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Advancing to Candidacy


You’re ready to advance to candidacy, Now what?

Master's Students

Master's students apply to advance to candidacy after completing requirements specified for each program. Advancing to candidacy means you are ready to complete a capstone project or final examination (Plan II), or to write a Master’s thesis (Plan I or Plan III).

  • Master's thesis students (Plan I) submit an Application for Candidacy form to the Graduate Division along with a request to constitute the thesis committee (submitted on-line by the graduate coordinator). Students should work with their graduate coordinator to submit the on-line form. Graduate Coordinators access the on-line committee tool at https://goapp.ucsd.edu/committee/login.php
  • Master's students (Plan II) also submit an Application for Candidacy form to the Graduate Division.
  • Master of Fine Arts students (Plan III) submit the Application for Candidacy form to the Graduate Division along with a request to constitute the thesis committee (submitted on-line by the graduate coordinator). Students should work with their graduate coordinator to submit the on-line form. Graduate Coordinators access the on-line committee tool at https://goapp.ucsd.edu/committee/login.php
  • The Application for Candidacy must be filed with the Graduate Division within the first 2 weeks of the quarter in which the degree requirements are to be completed. Ideally, the Application is filed when the student is registered in the last of the program’s core courses.

The following master's degrees do not have an advancement to candidacy requirement: MAS, MBA, MEd, MEng, MPIA.

Doctoral Students

Doctoral students undertake an oral Qualifying Examination to show they are qualified to advance to candidacy. Advancing to candidacy means you have completed all course and any other program requirements and are ready to research and write a dissertation (this stage is sometimes referred to as “all but dissertation” or ABD). Requirements and standards for advancement vary by program. Students must consult with the program's faculty graduate advisor or coordinator for their specific requirements.

  • Students must have completed 3 quarters of continuous residency and be registered in the quarter in which they advance.
  • Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or above in upper division and graduate coursework, and no more than eight units of F and/or U grades.
  • At least two weeks prior to the Qualifying Exam, a request to constitute the doctoral committee must be submitted to and approved by the Dean of the Graduate Division (submitted on-line by the graduate coordinator). Students should work with their graduate coordinator to submit the on-line form. Graduate Coordinators access the on-line committee tool at https://goapp.ucsd.edu/committee/login.php.
    • The exam may not be taken prior to receiving written approval of the doctoral committee from the Dean of the Graduate Division.
  • All committee members must be present for the advancement to candidacy exam and must sign the Report of the Qualifying Examination and Advancement to Candidacy for the Doctoral Degree form (obtained from the graduate coordinator). Original signatures of each committee member and of the program chair are required (proxy signatures are not accepted).
  • Advancement to candidacy requires the student to pay a candidacy fee to the cashier prior to submitting the form to the Dean of the Graduate Division.
  • Programs that offer the Candidate in Philosophy degree must check "Yes" in response to, "Is student eligible for C Phil degree" on the Report of the Qualifying Examination form.
  • Non-resident students: to be eligible for the full reduction of non-resident supplemental tuition, the Report of the Qualifying Examination form must be received by the Graduate Division on or before the first day of instruction. If the form is turned in after the first day of instruction the reduction will be implemented in the following quarter.
  • Advancement to Candidacy Date: Students may schedule their Qualifying / Advancement to Candidacy Examination between quarters (including summer) to accommodate their doctoral committee members' schedules; in order for any academic event to be recorded, a student must be registered. Advancement to Candidacy can only be posted to the academic record during a quarter of registration. The following information will be listed on an advanced students'' transcript:
    • The actual date of the exam (as listed on the Report of the Qualifying Examination).
    • For students who take the exam between quarters (including summer), the Advancement to Candidacy date will be listed as the first day of instruction of the next quarter of registration.
    • For students who take the exam during a registered quarter, the Advancement to Candidacy date will be listed as the date the form is received in the Graduate Division.
    • Students receiving a Candidate in Philosophy degree as part of the advancement will have the award date listed as the last day of the quarter. This is consistent with all other graduate degree posting.
Graduate Coordinators may request academic forms by calling the Academic Affairs Assistant at 858-822-2244.