Sueelaine and Randall are referring to the letter from NCU that indicates the student has achieved "All But Dissertation" status (ABD), which is a term not unfamiliar in academia. Personally, unless the school system has a distinction such as ABD, etc. I would not call myself a candidate. For example, my proposal was accepted by UFS a year ago, my title was registered, and I am working on my dissertation. UFS call us "students," so that is what I am. If anyone asks, I just indicate that I am "working on my dissertation."