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Advancement to Candidacy

Candidacy Examination

The candidacy examination is a written exam consisting of essay questions, administered the week before classes begin for the student’s fourth semester. The exam is constructed by the EDTHP faculty and will include questions from the EDTHP courses that the student took in the first three semesters.

The faculty will use a common rubric to evaluate the exams; the assessment of the exam will focus on whether or not the student has demonstrated the level of writing and reasoning expected of a doctoral student. Exams will be assigned one of the following four grades:

4) high doctoral pass
3) pass at the doctoral level
2) fail at Ph.D. level/pass at the master’s level
1) failed at both Ph.D. and Masters level 

If the student fails any or all questions on the candidacy exam, the faculty will identify the specific weaknesses so that the student may prepare to retake either specific parts of the exam or the entire exam. Students who fail at least half of the exam will be asked to retake the exam or leave at the master’s level. Students will be given one opportunity to retake the exam when the exam is next offered. Students who do not pass after the second administration of the candidacy exam will end doctoral studies in EDTHP at the completion of the semester in which the second exam results are received and may be eligible for a master’s degree. Once a student passes the candidacy exam, he/she may be advanced to candidacy.

Candidacy Portfolio

After passing the candidacy exam, the student must prepare a candidacy portfolio as soon as possible. It includes:

  1. current unofficial transcript (obtain from LionPath);
  2. letter(s) of support from the advisor and doctoral committee chair (if advisor and chair are different); Content will include research topic;
  3. brief dissertation summary;
  4. completed EDTHP Doctoral Plan of Study (Appendix C) (obtain from EDTHP handbook or EDTHP staff assistant);
  5. completed EDTHP Doctoral Committee (Appendix D) (obtain from EDTHP handbook or EDTHP staff assistant); and an
  6. evaluation letter provided by the faculty with whom the student has worked as a graduate assistant, if applicable

The student should submit the portfolio to his/her academic adviser, who will attach a letter of support and turn in the entire packet to the EDTHP program office.  The portfolio will be reviewed by the entire EDTHP faculty, and after it is approved, the result of the candidacy examination will be forwarded to GES and noted on the candidate’s academic transcript. It is expected the candidacy portfolio will be completed by the end of the semester in which the student has passed the candidacy exam.

For students who enroll with higher qualifications (already have completed much doctoral coursework elsewhere), advisers can petition the EDTHP faculty for modification of the typical procedure for advancement to doctoral candidacy, and faculty will decide these on a case-by-case basis.

Students should plan to defend their dissertation proposal (comprehensive exam) the academic year following their advancement to candidacy.

Time Limitation

A student is required to complete the proposed program of study within eight years of the date of acceptance as a candidate. The Graduate School bases this calculation on the date the candidacy examination was passed, not on the date the result is received by Graduate Enrollment Services.