NOTE: Due to COVID-19, Graduate Division will be waiving the Advancement to Candidacy fee until further notice.

The Advancement to Candidacy Examination (i.e., “Orals”) is a comprehensive exam in chemistry. Students advance to candidacy for the doctoral degree upon successfully demonstrating a high level of scholarship in full-time study at the Ph.D. level, and upon completing all preparatory work and demonstrating readiness to proceed to the dissertation phase. University policy requires students to advance to candidacy at least one quarter before they can earn the degree. Students may not advance to candidacy prior to the satisfaction of the Second-Year Examination.

Please note: Students who plan to earn a master’s along the way toward their Ph.D. must advance separately for the master’s and Ph.D. in order to earn both degrees. Advancement to candidacy for a Ph.D. does not automatically grant the student a master’s degree.

Candidacy Committee

Students are admitted to candidacy if they pass by unanimous vote an oral examination administered by a Candidacy Committee. Advancement committee membership requires 5 members: 1 chair, 3 general members and 1 outside member. For students whose committee chair or advisor may have a financial interest in their work, an Oversight member is also required.

Doctoral Committee

During the advancement phase, students must also select their 3 member doctoral committee. Doctoral committees consist of 1 chair (usually your advisor) and at least 2 general members. General members can come from non-Chemistry departments; however, a majority of the committee must be from Chemistry. For instance, 2 committee members from Chemistry and 1 outside member is fine -- 2 Chemistry and 2 outside is not. Faculty with joint appointments in Chemistry count as internal committee members.

Advancement Paperwork

Beginning Summer 2020, Graduate Division has implemented a new DocuSign e-signing system for all of their forms. Students are no longer required to obtain signatures on their own; instead, Garrett Yoshitomi will prepare the DocuSign form, and the student, plus their advancement committee and advisor, will receive an email notification when it is their turn to sign electronically. 

  1. Once you pass your advancement to candidacy exam, please fill out the following Google Form:
  2. After you submit this form, Garrett will prepare the Graduate Division DocuSign form for you, your advancement committee, and your advisor to complete and sign.
  3. Please let your committee and advisor know that they can expect an email notification from DocuSign.

Please Read: Advancement Paperwork Instructions

When filling out your advancement paperwork, please make sure to do the following:

  1. Enter an asterisk next to each member of your advancement committee who will also be on  your doctoral committee
  2. Enter your research advisor in the section at the top of page 2, stating "Add names of any new recommendations for the doctoral committee below."
  3. Add "(Chair)" after the name of your research advisor
  4. If necessary, add any additional doctoral committee members, not on your advancement committee, to the top of page 2

Advancement Paperwork Deadlines

Please see the Graduate Division's website for advancement to candidacy paperwork deadlines for the current academic year:


Contact Garrett Yoshitomi (