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Candidacy Paper

The purpose of the candidacy paper is to show evidence that the potential candidate is capable of conducting, writing, and presenting a novel, comprehensive research project. The candidacy research allows students to develop research competencies under the mentorship of one or more faculty members. Continued graduate student funding is predicated on successfully defending the proposal by specified dates.

  • The candidacy project should be conducted within the school psychology domain
  • The student must demonstrate that the candidacy project is likely to result in an advancement of knowledge in the chosen area
  • The research must include the collection of new data or the novel use of archival data
  • Students work with their research advisor to identify research questions and write a proposal describing the projected research
  • The research may serve as a pilot project for the dissertation if approved by the research advisor.
  • The approval of the University of Houston Committees for the Protection of Human Subjects must be obtained before any data are collected.
  • Students must defend their candidacy proposal before their committee and make any suggested changes prior to carrying out the study.

Once the data are collected and analyzed the student will write a final paper and present it to the committee. The candidacy paper must then be defended in a final defense. With the approval of the School Psychology faculty, students who have completed a quantitative master's thesis may be able to have the candidacy requirement waived.


  • The paper should be of publishable quality following guidelines appropriate for the discipline, e.g., see the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA).
  • The Examining Committee is composed of three members, at least two of whom are full-time faculty members.
  • A faculty member from the Program must direct the preparation of the paper and the defense.
  • The paper must be circulated to the committee members at least five working days prior to the oral examination by an examining Committee. The date, time, and place of the defense will be sent out electronically to College faculty through the Office of Student Services.

At the completion of the candidacy paper defense, the chair completes the Departmental Candidacy Report (Form E), with signatures of the examining committee.