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Application to Candidacy - MA & PhD Students

To become a candidate for an advanced degree you must submit, for Departmental and Graduate School approval, a program of study consisting of a coherent list of graduate courses that have, or will have, been taken and a title of the projected thesis or project (for an M.A. student) or a title of the projected dissertation (for a Ph.D. student).  You can obtain the required Application to Candidacy forms from the Graduate School web site at  Your Application to Candidacy must include a description of any "informal" courses taken (See “Informal” Courses in the Graduate Handbook). After completing the Application to Candidacy form online and printing it, you must submit it to the Department’s graduate secretary, Rose Gryckiewicz, who will attach original transcripts and original informal course forms and submit it to the Graduate School for processing.

The Program of Study, reflected on your Application to Candidacy form, is not simply a collection of courses, but is fashioned so that courses, seminars, and research form a clear, coherent pattern of study leading to the degree.

For both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, the Application to Candidacy form is required.  M.A. students usually file the Application to Candidacy after three semesters of full-time enrollment.  Ph.D. students typically file after successful defense of the preliminary examination and the dissertation proposal.  See Graduate School Policies and Procedures, at for additional information.

The tentative program of study, recorded on the Application to Candidacy form, should be filed in the Department office for use by you and your advisor, and should always be kept up to date (a petition must be completed when you make changes to your program of study).  If objectives are clear from the outset, you will not need to make major revisions in the program.  A major revision may mean that courses appropriate to the first program are inappropriate to the second and additional time to complete the degree may be necessary.  Of course, objectives are not always clear, and they may be modified as a result of increased familiarity with the discipline.  In either case, some modification of the initial program may be necessary, but a firm program should be developed as soon as possible.

Graduation Steps:

In addition to the above regarding Application to Candidacy, please follow these steps to ensure a problem-free path to graduation:

Use this chart to determine the deadline date for filing your degree application:

Last Semester: Graduation Date: FINAL Filing Date:
July or August September 1 July 1
December February 1 October 1
May June 1 February 1