Degree Requirements: Advancement to Candidacy

The Application for Candidacy for the Doctoral Degree and *corresponding fees should be submitted to the Graduate Division following successful completion of the Qualifying Examination. This should be completed by the end of the third year. *The university charges a $90 advancement fee; students are encouraged to seek faculty mentor support if help is needed to pay this. 
NOTE:  International students who plan to have Grad Div cover their NRST in Years 3-5 must file the application by the end of the second year. 

Students should hold their dissertation proposal meeting within one year after Advancing to Candidacy.


The Application for Candidacy for the Doctoral Degree is a Higher Degree Committees e-form. Go to CalCentral > My Dashboard > Student Resources > Submit a Form


Criteria for Advancement to Candidacy. To advance to candidacy, the student must fulfill each of the following requirements: 1) pass the qualifying examination; 2) have no more than two courses graded Incomplete; 3) have a minimum 3.0 grade point average in all upper division and graduate work taken in graduate standing; and 4) have made satisfactory progress completing course requirements.


The application requires the names of the proposed Dissertation Committee members. At least two members of the dissertation committee must be from within the Department of Psychology, and defined as holding Academic Senate Status. The committee Chair of the Dissertation Committee may not be the Chair of the Qualifying Exam. You can read more about the configuration requirements for higher degree committees in the guide to graduate policy on the graduate division website. 


Dissertation Advisory Committee for Research


After completing the QE, students are required to meet with their Dissertation Advisory Committee every year, beginning with a Dissertation Proposal meeting within the year following the QE. If it is difficult to convene a meeting with all members at the same time, it is acceptable for a committee member to participate in the meeting remotely (via phone or video conference) or to be absent. However, if absent, the student should arrange a separate meeting with this committee member, preferably in advance of the group meeting.


Regarding constitution of the committee, explaining the role of each member, see:


If a change to the committee membership is sought by the student or is required by the area, the student must submit a Request for Change in Higher Degree Committee form.


The Request for Change in Higher Degree Committee Form is a Higher Degree Committees e-form. Go to CalCentral > My Dashboard > Student Resources > Submit a Form


Dissertation Proposal. All students will be required to submit a Dissertation Proposal to their Dissertation Advisory Committee at least one week before their first meeting. The format of this proposal is to be specified at the level of the area, but generally is expected to take the format of a grant proposal of 5-10 pages in length. (Note: Clinical Science and Social-Personality students should refer to their area-specific documentation regarding the dissertation proposal and the dissertation.)


At the end of the proposal meeting, the student is notified of approval or of sections of the proposal that need revision. The student and committee formally agree what steps are to be taken and set a schedule for the revisions to be completed. The outcome of the meeting is to be recorded on the department’s Report on the Dissertation Proposal Meeting form, and immediately submitted to the Graduate Student Services Advisor at Upon completion of the revisions, the dissertation committee chair will coordinate with the student and committee to review the revisions and either approve the proposal or specify further required revisions.  The revision process may require meetings of the student with the committee or may take place outside a formal meeting, as determined by the dissertation committee chair. 

The Report on the Dissertation Proposal Meeting form is in bCourses > Psychology Graduate Students > Files > Degree Milestones > Dissertation 


Annual Review of Doctoral Candidates. The Graduate Council of the Academic Senate requires an annual Doctoral Candidacy Review for all doctoral students after they advance to candidacy until they complete their program. The report is designed to assist doctoral students and their dissertation chair to stay on track with advising and other supportive activities to help facilitate the completion of doctoral work in a timely manner.  Each student who has advanced to doctoral candidacy must meet with at least two members of their dissertation committee, and in conjunction with their Committee chair complete the Doctoral Candidacy Review (DCR) through CalCentral. The DCR is initiated by the student in CalCentral. The committee chair (in the case of co-chairs, the chair inside the department) completes the DCR based on consultation with at least one other member of the dissertation committee and discussion with the student. You can read this policy in the Graduate Division Degrees handbook. And for more details on the review process, visit the Grad Div Doctoral Candidacy Review webpage

Dissertation. Students should refer to Graduate Division's Dissertation Filing Guidelines.


Doctoral degrees are conferred three times a year, in December, May, and August.  (Please note that the annual commencement ceremony for the Department is in May). The filing deadline for each semester is the last business day of that semester. Specific deadline dates are available on Graduate Division's website: Filing and Form Submission Deadlines.


The Department requires two digital copies of the dissertation in Portable Document Format (PDF): one copy to the dissertation committee chair and one copy to the Graduate Student Services Advisor.


Reconstitution of Committee. Occasionally it is necessary to change the members of a master’s thesis committee, a QE committee, or a doctoral dissertation committee. In such instances, the student is to complete the Request for Change in Higher Degree Committee e-form.


The Request for Change in Higher Degree Committee Form is a Higher Degree Committees e-form. Go to CalCentral > My Dashboard > Student Resources > Submit a Form