Section 9: PhD Candidacy Examination: Overview, Committee, and Process

WORK BACKWARDS TO PLAN CANDIDACY: Sample timeline using random dates

The qualifying proposal and examinations may take the better part of a semester, but the actual examinations should aim to take place in no less than one month, no more than two. Here is one sample of a common examination timeline, as agreed upon by student and advisor:

If the Oral Examination is planned for Nov 27:

  • At least one full week and no more than one full month before the Oral Exam: Last Written Exam question completed by student no later than Nov 20
  • At least 2 full weeks before the Oral Exam: Candidacy Application submitted to Grad School by student via no later than Nov 13 or preferably sooner to allow time for faculty signatures. On the application, students may list a time range for writtens (e.g., Nov 13 thru Nov 20) and must include the date/time/location of the Oral Exam. (May indicate Zoom, as circumstances dictate).
  • In no less than one full week and no more than one full month: Written Exam questions distributed by Advisor between Nov 13 and date TBD by advisor: Collected no sooner than Nov 20, excluding holidays
A sample timeline might look like this:
Oral Exam – Nov 27 Written 4 due – Nov 20
Written 3 due – Nov 18
Written 2 due – Nov 16
Written 1 due – Nov 14
Start Written 1 – Nov 13
  • Send completed proposal to the advisor/committee no later than Nov 6
  • Achieve a 3.35 in 4 approved fundamental courses before the semester in which the exam begins.