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Doctoral Candidacy


To describe expectations during the candidacy period of doctoral study, including committee appointment and post-comprehensive enrollment.

Applies to: 

All Lawrence/Edwards Campus Graduate students.

Policy Statement: 

Admission and Doctoral Candidacy

Upon admission to a graduate program, the applicant becomes an aspirant. Admission to graduate study does not imply admission to candidacy for a higher degree. A student becomes a candidate for an advanced degree only by demonstrating the requisite preparation and ability through resident study at KU. Requirements specified to reach candidacy or to earn an advanced degree must be regarded as minimum requirements. Additional requirements depend on the student's undergraduate preparation and the particular field of graduate work chosen.

Mentorship of Candidates

Upon passing the comprehensive oral examination, the aspirant becomes a candidate for the doctorate. If it has not begun before, the traditional, close student-mentor apprenticeship relationship comes into being. The student is expected to learn by both precept and example of the mentor, and often in collaboration. The aspirant explores the chosen field of scholarship using acquired research tools. The principles and customs of academic inquiry and the codes of ethics traditional to the various disciplines and professional fields become part of the student’s thinking and working.

When the student passes the comprehensive oral examination, the Graduate Division of the appropriate school designates the candidate’s dissertation committee based on the recommendations of the candidate’s major department. The dissertation committee must meet the standards set forth in the Doctoral Student Oral Exam Committee Composition policy.

Post-comprehensive Enrollment

Doctoral candidates are required, after passing the comprehensive oral examination, to be continuously enrolled each fall and spring semester in one (1) or more hours of dissertation or programmatically equivalent coursework (for example, document hours for DMA students) that both moves the student towards degree completion and reflects, as accurately as possible, the candidate’s demands on faculty time and university facilities. During this time, until all requirements for the degree are completed (including the filing of the dissertation) or until 18 post-comprehensive hours have been completed (whichever comes first), the candidate must enroll for a minimum of 6 hours a semester.

Post-comprehensive enrollment may include enrollment during the semester or summer session in which the comprehensive oral examination has been passed. If after 18 hours of post-comprehensive enrollment the degree is not completed, the candidate must continue to enroll each semester until all degree requirements have been met. The number of hours of each enrollment must be determined by the candidate’s advisor and must reflect as accurately as possible the candidate’s demands on faculty time and university facilities.


Graduate Studies
213 Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS 66045

Approved by: 
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Friday, July 17, 2009
Effective on: 
Friday, July 17, 2009
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
doctoral candidacy, dissertation committee, post-comprehensive enrollment
Change History: 

07/07/2023: Fixed broken links, changed approved by to Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor.
08/14/2018: Policy Revision - relocated existing language to more logical location; updated references to committee composition policy. Approved by the Provost 16 July 2018.
01/27/2016: Policy Revision - eliminate post-comp summer enrollment requirement, add purpose statement
01/27/2015: Minor technical edit to Review, Approval & Change History.
10/20/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing)
02/12/2013: Updated by Graduate Studies.

Academic Categories: 
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