Students should schedule an overview or prospectus meeting with their doctoral committee as soon as possible following successful completion of the comprehensive examination. At this meeting, the student must present a dissertation proposal describing the research topic and experimental plan, for evaluation and approval by the committee. The research plan must contain sufficient detail to permit the doctoral committee to provide detailed guidance in shaping the conceptualization and methodology of the plan. The doctoral committee must unanimously approve the dissertation topic and research plan before the student may be admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree. Approval of the proposal does not imply either the acceptance of a dissertation prepared in accord with the proposal or the restriction of the dissertation to this original proposal.
At the prospectus meeting, the doctoral committee will also confirm that the student has met all of the requirements for admission to candidacy. To qualify for admission to candidacy, students must be in full graduate status, have satisfied the annual evaluation requirements, have completed all required coursework with a minimum quality point average (QPA) of 3.00, have passed the comprehensive examination, and have received approval of the proposed subject and plan of the dissertation research from their doctoral committee.
When all of the above conditions have been satisfied, the student will complete and submit the Approval of Dissertation Proposal and Admission to Candidacy to the Graduate Program Coordinator.
The date of admission to candidacy is entered into the student’s permanent graduate academic record as a “Milestone.” Note that admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree constitutes a promotion of the student to the most advanced stage of graduate study and provides formal approval to devote essentially exclusive attention to the research and writing of the dissertation.