A student is designated a "Candidate for a Ph.D. degree" upon application to the graduate school, after completing the written, oral and foreign language exams (if required by the program; our program no longer has a foreign language requirement) and 36 credits of approved course work. This marks the official beginning of the student's dissertation work.
Advancing to Candidacy in the Ph.D. Program
Doctoral Candidacy is a formal designation by the graduate school which signifies that a student has passed the preliminary requirements and is involved in research for the dissertation.
Once a student has completed their qualifying examinations and foreign language exams and most of their course work, they should work with the graduate program secretary to apply to the graduate school for Advancement to Candidacy.