An application to candidacy (ATC) should be filed after six semesters of full-time enrollment for a doctoral degree student. In no case, however, should the ATC be filed less than two semesters before the completion of the doctoral degree. You can find the form here.
If a student has completed all required coursework for the core requirements, the major and the minor; and has completed the research paper but has not passed the comprehensive exams, he/she may register for dissertation research. At this stage, the ATC must be submitted.
The ATC does not require submission of an abstract of the dissertation proposal to the Graduate School. The Graduate School bylaws specify, however, that it is the responsibility of the divisional committee to review and approve or disapprove of proposal abstracts. (Section 3.3.1f.)
When the Graduate School receives and approves the student's ATC form, a letter of acceptance to candidacy will be sent to the student with a copy to the Graduate Programs Office for the student's file.