Advancement to Candidacy Guidelines

Follow this guide to complete your administrative requirements for passing the Qualifying Examinations and Advancing to Candidacy in Engineering.

Please check individual program requirements for specifics on normative time to advancement, however it is highly recommended you advance to candidacy within nine registered quarters (end of 3rd year).

 Pre-Qualifying Exam:
  1. In consultation with your faculty advisor, you will form a four member committee (please check individual program requirements above for specifics on qualifying exam committees).  It is your responsibility to schedule a specific date/time with your committee members.  The department graduate advisor will reserve a room for your QE/ATC.
  2. Submit the Nomination of Qualifying Exam Committee form to the department graduate advisor for review.  You must submit this form at least 30 days in advance of your exam to your department's graduate advisor.  This will be signed by the faculty graduate representative and then sent to the Graduate Division for final approval.
  3. Graduate Division will email you and the department with their ruling on the examination committee members.
  4. Please submit a title and abstract using the Advancement/Defense Notification Request form at least two weeks prior to your exam date so that we can send out an announcement to the SOE community.
Qualifying Exam:
  1. Print out the Qualifying Examination Report and bring it to your exam and give to your committee chair.
  2. Your exam committee will return the completed forms to your department's graduate advisor.
  3. After passing the qualifying exam and completing all required coursework, you are ready to advance to candidacy!
Advancing to Candidacy:
  1. Turn in the Nomination for Dissertation Reading Committee form to your department's graduate advisor.  These will be sent to the Graduate Division along with your Qualifying Exam Report.  The advancement to candidacy fee of $90 will be billed to your account.  This fee must be paid in order for your ATC to process.
  2. You will be officially Advanced to Candidacy in the term following the submission of these materials and, if applicable, completion of any incomplete (I) grades.

All forms are available through the links on this page and through the Graduate Division website.  Check it out!


After you have advanced to candidacy (ATC), you have a few schedules to keep in mind:

I. The Financial Aid Office requires that students complete their degrees within three years after ATC, otherwise you must petition the graduate division for an extension on financial aid eligibility (fellowships, loans, TA/GSR positions, etc.).  International students on an F-1 visa must complete their degree within three (3) years after ATC, otherwise non-resident tuition costs will be reinstated.

II. Another deadline required by the Graduate Division is that students complete the degree no more than seven (7) years after ATC.  If this is not done, your candidacy will lapse and you will be required to re-take the qualifying exam.

III. As well, the normative time to finish your doctorate is considered to be five to seven (5-7) years total.