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Home » Discover Rackham » Rackham Candidacy Ceremony Celebrates Important Doctoral Milestone

On February 11, 107 Rackham students walked across the stage in a full Michigan League Ballroom to receive a special pin with the letters “PhC,” marking their transition to doctoral candidacy.  Candidacy is reached after doctoral students have passed preliminary exams and taken enough required coursework to become proficient in their field of study and to undertake independent, original research resulting in a dissertation.

“Making progress toward your Ph.D. can sometimes feel like there’s no end in sight,” says Rackham Dean Mike Solomon. “I’m delighted that we can take a moment to formally recognize what students have achieved in reaching this milestone on their academic journey.”

Rackham began the tradition of holding the ceremony in winter 2017. Its popularity has grown since then and is now held in both the fall and winter terms.

“The idea was to acknowledge and celebrate this important turning point,” says Paul Artale, Rackham’s manager for graduate student engagement and organizer of the candidacy ceremony.  “The ceremony is also an opportunity for Rackham to acknowledge and thank the family, friends, faculty, and staff who have contributed to students’ success.”

“The ceremony made me feel appreciated,” says Carolina Rojas Ramirez, a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry. “Even though my family is far away, I felt I had someone to celebrate a very important accomplishment with.”

Bioinformatics Ph.D. candidate Jess Millar says she’s been aware of the candidacy ceremony since first starting doctoral studies at Michigan. Now, after achieving candidacy, Jess received her pin. “It was an incredible moment seeing a room filled with people who made it to the other side, surrounded by their supporters. That was so special and made us all feel the magnitude of this moment.”

For more information on the ceremony, please contact Paul Artale at [email protected].

Browse photos from the event on Rackham’s Facebook page.