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Doctoral Candidacy

Candidacy is the time when doctoral students have demonstrated that they have successfully passed their coursework and have a plan for their research. It is important that students be advised to start working on their research in the first year of doctoral study and to transition to more research as they progress in their program. Programs have reported to us that this transition between coursework and research is a point at which attrition can occur because students feel somewhat disconnected from the department activities. Programs that can offer regular meetings for seminars or other activities will help to keep students engaged while they are beginning their research.

In order to establish candidacy for an individual student, please ensure that the student has completed all coursework and has prepared or will shortly prepare a dissertation prospectus. As program director, please tell faculty to let you know when a student will be ready for candidacy. Many faculty do not know the sequence of events that should happen or the proper forms to use to make this a smooth transition for the student.

Once a candidacy exam has been successfully passed, the program should submit a Doctoral Committee/Candidacy Status Form to inform the College of Graduate Studies of the passing of the exam and the formation or revision of the dissertation advisory committee. Students who fail to do this before the first day of classes for the semester in question will not be allowed to enroll in dissertation hours in that semester. Students enrolling in dissertation hours for the first time during the summer must have their paper work submitted prior to the first day of classes for Summer C, regardless of which summer session they will enroll in.

For the policy, see "Candidacy" in the Doctoral Program Policies in the Graduate Catalog.


The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s, specialist, and doctoral levels. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the University of Central Florida.

Please note the commission's expectation that contact occur only if there is evidence to support significant non-compliance with a requirement or standard. For other information about UCF’s SACSCOC accreditation, please contact the university's SACSCOC liaison in UCF's Office of Academic Affairs.

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