Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

PhD | Candidacy Requirement

Main content start


Students are eligible to apply for candidacy, if the following are applicable:

  • you have a permanent advisor;
  • have completed three Foundation/Breadth requirements (units from waived courses do not count toward the 135-course unit requirement); and
  • have completed at least a three-unit graduate level course (i.e., 200 and above) with each of the four instructors who are members of the academic council as a CS PhD student. Rotations units will count towards this. Courses outside of the CS Department will count as long as they are taught by a Stanford faculty. Performing arts courses will not count.  

Candidacy makes you eligible for a larger stipend and sets in motion your five-year time-clock to complete the rest of your PhD requirements. All students must fulfill their Breadth requirements and file for candidacy by the end of their second year in the program. For detailed information on how to file for candidacy, review the Student Services site.

University Candidacy Requirements

University policy requires that all doctoral students declare candidacy by the end of the sixth quarter in residence, excluding Summers. Once you have a permanent advisor and have completed the Breadth requirements and the three units of coursework with four instructors (faculty that are academic council members) you are eligible to file for candidacy.

Candidacy for Doctoral Degree Application

On the form the student must list 135 units of courses (either completed or planned, a total of 10 units of PE courses can be counted towards this). The form is reviewed and signed first by the student's permanent advisor. The advisor's signature indicates the academic adequacy of the proposed program of study. The form is then reviewed by the program officer to make sure that it accurately reflects the University and Departmental requirements. The candidacy form serves as a "contract" between the Department and the student. The Department acknowledges that the student is a bona fide candidate for the PhD and agrees that the program submitted by the student is sufficient to warrant granting the PhD upon completion. The Department may not change requirements unilaterally. The student may petition the Department for modification of their program.

Candidacy expires five years from the candidacy forms date of submission, rounded to the end of the quarter. In special cases, the Department may extend a student's candidacy, however, is under no obligation to do so. The monthly stipend increases slightly after candidacy is filed. This goes into effect during the quarter following submission and approval of the candidacy form.