When students have completed all courses, language requirements, and examinations, they may be admitted to candidacy for the degree. 

Admission to Candidacy

After passing your qualifying exams, you should submit the Application for Admission to Candidacy. You can do this online here. We no longer require you to submit paper signatures for candidacy--only the online application is required.

Committee Formation

The dissertation director and the student are responsible for selecting a dissertation committee. Because the student will have prepared the dissertation proposal as part of the qualifying examination process, this committee normally will include the members of the student's examination committee in addition to a fourth external committee member. Once you've formed your committee, inform the Director of Graduate Studies. 

Prospectus Presentation

Near the end of each semester or academic year in which three or more students have passed the comprehensive exams, the department convenes a Prospectus Presentation Forum, where those students discuss their dissertation topics and respond to questions and suggestions from department faculty and other graduate students.

The Dissertation Document

The dissertation is best conceived as the manuscript of a scholarly book usually consisting of at least 200 pages of text and additional documentation. A student writing a dissertation is expected to develop a substantial and original idea as well as to demonstrate how the analysis, interpretation, or perspective set forth in the dissertation adds to or differs from the existing body of scholarship on the subject.

The Dissertation Defense

When an acceptable draft of the entire dissertation has been read by every member of the committee, and every member of the committee has submitted suggestions for revision, the dissertation director, in consultation with the student, may decide on a defense date. The student must distribute to the committee final copies of the dissertation at least four weeks before the date of the defense, and must defend the dissertation no later than two weeks before the last day of class in the semester they plan to graduate.