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What Is a Doctoral Candidate?


Informally known as "All But Dissertation" (or ABD), the doctoral candidate has completed all of the requirements for the doctoral degree with the exception of the dissertation. A student usually advances to doctoral candidate once he or she has completed all coursework required for the degree and has passed the doctoral comprehensive exam. As a doctoral candidate, the student's final task is to complete the dissertation.

Unfortunately many doctoral candidates remain in the ABD status for several reasons:

1) difficulty of conducting dissertation research
2) time management and motivational deficits
3) employment that interferes with dissertation research
4) loss of interest.

Doctoral candidates must work independently, which often leads to lengthy periods at the ABD status.

Also Known As: ABD, all but dissertation, PhD candidate

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