory examination result is on record. All other rules pertaining to candidacy examinations must be followed.

Withdrawal from Doctoral Program. Post-candidacy students who decide to permanently withdraw from their doctoral program must notify their advisor and the program’s Graduate Studies Committee. The Graduate Studies chair will notify the Graduate School in writing of the student’s decision. The student’s candidacy status will be deactivated and university records will reflect that the student will not be permitted to enroll without the approval of the graduate program and submission of a Reactivate Enrollment Eligibility form to the Graduate School.  

Should the student later be reactivated in the doctoral program, a new candidacy examination will be required, and the student will have five years from the successful completion of this exam to complete the dissertation. A student may need to complete additional course work at the discretion of the graduate program.