Select Page
Home » Navigating Your Degree » Candidacy Requirements

Candidacy Requirements

A student may advance to candidacy after fulfilling all departmental coursework requirements and passing prelims. Programs submit the request for advancement to candidacy online. An audit for advancing to candidacy includes verifying the following information:


The program name submitted must match the active program on the unofficial transcript. If the program is an IIDP/SIDP or paired with Scientific Computing, there must be approval from each department in the online system.


18 credit hours (CTPs) of non- 990, non-visit, graded (including courses for which a student receives a “S” Satisfactory) graduate coursework registered as a Rackham student.


4 hours of graduate cognate coursework (grade B- or better). If the cognate requirement is met by a cross- listed course or “in spirit” from coursework outside U-M, please list on the cognate line on the form.

Time to Candidacy

If it’s been more than three years since the student started the program, a Petition for Modification or Waiver of Regulation asking for an extension for time to candidacy may be required.

Prelim Registration

Deadlines for prelims for each term are listed on our website. There must be a registration for the date that’s on the form in the Preliminary Date field. Exceptions:

If the student was registered full-time (8 hours, 6 if the student is a GSI, GSSA or GSRA) Fall and Winter they could have a prelim date in May or if the student was registered full-time Fall, Winter and either Spring or Summer (4 hours, 3 if the student is a GSI, GSSA or GSRA), they get the other term (Spring or Summer) to use for the prelim date.


There must be a bachelor’s or bachelor’s equivalent degree posted to the student’s unofficial transcript before a student may be advanced. The posting will list the dates of degree, institution, and the degree citation (B.A., B.S., etc.).


Student’s minimum cumulative GPA must be a 3.0 (B) or higher.

RCRS (Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship Training)

Effective for new students in the fall 2014 term, all Ph.D. students are required to complete training in the responsible conduct of research and scholarship before advancing to candidacy.

Additional Candidacy Information


If a student is registered for 990 in the term they advance, the registration will be changed by the Registrar’s Office to 8 hours (in a full term) of 995. If they have not registered for 990 or 995 but have registered for any other course, 8 hours of 995 will be added to their record for that term. The Registrar’s Office makes these changes and tuition adjustments approximately the third week of class or monthly thereafter.


The Recommendation for Candidacy is due to Rackham three weeks into the term for which the advancement is requested. We will accept the requests up until the last day of classes for that term, but often students need the candidacy on their academic record for visa purposes or financial/fellowship reasons. Advancement to candidacy will not be processed retroactively.

Additional Course Benefit (“Free” Course)

When a student enrolls in “Candidacy 995,” they are allowed a benefit of one additional course per full term without paying additional tuition. If they do not elect an additional course during that term the additional course is banked and a student may then select two additional courses during a subsequent term of Candidacy 995 enrollment.

A “banked” course must be used concurrently with a “Candidacy 995” enrollment, and only one course may be “banked” at any given time (i.e., no more than 2 additional courses can be taken during any given term). Courses may not be elected in anticipation of future “banking” (i.e., cannot elect two additional courses in one term, planning to take none the following term).

If a student has registered for two or more courses beyond the “Candidacy 995” (and banked course is not applicable), be aware that only ONE of the courses (the one with higher credit hours) is tuition-free. You may wish to have the student withdraw from the extra course.

As stipulated in the GEO contract for GSIs and GSSAs and the University’s policy for GSRAs, students with at least a .237 (GSI, GSSA) or .25 (GSRA) appointment receive a full tuition waiver regardless of candidacy status. Any student who wishes to add extra courses during the term of appointment should contact their department regarding augmented tuition policies.

Contact Academic Records and Dissertations

0120 Rackham Building
915 E. Washington St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070
Phone: 734.763.0171
Fax: 734.936.1809


Academic Records and Dissertations is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The office is closed Saturdays and Sundays and on the following holidays: Thanksgiving (Thursday and the following Friday), Christmas through New Year's, Memorial Day, Independence Day (July 4), and Labor Day.