section III, article 5

Candidacy status is an indication that a doctoral scholar has developed sufficient mastery of a discipline to advance towards the PhD. The scholar will rely on this foundation to produce an original research contribution in their field in the form of the dissertation.


PhD scholars are eligible for candidacy when they have earned at least 54 credit hours at the 500 level or above. All incomplete (I) and In Progress (IP) grades must be resolved. Candidates must be in good standing with the program. Scholars must also complete the following before entering candidacy:

  • Rotations
  • JPE: LGS Ethics course JPE 600 (JPE 610 may be completed after entering candidacy) 
  • Chemistry JPE Requirements
  • Second Year Qualifying Exam
  • TATTO: TATT 600 & TATT 605 (x 2 semesters)
  • Six chemistry courses (or equivalent course release based on transfer coursework) with a minimum G.P.A. of 2.7


Scholars should enter candidacy as soon as all requirements have been completed. Scholars must reach candidacy by September 15 of their fourth year. Scholars who do not meet this deadline will be placed on academic probation, will not be eligible for PDS funds, and may forfeit financial support. These sanctions will be lifted when the scholar enters candidacy.

How to Apply

Scholars enter candidacy by submitting the application to enter candidacy, available on the LGS website. Chemistry will confirm that all program requirements have been met and LGS will confirm that remaining requirements have been met. Scholars are considered “in candidacy” when the Dean has approved the application to enter candidacy.

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Next: IV: Milestones

Third Year Milestone

section IV, article 2

Proposal development is a critical skill for scientists. The ability to recognize problems and creatively address them is key to success in research and teaching. Scholars who develop research proposals also practice critical thinking, learn to evaluate the work of others, and become more familiar with the scientific literature. 

In the third year, scholars will be required to write three one-page research proposals. 

Topic Requirements

  • One proposal may be an optimized form of the scholar’s proposal from the proposal writing course
  • Two proposals must detail an idea for research outside of what is being conducted in the scholar’s home group

Content Requirements

  1. Identify the problem.
  2. Identify known approaches to solving the problem and assess the merits and demerits of each.
  3. Propose a solution to the problem.
  4. Describe expected outcomes and implications of proposals.

Format Requirements

Each proposal should be written using the “quad sheet” format taught in the proposal course. A quad sheet format template is available on the website.

Assessment Criteria

Faculty feedback will be provided based on the following:

  • Importance of the problem and the need for a new approach;
  • Logical development of the problem and new idea;
  • Creativity of the scholar’s solution to the problem;
  • Quality of the writing.

Assessment Timeline

Third Year Milestone and Scholar Standing

Scholars who fail to have three proposals approved by the end of the spring semester in the third year will receive a “U” research grade and be placed on academic probation. Scholars who fail to achieve three “S” grades by the end of the summer semester may be recommended for termination from the program.

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Next: Fourth Year Milestone