Advancing to Candidacy

Students need to file for advancement to candidacy no later than the end of the semester following the one in which the qualifying examination is successfully passed. So, a student following the normal schedule in the Vision Science program who passes his or her QE by the end of the Spring of their second year, is expected to submit the Advancement to Candidacy form (found on CalCentral) by December of the same year.


Forming the thesis committee and writing a thesis proposal are the main requirements for advancing to candidacy. Students are expected to meet with their thesis committee to discuss their specific aims and research plans. The Exploratory/Development Research Proposal from the qualifying exam can be used as a draft/template to prepare the final thesis proposal, but this is not required.

Thesis Proposal

As part of the advancement to candidacy, students are required to prepare a thesis proposal for approval by the thesis committee. The thesis proposal must be completed within one semester after completing the QE. A student following the normal schedule would complete the thesis proposal by the end of the first semester of the third year – at the same time that the Advancement to Candidacy form is filed.

Students are expected to work closely with their research mentor to prepare the proposal. In many cases, the student’s research project is part of a larger research project in the mentor’s laboratory.

Thesis Committee

For the most up-to-date listing of UC Berkeley Graduate Division rules, please see the Guide to Graduate Policy.

Thesis Timeline

Thesis research should be completed within 5-6 years of matriculation.

For detailed information on advancing to candidacy, current students should consult the Vision Science Student Handbook, which is on the school intranet site.