Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

This section contains information about transfer and confirmation of status, and the removal from the register process following unsatisfactory performance.

Click on the following links to find a useful checklist for you to use to aid you through your studies, and some flow charts that provide an outline of the usual student research career, DPhilMSc by Research and Doctoral Training Programmes.

Transfer of status

Click on the following link to find a useful checklist for you to use to support you through the preparations for your transfer of status assessment.  It maps directly to the assessment forms that your assessors will be using so the criteria are transparent.

What is the transfer of status?

As a new research student you will first be admitted as a Probationer Research Student (PRS). The purpose of the transfer process is to ensure that you have a convincing research proposal, that you are making satisfactory progress in its development, and to satisfy the assessors that the work is potentially of DPhil or MSc by Research quality.

Timing for transfer of status

At the time of transfer it will be necessary to decide whether to apply for transfer to MSc by Research or DPhil status. Transfer of status must take place and be achieved no later than four terms after admission, subject to any specific regulations. You are advised to apply to transfer status before the end of eighth week of the fourth term from admission, in order to allow sufficient time for the process to be completed.

Doctoral Training Programmes

For students on a Doctoral Training Programme transfer of status must take place and be achieved no later than six terms after admission, subject to any specific regulations. You are advised to apply to transfer status before the end of the fifth term from admission and no later than the end of eighth week of the sixth termin order to allow sufficient time for the process to be completed.

Regulations relating to the timing of transfer of status

The Special Regulations of the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division, are set out in the Examination Regulations.

General advice on the appropriate timing in your department will be provided by your Director of Graduate Studies. Students registered on a Doctoral Training Programme will have a different timetable available from their Course Administrator. All relevant milestone dates are contained in your welcome letter, which is sent out to new students from week four of the first term.  You should keep this in a safe place for future reference. Some funding bodies have conditions that require students to have successfully completed their transfer of status after one year before they will renew their award for the following year.  Your supervisor will be able to advise you on the appropriate timing of transfer of status.

Deferral of transfer of status

If it is necessary for you to defer your transfer of status an application must be made by you with the support of your supervisor, using form, GSO.2b, and should be submitted to your departmental Director of Graduate Studies before the end of the fourth full term after admission.  You may only apply for up to two terms deferral. Please note that approval will only be granted in exceptional circumstances, and a first application for transfer of status must take place within the six term limit of PRS status (eight terms for doctoral training programmes).

What forms do I need to complete to transfer status?

You will need to ensure that you have completed and uploaded your Preparing for Transfer of Status form to GSS the term before you are due to transfer (see section on Supervision and Termly Reporting).

An application form for transfer of status, GSO.2, must be completed and submitted to the department administrator at the time that you are applying for transfer of status, and not at the end of the assessment. The DGS will use this form to sign and confirm that you are ready to be assessed. You must complete all sections of the transfer of status form, including the sections about subject-specific, personal and professional skills development. Your form may be returned to you to complete this section if the information provided is inadequate. Your transfer assessors will also be given a copy of your GSO.2 form. The department administrator will keep hold of the completed GSO.2 form until the assessment has been completed, and will then return it to the MPLS Graduate Office with the completed assessors report form, in order for your student record to be updated.

Students from Mathematics must also complete a MATHS.1 or MATHS.2 form (depending on which status you are transferring to) and students in Computer Science and Statistics must complete a MAT.1 or MAT.2 form (depending on which status you are transferring to), and submit two copies of any written work required to the relevant departmental administrator. If a student passes the written work to their assessors directly, this must be clearly indicated on the MATHS.1 or MAT.1 form. 

Consideration of transfer of status applications

Transfer applications should be considered by a minimum of two assessors on behalf of the divisional board, one of whom may be your academic adviser, but neither of whom should be your supervisor or a member of your supervisory team. In some departments your Head of Department and the relevant Director of Graduate Studies (if they are not your supervisor) may be involved. Each department has its own detailed assessment procedures, which should include as a minimum the following three components:

  • submission of written work. Each department will set out its own requirements in this area. Examples of the type of written work which may be required include: a progress report; a literature review; any required course work; a plan for the development of your research over the next two-three years; any published papers.
  • an interview with your assessors, which should allow you the opportunity to summarise snd discuss your research to date.
  • a brief presentation or talk. This need not be part of the transfer interview. For example, it could be a presentation at a departmental seminar series.

It is essential that you check what is required with your departmental graduate studies administrator.

Following your transfer assessment you and your supervisor will be provided with feedback, which should include an assessment of the viability and suitability of the proposed research, and of its completion on a reasonable timescale.  

Please note that your assessors may recommend a range of possible outcomes, including transfer to the relevant lower degree. Assuming you come through the assessment procedure satisfactorily, you will be formally allowed to transfer status. If your first application for transfer to DPhil or MSc by Research status is not approved, you may make one further application. An extension of time of one term will be granted if necessary to make the second application. If your second attempt at transfer is unsuccessful, and transfer to the relevant lower degree (having been considered by the assessors) has not been recommended, you will no longer be able to continue with your studies, and you will be removed from the Register of Graduate Students.

Confirmation of status

Click on the following link to find a useful checklist for you to use to support you through the preparations for your confirmation of status assessment.  It maps directly to the assessment forms that your assessors will be using so the criteria are transparent.

What is the confirmation of status?

The purpose of confirmation of status is to enable research students to receive an assessment of their work by two assessors, other than your supervisor(s). It is intended to provide an important indication that if work on the thesis continues to develop satisfactorily, then consideration of submission of the thesis within the student's funded period/four years (for DPhil) would appear to be reasonable. It therefore provides a second stage of formal progress review in the four years of the student's overall research programme. It should be noted that successful completion of confirmation of status provides an indicator only for readiness for submission, not for the final outcome of the examination of the thesis.

Timing for confirmation of status

Confirmation of status for D.Phil. students must take place no later than nine terms after admission to graduate status. You are advised to apply for confirmation of DPhil status before the end of eighth week of the eighth term after admission as a graduate research student.

Doctoral Training Programmes

For students commencing on a Doctoral Training Programme from October 2014 confirmation of status must take place no later than ten terms after admission to graduate status, subject to any specific regulations. You are advised to apply for confirmation of status before the end of eighth week of the tenth term after admission. However, each department has its own set timing and requirements, so please ensure you check this with your relevant department/CDT administrator.

The timetables above have been set to allow sufficient time to make confirmation of status a helpful part of your development as a scientific researcher. You are therefore encouraged very strongly to apply for confirmation of status at least 6-12 months before you expect to submit your thesis for examination.

Deferral of confirmation of status

Directors of Graduate Studies are able to approve requests to defer confirmation of status in exceptional cases. If, for good reason, you are unable to submit your application for confirmation of status by the end of your ninth term (tenth term for doctoral training programmes), you may apply to defer this for up to a maximum of three terms, subject to any specific regulations, with the support of your supervisor, by completing form GSO.14b before the end of your ninth term. It is for the Director of Graduate Studies in each department to decide how many terms a candidate may be allowed to defer.

Any DPhil students who have not submitted their application for confirmation of status by the end of their ninth term (tenth for doctoral training programmes), and who have not applied to defer their confirmation, will have their status as a graduate student lapsed and will need to apply for reinstatement to the register of graduate students in order to resume their studies.

If you have not applied for confirmation of status by the end of your twelfth term after admission, taking into account any periods of suspension of status, your department will undertake a formal review of your progress. You will be entered, or formally considered, by the department for confirmation of status. Your Director of Graduate Studies will provide further information. The purpose is to ensure that you receive a formal review of your progress before any extensions of time are applied for.

What forms do I need to complete for confirmation of status

You will need to ensure that you have completed and uploaded your 'Preparing for Confirmation of Status' form to GSS the term before you are due to confirm your DPhil status (see section on Supervision and Termly Reporting).

An application form for confirmation of status, GSO.14.MPLS must be completed and submitted to the department administrator at the time that you are applying for confirmation of status, and not at the end of the assessment. The DGS will use this form to sign and confirm that you are ready to be assessed. The form asks you and your supervisor to provide a clear indication of your progress to date, and the timetable for submission of your thesis. you must complete all sections of the confirmation of status form, including the sections about subject-specific, personal and professional skills development. Your form may be returned to you to complete if the information provided is inadequate. Your confirmation assessors will also be given a copy of your GSO.14 form. The department administrator will keep hold of the completed GSO.14 form until the assessment has been completed, and will then return it to the MPLS Graduate Office with the completed assessors report form, in order for your student record to be updated.

Students from Mathematics must also complete a MATHS.3 form, and students in Computer Science and Statistics must complete a MAT.3 form, and submit two copies of any written work required to the relevant departmental administrator. If a student passes the written work to their assessor(s) directly, this must be clearly indicated on the MATHS.3 or MAT.3 form.

Consideration of confirmation of status applications

The requirements for confirmation of status may vary for each department within the following framework:

  • all applications must be reviewed by two assessors, other than your supervisor(s), one of whom may be your Director of Graduate Studies (if they are not your supervisor);
  • you will be asked to produce a brief written report about your research achievements to date. The specific requirements will be set out by your department, and might include a publication(s) or draft chapter(s) from your thesis, and your plans, and the timetable, for submission of your thesis;
  • an interview with your assessors, which should allow you the opportunity to summarise and discuss your research to date.

It is essential that you check what is required for confirmation of status with your departmental graduate studies administrator.

Following your confirmation assessment you and your supervisor will be provided with feedback, which will include an assessment of your progress and the likelihood that you will be able to submit your thesis within the planned timescale (as set out by you on the application form).

If your first application for confirmation of status is not approved, you may make one further application normally within one term of the original application. An extension of time of one term will be granted if necessary to make the second application.

If a candidate's application for confirmation of status is unsuccessful, the board may approve a transfer from DPhil to MSc by Research status. If your second attempt at confirmation is unsuccessful, and transfer to the relevant lower degree (having been considered by the assessors) has not been recommended, you will no longer be able to continue with your studies, and you will be removed from the Register of Graduate Students.

Appeals for transfer and confirmation of status

If you wish to contest the outcome of the transfer or confirmation assessment, either on procedural or academic grounds, you should first discuss the matter with your Director of Graduate Studies. Where a concern is not satisfactorily settled by that means, then you, your supervisor, or your college authority may put your appeal directly to the Proctors. The Proctors can only consider whether the procedure for reaching an academic decision were properly followed, and cannot challenge the academic judgment of the assessors. Please view the University complaints and appeals processes.

Removal from the Register

When a student’s academic performance is unsatisfactory, or there are other concerns about a student’s academic progress the department may find it necessary to initiate the removal from the register process.  However, before starting the formal process, your department, in close discussions with your supervisor and college will always try and help support you through this period, which may involve making suitable adjustments to your study, and, or seeking help and advice from other sources. Students whose academic performance remains below the standard required will be advised at every stage of the options available to them, including voluntary withdrawal, a period of suspension, and requesting to change their registration to another degree (if appropriate).

On this page