The Application for Candidacy for a Doctoral Degree form specifies a departmentally approved program of study to fulfill degree requirements, including required course work, language requirements, teaching requirements, dissertation (final project and public lecture-demonstration for .), and University oral examination (for .). Prior to candidacy, at least 3 units of work must be taken with each of four Stanford faculty members. To reiterate, however, a student will only be admitted to candidacy if, in addition to the student's fulfilling departmental prerequisites, the faculty makes the judgment that the student has the potential to successfully complete the requirements of the degree program.
Obtaining a Masters degree sometimes involves writing and presenting a thesis paper, which includes the outcomes of the student’s thesis work plus references to current and prior research in the field of study. To obtain a PhD, one must usually contribute something original and important to existing research, so the final paper (which is the length of a book) includes both references to existing prior research and, more importantly, a detailed discussion and analysis of the PhD candidate’s research contributions in her or his field.
You may also decide to videotape or audiotape your defense, as it can help you keep track of the reactions, suggestions, and criticisms that you receive. Often your thesis committee members will offer tips for revision. These could be crucial as you revise your work for later publication or development. But you will be so focused on what you need to say next during your thesis defense that you will very likely not remember much of what the professors said after the fact. If you document the session, you will later be able to retrieve and follow the expert advice your thesis committee offered during your defense.