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This section provides information about Transfer of Status, including links to relevant regulations and useful information and resources.

Transfer of Status

Contents of this section  (please scroll down to see each):





Introduction and key stages of transfer

The purpose of Transfer of Status is to make sure that your student has a convincing research proposal, is making satisfactory progress, and to satisfy transfer assessors that the work is potentially of DPhil or MSc (R) quality. 

This information summarises Divisional and University requirements and guidance. Follow the links provided for detailed information. Please note that processes for the transfer assessment vary from subject to subject so your department will have specific requirements, deadlines and templates and it is essential that you find out what these are. Your graduate studies secretary or administrator will be able to help and advise you. If you are supervising a student on a doctoral training programme and they are now undertaking their project/research in a department in another division, please check what the requirements are with the relevant divisional/department contact

All research students are admitted to the University as Probationer Research Student and are expected to transfer to MSc by research or DPhil status by the end of their fourth term. For students on doctoral training programmes, transfer of status must take place and be achieved no later than six terms after admission. The assessors will also be evaluating whether the proposed work will make a ‘significant and substantial contribution’ to the student’s field of study for DPhil or a ‘worthwhile contribution’ for MSc(R).

When reviewing and assessing the student’s work, it is important that your expectations of the student are moderated by the student’s previous academic background and the point they have reached in their DPhil/MSc (R) studies, as the transfer process is still an early stage in their research career. Supervisors of students who have moved from a doctoral training programme where their research/work is/has been more of an interdisciplinary nature should also moderate their expectations to take account of this.

All students are required to complete the University’s online Research Integrity training course before applying for Transfer of Status.

The key stages of the transfer process in MPLS are:

  • Preparation: It is advisable to familiarise yourself, as supervisor, with the requirements for transfer of status as soon as possible, and perhaps to consider how preparation for transfer can be part of day to day work, rather than your student having to approach it as an isolated process.
  • Ensure that you and the student have defined and agreed the proposed research project.
  • MPLS Preparing for Transfer of Status form. This form has been created to be used in supervisions/meetings to support the student in reflecting on their level of preparedness for the transfer assessment. You should actively encourage the student to engage with it, and ideally base a supervision session around it to go through it. This will also help you and the student identify if there are any specific areas where they might still need help. Download the Preparing for Transfer of Status form as a Word document or you can view the Preparing for Transfer of Status form as a webpage
  • All students are required to produce some form of work specifically for the transfer process which you should review and provide feedback on before it is submitted for assessment.
  • Student completes the online GS0.2 application for transfer of status, and any subject specific forms. This will include a statement from you as their supervisor.
  • Appointment of transfer assessors. Assessors must always be independent of the supervisor and will normally be appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies, who may ask you for suggestions. See the divisional guidelines.
  • Transfer examination takes place.
  • Assessors complete and submit the appropriate transfer report form. Your department will have specific requirements for assessment so the assessors must use the department report forms. The divisional templates are provided here for information only; they include guidance for assessors and information about the possible outcomes. 

key university documents and regulations

The University's Policy on research Degrees

Section 7 of the University’s Policy on Research degrees, which covers examination

The University's key milestones for DPhil students and key milestones for MSc (R) students

Key timings for DPhil students (external PDF)

Examination Regulations – General Regulations Governing Research Degrees

GS0.2 form (application for transfer of status)


Examination regulations for Research Degrees in the MPLS Division

Subject Specific Examination Regulations: 

MPLS Progress flowcharts for DPhil Students, MSc (R) Students and Doctoral Training Programmes

MPLS Preparing for Transfer of Status form: download as a Word document or you can view the Preparing for Transfer of Status form as a webpage  

Assessor report forms (Divisional Template)

MPLS Student webpages on progression

other useful resources

online course and departmental supervisor briefings

The Centre for Teaching and Learning has developed and online course, DPhil Supervision in the Sciences. It is designed as a guide to DPhil supervision at Oxford and covers: 

  • Key information 
  • The DPhil life cycle
  • Key responsibilities of supervisors
  • Co-supervision
  • Establishing an effective working relationship
  • Supporting academic writing and feedback provision
  • Supporting research students with particular needs
  • Students' career development
  • Resources and support for supervisors

The course takes an estimated two to three hours to complete and it is recommended that participants take the course over more then one sitting. 

Some departments also organise briefing and discussion sessions for their supervisors, which are useful opportunities to update yourself on regulations and processes, and to share practice and discuss experiences. Please contact your Director of Graduate Studies to find out if your department is planning such a session. 

DPhil training courses

MPLS Divisional training courses for DPhil students


Vitae have a series of resources on Supervising and Managing Researchers. Vitae is a national organisation providing support for realising the potential of researchers and supporting their professional and career development.