Candidacy encompasses is the first half of the journey to getting a PhD in OILS. This page provides details regarding all of the major milestones associated with the first part of the program.

Program of Studies Committee

Each doctoral student will be assisted by a Program of Studies Committee in planning their Program of Studies. This program will be designed to foster a fundamental knowledge of the major field both in depth and in breadth. It will also include a supporting minor field.

The Program of Studies Committee should be appointed during the first semester enrolled. The Committee consists of at least three regular faculty members. The chair and second member of the Program of Studies Committee must be regular faculty members in the OILS Program. The third member is from another program or department and supervises the student’s minor.

The basic role of the Program of Studies Committee is to plan, with the student, an integrated individual program of study and research meeting general and program requirements. The Committee Chairperson and its members will collectively approve the program and oversee its execution. Additional functions of the Committee include:

  • Establishment of prerequisites when needed
  • Recommendation of transfer of credit
  • Certification of proficiency in required inquiry skills
  • Approval of significant changes in the Program of Studies
  • Serving as the Comprehensive Examination Committee

Mid-Point Review

For students admitted to the Doctoral Program prior to Fall 2014, the midpoint review should be scheduled after the student completes a minimum of 12 hours (including a minimum of 6 hours from the OILS concentration), and before 30 hours are completed following admission to the Doctoral Program.

For students admitted to the Doctoral Program in Fall 2014 and later, the midpoint review should be scheduled after the student completes between 12-21 credit hours, but not more than 24 credit hours (including a minimum of 6 credits in doctoral level seminars in OILS, 3 credits in a research methods course, and 3 credits with the minor advisor), following admission to the Doctoral Program. This is a formal review by the Doctoral Program of Studies Committee. The purpose is to:

  1. Reassess the admission decision
  2. Review performance and progress
  3. Recommend continuance or termination
  4. Formalize the Doctoral Program of studies if continuation is recommended

It is critically important that this review is conducted in a timely manner as the committee makes the decision on continuation or termination at this point.

See the Midpoint Policies and Procedures available below and under Current Students> Forms for full details on conducting a Midpoint Reivew.

Midpoint Review Policies and Procedures

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination Guidelines

As stated in the UNM Catalog, "A doctoral student must pass a Comprehensive Examination in the major field of study. This examination, which may be written, oral or both, is not limited to the areas of the student's coursework, but tests the student's grasp of the field as a whole." Please check the OILS Doctoral Comprehensive Guidelines, for complete details.

See the Comprehensive Examination Guidelines available below and under Current Students > Forms for full details on completing your Comps.

Comprehensive Examination Guidelines


Admission to graduate study does not imply admission to candidacy for a degree. The doctoral student must apply for and be admitted to candidacy for the degree. The Application for Doctoral Candidacy form, the vehicle which formally summarizes the student's Program of Studies must be signed by the student’s Doctoral Program of studies committee in order to apply for candidacy. The student should submit this application just prior to taking the Comprehensive Examination through the major advisor.

Final approval, by which the student is formally advanced to candidacy by the Dean of Graduate Studies, is given only after the Office of Graduate Studies ascertains that (a) the inquiry skills requirement and the (b) Comprehensive Examination requirements have been met.

Download the Application for Candidacy Form from the OGS website.

Questions about the PhD Program?


PhD Program Contact

Victor Law
OILS Program Director
(505) 277-2565


242 Zimmerman Library

Ph.D. Forms

Comprehensive Exam Guidelines

Mid-point review policies and procedures

Mid-point review form

Program of Study Planning Grid

Thesis Committee Form