Rules and regulations for a PhD candidate

Common Rules and Regulations for a PhD candidate

Before, during and after enrolling in the doctor of philosophy, a PhD candidate has to follow several rules and regulations of the university. Some of them are common for all students while some are so crucial which even can terminate your degree, if not followed.

A PhD degree– the doctor of philosophy is for those who are willing to endure and give knowledge without hesitation. It literally means related to knowledge- the love of wisdom. 

So we can expect a high level of sincerity and discipline from a PhD candidate, Right! But it is not a case for all. 

To maintain the dignity of the degree because after all, it is the highest achievement in education, All the candidates who are enrolling in a PhD as a student should have to follow rules and regulations designed by universities. 

Although a PhD candidate and PhD student are different.

In the present article, I will make you aware of what rules a PhD candidate has to follow in PhD. Also in the last segment of this article, we will discuss how the PhD candidate and PhD student are different. 

To be a PhD candidate, your journey starts when you dream about it, obviously in masters or MPhil. From the very first day you think of doing a PhD, start preparing for a PhD. 

Here is where your journey started!

But you become a PhD candidate once you complete the admission procedure and the coursework. Probably when you start your research (from the second year) you are considered as a PhD candidate.

Now let us first understand who the PhD candidate is! 

Who is a PhD candidate? 

A student who has completed all the requirements for a degree of PhD is known as a PhD candidate. If you are in the PhD and willing to go into it this information may help you. 

Based on their role, A PhD candidate can be classified in several categories. 

Research assistant: 

During the entire tenure of PhD a candidate is temporarily employed in the college under the title of ‘research assistant’. A research assistant has to do his or her research work as well as other academic stuff associated with the college or university. 

Universities pay salaries for that. They have to do full-time work and a job too, however, after completion of their PhD, they don’t remain research assistance. 

The post is valid for 4 to 5 years or for the tenure a person does do their PhD. 

External PhD candidate: 

The external PhD candidate is neither a regular research candidate nor an employee of university. University doesn’t arrange research facilities for these candidates. The candidates are responsible to arrange  research facilities and fund. 

Their regular attendance is also not required. However, they are independent, universities only give a supervisor to them. They have to carry the economical burden by themself. 

Guest PhD candidate: 

The Guest PhD candidate visits university other than their own for some time. They have to visit other universities as a part of university student exchange programs. 

Based on the facilities available at the other university, a supervisor designs research work for a candidate. For a few months or a year, a candidate remains there and does do their research. 

Usually, the university students exchange programs are university or government funded. Hence a candidate doesn’t need to pay for it. 

Staff PhD candidate: 

Sometimes universities allow their own staff members to do PhD in their place, if it is necessary to further progress of a person and the university needs it. 

University never pays for it though. A person has to pay fees from his or her salary. 

International PhD candidate: 

An international PhD candidate is selected based on their performance or some entrance exams they had cleared to achieve it. 

Much like the guest PhD candidate, the international PhD candidate visits some other international university for sometime. All the expenses are paid by the government in this case. 

What Rules and Regulations a PhD candidate has to follow? 

Note that this section included general rules and regulations followed by every university, however, It may vary from university to university. 

Maintain the dignity of the esteem. 

PhD is a great responsibility. You have to be sincere to achieve that esteem. Yes, obviously it is hard to get but some treat it like a playtime. Every guide should have to be strict in terms of PhD research.

The rules of PhD must be complied with by all the candidates and that is the responsibilities of all PhD supervisors. 

So the first rule for a PhD candidate is to follow all the rules and regulations of PhD. 

Submission of certificates and documents: 

All the certified documents related to the PhD must be submitted before enrolling. With the application, a PhD candidate has to submit all their certificates and mark sheets of master and other important documents to the university. Some important certificate are: 

  1. Proof of nationality 
  2. Mark sheets of Masters and bachelors 
  3. Degree certificate of masters or MPhil.
  4. Degree certificate of bachelors 
  5. Certificate of clearance of entrance exam if needed 
  6. School living 
  7. University transfer certificate 
  8. IELTS or TOEFL score if needed 

Note that, Their admission is not completed until they submit certificates and other documents.

A PhD proposal and title: 

A PhD proposal and the PhD title is the unique identity of your research work and a property of the candidate as well the PhD guide. 

In any case, the Phd title or proposal should not be matched or shared with others. If someone stole your title and your title gets into plagiarism during the final submission. 

You are not allowed to submit the thesis. And you get trapped in legal procedures to defend your title. So it is better to approve your PhD title and proposal prior to starting your work. 

To approve it, submit it to your PhD supervisor as well as the university PhD department. Also if possible try to submit it to the central government’s PhD committee. 


All the regular PhD candidates have to visit their university or college regularly. 80% attendance should be maintained by them during the year and of course every year.

In the case of a part-time PhD candidate, as per the university rules and regulations, he or she has to visit their faculty or college or supervisor in a month or in six months. 

Below 80% attendance is not tolerable. 

Progress report: 

Every PhD candidate has to submit their progress report every six months. The progress report must be pre-approved by the supervisor and faculty head. He or she isn’t allowed to go next semester if they fail to submit the progress report.

A progress report should have indicated the progress of every six months in terms of research as well as academics.

Note that the progress report must have to be submitted to the fellowship or scholarship authorities too. 

Daily attendance:

The PhD candidate has to remain present form 10 am to 5 pm as per the college timetable. However, you have to remain present in your lab until your supervisor lets you go. 

You have to stay after college hours if your PhD supervisor wants. Usually you and your guide are busy in lectures and labs during college, so most of the time you have to do your research work after or before the college starts and ends, respectively. 

I can say, for at least 2 years you have to reach college at 8 am morning and to stay there 7.30 pm evening. 

Once you have completed your research work, you no need to give extra time. 

The PhD thesis: 

Much like your title and PhD proposal, your PhD thesis is also considered a key factor for your degree. Without a well-written PhD draft- a thesis, you can’t be eligible to appear in the PhD viva

So in order to get a PhD degree you need to write a PhD thesis. We have written articles on PhD thesis and how to write it. You can read it here: 

  1. How to write a PhD thesis?
  2. 16 proven tips to write a thesis for PhD 

A research paper: 

During the entire tenure of your PhD, as a PhD candidate publishing a single research paper is mandatory. Although, some universities want two publications viz a research paper and a review paper to submit a final thesis. 

We can say, a published research paper is a criteria to submit a PhD thesis. 

These are the major rules, we can say key rules that must be followed by a PhD candidate, if he or she fails, they may not get a degree or their admission may be terminated in between. 

Besides these major rules and regulations, he or she also has to follow some others rules as well. 

A PhD candidate should not be involved in any criminal activity, in the meantime. 

He or she has to follow all the orders given by their supervisor. 

They have to fulfil all the requirements of college or university and behave as per college’s own rules. For instance, if a college decides a dress code for students, all the candidate has to follow it. 

They should have to take part in college and university activities like youth festivals, cultural events and other co-curriculums. 

They have to do academic work as well if ordered by college or supervisor such as taking lectures, exam supervision, checking exam papers, preparing marksheets and other office work of college. 

Now coming to the second part of this article, Is a PhD candidate and a PhD student are different? If yes, then what are the differences between PhD candidate and PhD student. 

Related article: Grammarly your PhD writing assistant.

PhD candidate vs PhD student

A student is called as a candidate when he or she has completed all the requirements for the degree. 

So you can call yourself a phD candidate if you have completed all the requirements for your degree. 

Usually, a person who has completed a PhD examination/ entrance exam or selected for a PhD during a mock test is known as a PhD student. Till, he or she is not allowed to do PhD research and henceforth, their admission may get canceled, unless they fulfil other requirements. 

Contrary, once a PhD student completes the course work, which is mandatory for first year, they may be considered as PhD candidate, now they can continue their original research work. 

To be a PhD candidate, a PhD student has to first submit all the documents, approve their proposal and complete course work. 

Notably, different universities have different explanations for PhD candidates and PhD students. Some also consider both similar. 

Simply put, as a PhD student you have to be prepared to be a PhD candidate. 

Responsibilities of a PhD candidate: 

PhD candidates are either enrolled by fellowship or direct, in any case they have to take some responsibilities in their organisation. 

Now they are allowed to do extensive research thus they have to take care of all the instruments, utilities and other properties of the university they are using. 

They have to do other academic stuff as well, allotted by their guide. Like paper work, lectures, examination and routine college works. 

They have to visit other colleges, seminars, symposiums as per their PhD guide’s instructions. 

In addition to all these, though their project or work is funded, they have to manage their funds or sometimes have to utilize it in other candidates’ works if their supervisor instructs them. 

Also they have to develop a sense of responsibilities to share things with other colleagues. 

In some cases, the university may order you to travel to some other places, in those cases, you have to obey the orders given by the university and your supervisor. 

You are a PhD candidate, not a regular student, you have to be a little flexible to get a PhD degree. That is the reason we are calling it as a toughest one to achieve. 


A PhD degree is most versatile once, one has to be responsible. If you are a part-time student that doesn’t mean you may escape. Both regular, as well as part-time candidates, have to follow rules of university and college. 

The rules for online PhD-candidate may different, though. Read rules and regulations of university carefully before enrolling into PhD.  

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