Advancement to Candidacy

About the Advancement to Candidacy form:

  • The ATC form acts as a contract between you, your department, and the university. It lists the specific requirements you must complete before your degree can be awarded.
  • The ATC form must be approved by Graduate Studies before enrolling in and beginning research for the culminating experience course.
  • You can submit the ATC form after completing at least eighteen semester units.
  • Forms are submitted the semester prior to enrollment in the Culminating Experience Course and are due every November and April 1st.
  • ATC form needs to be filled out in coordinator with your program adviser and submitted for final review, approval and signing through the DocuSign ATC Submission Portal.

Instructions on submission:

  1. Find your program specific ATC form (listed below).
  2. Fill out the form accordingly and save the document as a PDF.
  3. Navigate to the ATC Submission Portal, here you will be instructed to upload your ATC PDF.

Important: Please only use the link above to start the ATC form routing process. Once you start the routing process for the ATC submission, make sure to complete the form in ONE session. We advise students first complete and save their ATC as a PDF before navigating to the ATC submission portal. 

Below you can find further instructions on the ATC Submission Portal

  • Enter the information prompted in the required fields:
    1. Your name and SFSU email address
    2. The name and SFSU email address of your Graduate Program Advisor
    3. The name and SFSU email address of your Department Chair/Graduate Program Coordinator (Find your Graduate Program Coordinator at:
    4. (Optional) You can send a completed copy of the form to an additional party of your choosing.

Note: Biology students should enter Giovanna Tuccori ( Creative Writing MA & MFA students should enter Katherine Kwid (

  • Click "Begin Signing"
  • Fill out the top portion of the form and attach the Advancement to Candidacy Form.
    1. Click the paperclip icon to begin uploading:
    2. Once all documents are attached, you can scroll down to review the uploaded documents. 
  • Click “FINISH” at the top of the page to send the form for Review.

Upon completion, all parties will receive the finalized copy of the form.
Students should review the finalized version in case the form was not approved or comments were added by advisers.

Watch a video on how to submit the ATC (Advancement Candidacy) online now!

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ATC Requirements

For important details on what may be included on your ATC form visit the Graduate Studies Bulletin.

ATC Coursework Substitutions

Occasionally, programs are unable to offer a course listed in the Bulletin as acceptable for the degree. When this occurs necessary paperwork must be submitted to amend the ATC form.


If an elective course is not offered or you have enrolled in a different elective after submission of the ATC, an ATC Substitution Form is required.

Core Coursework

However, if a required core course is not offered, a Petition for Waiver of Graduate Program Regulations must be approved prior to enrolling in substituting course and submitted with the ATC form.

Seven Year Limit

Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations requires that a master’s degree shall be completed in no more than seven years. Coursework expires and cannot be used to meet degree requirements after seven years. You can find when your coursework expires here in the Bulletin using our timeline to Degree Completion Table.

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Download/view the ATC Forms:

Accountancy (with Bachelor in Accountancy)
Accountancy (without Bachelor in Accountancy)
Anthropology (pre fall 2020)
Anthropology (post fall 2020)
Art (M.F.A) (pre fall 2018)
Art (M.F.A) (post fall 2018)
Asian American Studies
Biomedical Biotechnology
Biomedical Stem Cell Science
Biology (Cell and Molecular)
Biology (Integrative)
Biology (Physiology and Behavioral)
Biology (All Concentrations) (prior to 2020 - 2021)
Business Analytics
Business Administration (MBA) Post Spring 2019
Business Administration (MBA) Pre Spring 2019
Business Administration (EMBA)
Cinema (M.F.A)
Cinema Studies
Communicative Dis. Speech Pathology (post fall 2021)
Communicative Dis. Speech Pathology (pre fall 2021)
Communication Studies
Comparative Literature
Computer Science
Counseling: Career Counseling
Counseling: College Counseling
Counseling: Gerontological Counseling
Counseling: MFCC
Counseling: CMHC
Counseling: School Counseling
Creative Writing (MA)
Creative Writing (M.F.A.)
Curriculum and Instruction
Edu: Adult
Edu: Early Childhood
Edu: Educational Administration
Edu: Educational Leadership
Edu: Elementary
Edu: Equity & Social Justice
Edu: Instructional Tech
Edu: Language & Literacy
Edu: Mathematics (Elementary Ed)
Edu: Mathematics (Secondary Ed)
Edu: Secondary
Edu: Special Interest
Engineering (Embedded Electrical & Computer Systems)
Engineering (Energy Systems)
Engineering (Structural/Earthquake Engineering)
English: Composition (post Fall 2019)
English: Composition (pre Fall 2019)
English: Creative Writing
English: Linguistics (post Fall 2019)
English: Linguistics (pre Fall 2019)
English: Literature (post Fall 2019)
English: Literature (pre Fall 2019)
English: TESOL (post Fall 2019)
English: TESOL (pre Fall 2019)
Ethnic Studies
Family & Consumer Sciences
French Opt1
French Opt2
Generic ATC form
Geographic Information Science
Geography (Res Mgmt Envr Plng)
Interdisciplinary Studies: Marine and Estuarine Sciences
International Relations (Academic)
International Relations (Professional)
Japanese (Professional)
Japanese (Teaching)
Kinesiology Exercise
Kinesiology Movement
Kinesiology Physical
Marine Science Post 2015
Marine Science Pre 2015
Mathematics (Post Fall 2020)
Mathematics (Pre Fall 2020)
Museum Studies
Music (Advanced Study)
Music (Composition)
Music (Music History)
Music (Chamber Music)
Music (Conducting)
Music (Solo Classical Performance)
Nursing BSN-MSN Combined
Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner
Political Science
Physics (post fall 2021)
Physics (pre fall 2021)
Physics (Astronomy)
Psychology (Clinical)
Psychology (Developmental)
Psychology (Industrial)
Psychology (Mind, Brain, and Behavior)
Psychology (School)
Psychology (Social)
Public Administration (Pre Fall 2013)
Public Administration (admitted on/after Fall 2013)
Public Health
Quantitative Economics
Sexuality Studies
Social Work (Families)
Social Work (Families Title IV-E)
Social Work (Pupil Credential)
Special Education
Statistical Data Science
Theatre Arts (MA)
Theatre Arts (MFA)
Women and Gender Studies