Advancement to Candidacy

Students are required to pass the Qualifying Examination, preparatory for advancement to candidacy for the doctorate, no later than the end of fall quarter of their fourth year. Students need to assemble a doctoral committee of five faculty members, in consultation with the dissertation advisor.  The Exam focuses on two qualifying papers and a dissertation prospectus. The papers, which are written under the guidance of at least two faculty readers, allow the student to make the transition from exploring the dissertation field to researching and writing the dissertation itself. The prospectus should be a fully fleshed-out overview of the proposed dissertation with an outline of approach and chapters; the prospectus also includes a review of scholarship in the dissertation areas as well as a comprehensive bibliography. 

In order to advance to candidacy, students need to pass the Qualifying Examination and satisfy their language requirement.


The dissertation is a lengthy (approximately 250-300 pages) study of a particular topic within a field of research. The purpose of the dissertation is to make a valuable contribution to the chosen field or fields, advancing that field and and contributing to its historical, critical, and theoretical evolution. Writing a dissertation trains the student in learning to conduct a book-length scholarly research project, and demonstrates an ability and potential to continue to produce valuable work necessary for a successful career as an academic.