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4.6.1 Doctoral Degrees, Candidacy: Policy

Last updated on:
Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Summary

Admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree is a judgment by the faculty of the student’s department or school on the potential to successfully complete the requirements of the degree program. Students are expected to complete department qualifying procedures and apply for candidacy by the end of their second year in the Ph.D. program. Candidacy is valid for five years, subject to satisfactory academic progress. 

Rationale

Admission to candidacy marks the end of a doctoral student’s initial study period. Each department has an assessment procedure by which it pronounces the students qualified to pursue the Ph.D. and admits them as a candidate for the Ph.D. By admitting the student to candidacy, the department states its judgment that the student has the knowledge and ability to complete a research project and present it as a dissertation within the applicable time limits.

Authority: 
  • Committee on Graduate Studies (policy)
  • Office of the Registrar via Stanford Services & Support (implementation)
  • Departmental Office (implementation)
Applicability: 

Ph.D. & D.M.A. students and programs.

1. Admission to Candidacy

Admission to a doctoral degree program is preliminary to, and distinct from, admission to candidacy.  Admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree is a judgment by the faculty in the department or school of the student’s potential to successfully complete the requirements of the degree program. Students are expected to complete department qualifying procedures and apply for candidacy by the end of their second year in the Ph.D. program. Honors Cooperative students must apply by the end of their fourth year. Candidacy is valid for five calendar years (through the end of the quarter in which candidacy expires), unless terminated by the department (for example, for unsatisfactory progress). A Pregnancy or Parental Leave of Absence automatically extends the pre-candidacy or candidacy period (see GAP 5.9, Pregnancy, Childbirth and Adoption, for details). 

Admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree is granted by the major department following a student's successful completion of qualifying procedures as determined by the department. Departmental policy determines procedures for subsequent attempts to advance to candidacy in the event that the student does not successfully complete the procedures. Failure to advance to candidacy results in the dismissal of the student from the doctoral program (see GAP 5.6, Dismissal for Academic and Professional Reasons).

Candidacy is confirmed on the Application for Candidacy for Doctoral Degree (or a departmental version of this form). This form also specifies a departmentally approved program of study to fulfill degree requirements, including required course work, language requirements, teaching requirements, dissertation (final project and public lecture-demonstration for D.M.A.), and University oral examination (for Ph.D.). The department should confirm at this point that the student’s program will meet all University and department requirements.

Prior to candidacy, at least 3 units of course work must be taken with each of four Stanford faculty members. To reiterate, however, a student will only be admitted to candidacy if, in addition to the student fulfilling departmental prerequisites, the faculty makes the judgment that the student has the potential to successfully complete the requirements of the degree program.

If the Ph.D. student is pursuing a minor, approval by the department awarding the minor is also required on the Application for Candidacy.

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2. Time Limit for Completion of Degree with Candidacy

Students are required to maintain active candidacy through conferral of the doctoral degree. All requirements for the degree must be completed before candidacy expires. Candidacy is valid for five calendar years (through the end of the quarter in which candidacy expires), unless terminated by the department (for example, for unsatisfactory progress). The time limit is not automatically extended by a student’s leave of absence.

Failure to make minimum progress or complete university, department, and program requirements in a timely or satisfactory manner may lead to dismissal (see GAP 5.6, Dismissal for Academic Reasons).

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3. Extension of Candidacy

All requests for extension, whether prompted by a leave or some other circumstance, must be filed by the student before the conclusion of the program’s time limit, using the Application for Extension of Candidacy or Master's Program form. Departments are not obligated to grant an extension. Students may receive a maximum of one additional year of candidacy per extension. Extensions require review by the department of a dissertation progress report, a timetable for completion of the dissertation, any other factors regarded as relevant by the department, and approval by the department; such approval is at the department’s discretion.

A Pregnancy or Parental Leave of Absence will also result in an extension of candidacy (or of the pre-candidacy period). See GAP 5.9,  Pregnancy, Childbirth and Adoption, for details.

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