Academic Progress, Completion Activities and Milestones

Academic Progress and Milestones

Progress toward the PhD degree is guided by academic benchmarks, known as milestones, established and administered by the Social Welfare doctoral program and the UC Berkeley Graduate Division. There are nine academic milestones for the PhD in Social Welfare, summarized below and described in further detail throughout this Handbook:

  1. First Year Comprehensive Exam
  2. Qualifying Paper Proposal
  3. Qualifying Paper Results
  4. Qualifying Examination Eligibility:
    1. Formulate eligible QE Committee.
    2. Declare Fields of Expertise.
    3. Complete all Required Coursework.
  5. Dissertation Prospectus
  6. Qualifying Examination Approval
  7. Qualifying Examination Results
  8. Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy
  9. Dissertation Filed

Pre-candidacy Milestones Summary



Normative Time Deadline

First Year Comprehensive Exam

Comprehensive written exam based upon knowledge gained in SOC WEL 279 and SOC WEL 289A

Exam administered at end of first year in program

Qualifying Paper Proposal

A 2-4 page proposal for the developing and writing the Qualifying Paper

Due by October 15 of 2nd year in PhD program, or 3rd year of Combined MSW/PhD Program

Qualifying Paper (QP)

Preliminary exam (in the form of a single, standalone paper)

Typically completed by end of 2nd year in PhD program or 3rd year in Combined MSW/PhD program

Qualifying Exam  (QE) Eligibility

Formulate eligible QE committee; declare two fields of expertise to be examined on by the QE; complete all Required Coursework

By the end of semester prior to the QE

Dissertation Prospectus

Dissertation research plan and proposed timeline for completion

Approval required no later than four weeks prior to preferred QE date 

Advancement to Candidacy Milestones Summary



Normative Time Deadline

Qualifying Exam Approval

Submit Graduate Division Application for the Qualifying Examination via Higher Degree Committee eForm in CalCentral

Completed application must be received by Graduate Division at least 3 weeks before proposed examination date

Qualifying Exam Results

Report on the Qualifying Examination - eForm in Campus Solutions (submitted by faculty or staff)

Must be submitted to Graduate Division no later than 2 weeks after exam

Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy

Submit Application for Doctoral Candidacy via Higher Degree Committee eForm in CalCentral.

Complete CITI modules if working with human subjects or animals.

Upon passing QE: by end of 3rd year in program

Dissertation Filed

Follow steps outlined in Procedure for Filing Your Dissertation

By end of 5th year in program & according to Graduate Division published Degree Deadlines