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 4 members: 1 chair, 3 general members. For students whose committee chair or advisor may have a financial interest in their work, an Oversight member is also required.

Advancement Paperwork

  1. After passing your advancement to candidacy exam, finalize the other two members of your doctoral committee with your advisor (see below).
  2. Fill out the Chemistry Advancement to Candidacy Google Form.
  3. After you submit this form, a Chemistry Student Affairs Officer will prepare the Graduate Division DocuSign form for you, your advancement committee, and your advisor to complete and sign.
  4. Please let your advancement committee and advisor know that they can expect an email notification from DocuSign.

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 to Candidacy Fee

In order to submit advancement paperwork, students must pay the required fee using Graduate Division's online payment link. Once the fee has been paid, students will receive an electronic receipt. Please upload the receipt via the attachment icon in DocuSign. Note: Without proof of payment, this paperwork will be considered incomplete, by Graduate Division, and cannot be processed.

Advancement Paperwork Deadlines

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


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