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Photo of GSE Doctoral students

Advancement to Candidacy

The advancement to doctoral candidacy is an acknowledgment of a student’s potential to successfully complete the specific degree requirements of the department. Students must advance to candidacy by the end of the sixth quarter, as stated in the Stanford Bulletin chapter entitled Graduate Degrees.

After passing the Second-Year review, the faculty advisor normally asks the student to apply for and advance to doctoral candidacy. The Application for Candidacy for Doctoral Degree is the University’s version of the final Graduate Study Program; therefore the student’s final GSP, the Application, and Stanford transcript (for courses already completed) should match identically with regard to courses and units listed. The GSP is a GSE form indicating a plan for coursework; the Application is a University contract replacing the GSP. When approved, the Application effectively becomes a binding agreement between the student and University regarding the coursework and requirements for completion of the doctoral degree.

Once granted, candidacy is valid for five calendar years, unless terminated by the department. Leaves of absence do not extend the candidacy period.

Extensions of candidacy are granted only with valid academic reasons that are supported by the dissertation advisor. Therefore, students are encouraged to plan their research agendas such that their degree is completed within the five year candidacy period. To petition for an extension of candidacy, students must submit an Application for Extension of Candidacy, which includes a detailed work plan, and is signed by the student’s advisor, the Area Chair, and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. The requests for candidacy extensions are reviewed by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

Students who have advanced to candidacy earn a higher rate of pay for research assistantships in the GSE. Candidacy status does not affect CA, TA, or TF salaries.

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