COVID-19 Update: Multiple pieces of the thesis submission process have been updated to accommodate remote defenses and submission through December 4, 2020. If you have questions, please reach out to

Academics | Candidacy & Defense


Please use the General Announcements as your guide for all things related to candidacy, defense and thesis submission. Information for doctoral degrees can be found here, and master's degrees can be found here. These links include university information on:

  • Graduation Requirements
  • Time boundaries*
  • Time to degree
  • Approval of Candidacy
  • Thesis Committee
  • Defense Announcement
  • Thesis Defense
  • Thesis Submission
  • Additional Requirements

*Individual time boundaries for candidacy and defense can be found in Esther

Candidacy marks a midpoint in the course of graduate education. Achieving candidacy for the Ph.D. implies that a graduate student has:

  • completed required course work
  • passed required exams to demonstrate his/her comprehensive grasp of the subject area
  • demonstrated the ability for clear oral and written communication
  • shown the ability to carry on scholarly work in his/her subject area.

Requirements for achieving candidacy for the thesis master's degree are determined at the departmental level. Each thesis student must petition for candidacy, and cannot take the final oral examination until the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies approves their candidacy. Forms related to candidacy and defense can be found here. Thesis format guidelines and templates can be found here.

Students who are unable to meet the time boundary must submit an extension of candidacy request to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies or risk dismissal. A $125 reinstatement fee will be imposed on students who have exceeded their time boundaries. Information on time boundaries can be found in the General Announcements.