University Requirements


To complete a doctoral degree at UCSB, candidates must:

Complete doctoral degree within the department-designated time-to-completion

Doctoral Committee


Nomination of a doctoral committee is required prior to advancement to doctoral candidacy. For details, see Committees.

Doctoral Advancement


Departments set different requirements for the qualifying examination(s) to advance to doctoral candidacy. Students should refer to their department-specific advancement to doctoral candidacy requirements in the General Catalog and department handbook (designated by admission year). Students are not permitted to advance to candidacy while registered In Absentia.

Qualifying Examinations


To take the qualifying exam(s), students must meet the following requirements:

  • Satisfactory completion of all preliminary requirements established by the University and their department (Senate reg. 350D). Students should understand their department-specific requirements as many departments have additional standards above those established by the University
  • Registration in three consecutive quarters prior to the quarter of the qualifying exam(s)
  • Registration (excluding In Absentia) in the quarter taking the qualifying exam(s)
  • An approved doctoral committee on file with the Graduate Division

To advance to doctoral candidacy, students must pass the department-specific written and oral exams conducted by a doctoral committee. (Senate reg. 350D)

After the exam(s), the committee completes and signs the Doctoral Degree Form II, indicating if the student passed or failed. If a student does not pass all or part of the qualifying exam(s), the Committee Chair should submit to the Graduate Division the Doctoral Form II including a brief summary explaining committees' decision and re-examination requirements.

Advancing to Doctoral Candidacy


To advance to doctoral candidacy, students must:

  • Pass the qualifying exams
  • Pay the $50 advancement to candidacy fee charged to your BARC account
  • Submit to Graduate Division the completed Doctoral Form II and Cashier's receipt

After advancing to doctoral candidacy, a student's class level changes to P2 the next registered quarter, non-resident supplemental tuition is waived for nine registered quarters (if applicable), and  additional borrowing privileges are granted at the Davidson Library.

Advancement fees help support graduate student Career and Professional Development resources and events.

Preparing for the Dissertation Defense


When preparing for a dissertation defense, students should:

If you would like to have a Graduate Division Academic Advisor conduct a “pre-check” of your document, feel free to stop by the Graduate Division during business hours, prior to the week of a filing deadline due to the high volume of traffic and limited staff availability. Please print and bring your preliminary pages and several pages from the body of your document when stopping by for a pre-check.

Filing Your Dissertation

For details about the dissertation filing process, visit Filing Your Thesis/Dissertation/DMA Document.

Degree Verification, Transcripts, and Diplomas


Diplomas are automatically mailed to the "diploma address" on record approximately 3-4 months after the date of degree conferral. If you are unable to update your address on GOLD, see Office of Registrar's Address Verification. A charge will automatically be assessed to the student's BARC account for the mailing cost of the diploma. All questions concerning verifications, transcripts, and diplomas should be addressed to the Office of the Registrar.

Graduate Student Commencement


Each June, the Graduate Division coordinates Commencement for all graduate degree and credential candidates.

Posthumous Degrees


For posthumous degree policy, please see Academic Senate Regulation 600. Please contact Academic Services Staff in the Graduate Division for more information on requesting such a degree.