Advancement to Candidacy

Students advance to candidacy (ATC) only after completing all coursework, passing the written and oral portions of the Comprehensive Examination, writing and defending a dissertation research proposal (Qualifying Exam) and presenting a candidacy seminar on his/her proposed research.  Ordinarily, students ATC in Term 9 (spring quarter of the third year), however they may advance as soon as they have successfully completed the above requirements. 

A student who advances to candidacy:

  • Automatically qualifies for the TA In-Candidacy Offset Fee Grant (ICFOG) for six consecutive quarters. ICFOG is applicable only to graduate students who are charged campus fees as TAs (~$400 per quarter).
  • Moves from Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) Step 7 to Step 8.

To complete the ATC process, students submit their Dissertation Reading Committee Nomination form and Qualifying Exam Report (see Forms & Print Materials) to the EEB Graduate Program Coordinator.  Advancement to Candidacy takes effect on the first day of the quarter following the receipt of forms and subsequent ATC fee payment via Student Business Services (SBS).

The Dissertation Reading Committee

Once students advances to candidacy, their advisor(s) become the chair of their Dissertation Reading Committee.  According to university rules, the Dissertation Reading Committee must include at least three members, and a majority must be faculty members of the UCSC Academic Senate.  This means that a majority of the members must be ladder-rank faculty in the tenure-track system; adjunct faculty members cannot count toward this majority.

In most cases, the Qualifying Exam Committee will simply metamorphose into the Dissertation Reading Committee.  When changes are made at this stage, it is recommended that the student inform all the members of the committee about the change.

Students may defend their PhD dissertation in as little as one year after they advance to candidacy. The graduate divisions allows studetns up to 9 quarters to complete their degree after they passed the qualifying exam. Average time in the EEB department is 5-6 years to complete the PhD.