Candidacy and Post-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 (for the Ph.D.) or to meet performance and document requirements (D.M.A.). 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 coursework to become proficient in their field of study, 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 course requirements for the particular ph.D. program;
  2. developed needed technical skills (e.g., language, laboratory, computational, etc.) for work in the subject; and
  3. demonstrated the ability to do the research or scholarship necessary to begin work on a dissertation.

If the student is in good standing at the end of the semester 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 start of the next semester. Candidacy status established in one doctoral program is not transferable to another doctoral program.  

Full-time status and continuous enrollment

Post-candidacy doctoral students may enroll for three credit hours and be considered full-time. This includes graduate associates (GAA, GTA, and GRA) and international students. A student is normally expected to enroll primarily in research hours or in program-approved courses after satisfactorily completing the candidacy examination.

Continuous enrollment post-candidacy is required of 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. Enrollment of at least three credits per semester is required for every semester of a student's candidacy (summer session excluded) until graduation. The Graduate School and graduate programs monitor the enrollment of all post-candidacy students, but it is ultimately the responsibility of each student to ensure that they meet this enrollment requirement.

Residency Requirement

Post-candidacy doctoral students must also fulfill the post-candidacy residency requirement of a minimum of six graduate credit hours over a period of at least two semesters or one semester and a summer session must be completed after admission to candidacy.

Section 7.8 of the Graduate School Handbook contains all the policies and procedures pertaining to candidacy and post-candidacy requirements. Questions can be directed to staff members in Graduation Services at (614) 292-6031.

Need help?

Contact staff members in the Graduate School using the staff directory, or call (614) 292-6031.

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