Admission to Candidacy

Policy in Catalog:
MS Degree Requirements in the School of Marine Science Graduate Catalog
PhD Degree Requirements in the School of Marine Science Graduate Catalog

Provisional Approval Timeline for RG Status


Admission to Candidacy & RG Status (DocuSign | View Sample)
RG Status Only (DocuSign | View Sample)

Note: As soon as the DocuSign PowerForm is initiated by the student, the template will route automatically to committee members and approvers for signatures. If you have questions about DocuSign, please contact the SMS Registrar.

General Information:

A student may be admitted to candidacy after the completion of the following requirements:

  1. Completed the SMS core and departmental requirements.
  2. Achieved a grade point average of 3.0 or better, averaged over all courses taken for credit at the time of application for admission to candidacy.
  3. Passed the comprehensive exam milestone. (Ph.D. students only).
  4. Completed the qualifying exam and prospectus acceptance milestones.

A student will be admitted to candidacy upon a favorable recommendation of the student's advisory committee and the Academic Status and Degrees Committee (ASDC), followed by a majority vote of the Academic Council (AC) and the approval of the Associate Dean of Academic Studies.

Note: ASDC generally meets three times per year at the beginning of each semester in late August, early January, and early June. Once the action is recommended by ASDC, the approval process could take an additional 2-3 weeks depending on the AC meeting schedule.

Ph.D. students also receive a one-time $500 increase in their annual stipend beginning with the next W&M payroll period after candidacy has been achieved. The stipend increase is processed by the Administrative Assistant in Academic Studies.

Eligibility for Research Graduate Status (RG Status):

A full-time graduate student who has achieved candidacy may apply for Research Graduate (RG) Status. Master's students are eligible for a single semester. For doctoral students, RG Status will commence in the first full semester following admission to candidacy and will continue through a student's normative graduation date (graduation milestone) as determined by the faculty of the SMS. Refer to the SMS Graduate Catalog for full details. Awarding of RG Status is contingent on the availability of Institute funds.

To reduce the number of forms, the admission to candidacy form now includes a section related to RG status. Eligible students may also receive provisional approval for RG status if they meet the posted deadlines for the upcoming fall or spring semester. View Provisional Approval Timeline

Updated: November 17, 2022 by J. Hay