Transfer and Confirmation

Transfer to DPhil Status from the CDT

All CDT students must apply by Wednesday of 5th week of their 6th term with the required work submitted by the end of June at the very latest. Please see host departments’ web pages for details.

Preparing for Transfer of Status

 All students should use the “preparing for transfer of status form” to complete their termly reflection for the term before they are due to transfer (5th Term), and upload it to GSS. This can be found here

From Michaelmas term 2018, all students are required to complete the University’s online Research Integrity training course, before applying for Transfer of Status.  You will not be permitted to submit your application for Transfer until you have completed the training.

 The aim of the transfer is to assess: students’ progress; the validity of the proposed research project; and the likelihood submission within the students funded period.

Project Initiation Plan

This form is for students to work through with their supervisors in establishing the scope and direction of their project.  This is not compulsory, but it is recommended.  This form should be completed at the end of your first year.  This form can be found here.

Requirements of Transfer

A “Transfer of status – Checklist” can be found here this will help in preparing for your transfer.

Outline of your tasks and of the process

There are four elements which you need to prepare. Item 1 is likely to take several weeks of work, so you must plan well ahead of the submission date.

  1. Report: You should submit three soft-bound copies of the written work described below; you can print and bind them yourselves or ask the print room ( to do this for you. It is your responsibility to deliver them to the CDT Administrator.
  2. GSO.2 form: You should download the GSO.2 form from the University website. Complete section 1 and the supplementary information, sign in section 1 and forward to your supervisor (in either soft or hard copy). This should then be passed on to the CDT Administrator for approval by the DGS.

Using the GSO.2 form, your supervisor(s) will also provide evidence of your progress to the DGS. The DGS reconciles any differences of opinion, and makes a recommendation to the University. You are provided feedback on the outcome.

  1. Presentation: You will be asked to deliver a presentation to your two assessors (and/or possibly to a wider audience, dependent where you are based in the department).
  2. Interview: You will be asked to attend an interview with your two assessors at a time and place arranged by mutual agreement. They may ask you to make a presentation if they have not heard it before. The interview will typically last around 45 minutes to 1 hour, although it can be shorter or longer. You should be prepared to spend a substantial time discussing your plans for future work. Note that your supervisor will not attend.

If you are unable to transfer by the deadline you need to complete GSO2b – “application to defer”. These forms can be obtained from

All forms need to be completed by the student, supervisor and college before returning to the CDT Administrator for DGS approval.

Two assessors and your supervisor make the formal review of your progress. Usually the assessors are faculty members from the CDT host departments. They will be chosen to have appropriate expertise in and/or knowledge of your area. They liaise with your supervisor and consider your presentation, written submission and performance in the viva, then report to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).

The written work can take two forms: ‘paper’ mode and ‘report’ mode. The former presents your work in the form of a scientific paper (this does not have to have been submitted for publication), in parallel with a literature review and research proposal; the latter is a single report. You should discuss with your supervisor which option is better for you; there is no inherent advantage in either. If you have already drafted a paper, the first option might be better for you; alternatively, if you are involved in a substantial design of a piece of equipment, the second option might be preferable. Templates for both options are available on the graduate section of Weblearn.

The research proposal should contain detail of the work planned for the next 9 months, with well-considered ideas for the remaining period of your studies.

Paper mode

For this mode, you need to submit two parts.

  1. Part I: This should be written in the form of a scientific journal or conference paper. It should have all the usual elements: a title, abstract, introduction and review of relevant work; several sections describing research output; a conclusions section; and a bibliography. The paper typically should not exceed 10 A4 pages, including all diagrams and bibliography, when set in 10pt Times New Roman in a single spaced, double column format, with page margins of 20mm all round.
  2. Part II: This should be a critical review of the literature sufficient to set your existing and proposed work in context, followed by your research proposal. The proposal is a key element: the content, time required, and risk involved in your proposed research must be fully thought through. You must provide a risk assessment identifying critical points or uncertainties, and indicate how you will manage these. The review and proposal is limited to 25 A4 pages, set in 12pt Times New Roman, double spaced with 20mm margins all round. You may well find that there is some overlap between the literature reviews in the two parts. Do not be concerned by this, as cross-referencing between the two parts is perfectly acceptable.

Report mode

For this mode, a single report is required, written rather like a mini-thesis. The report should contain an abstract, introduction, literature review, chapters describing work undertaken, and overall conclusion. The substantive differences from the ‘paper’ mode are that the review of literature is unified, and that the format might make it easier to describe equipment build. The report also gives an opportunity to write a literature review or equipment chapter that can be included in your final thesis. The literature review and research conclusions should provide a clear motivation for your research proposal in the last chapter. This proposal is again of key importance, and it should include the level of detail already described for the ‘paper’ mode. The entire report should not exceed 50 A4 pages when set in 12pt Times New Roman, double spaced, with 20mm margins all round.


The criteria used by assessors for transfer of status are that they must be satisfied that:

  1. The student has proposed a viable DPhil project that can be completed within the proposed timeframe and funded period or within 12 terms[1].
  2. The work undertaken to date provides an appropriate background and platform for progress.
  3. The student has developed a critical understanding of the relevant literature.
  4. The student understands, can justify and defend their research project, its objectives and rationale.
  5. The student has a clear plan for the future direction of the project.
  6. The student has begun to take intellectual ownership of the project.

They are looking for evidence of all-round basic competence as a researcher: someone who is able to read, understand and appreciate the significance of existing literature; to come up with relevant and timely ideas; to pursue them via theory, experiment, and analysis; to draw conclusions about the outcome and “what next”; and to present their work so that other researchers can understand it.

In many cases, the assessors will recommend transfer of status without any concerns. There is then nothing for you to do but await the formal letter from the University. It is possible that they may raise some concerns that will need to be addressed by you more formally than simply by discussion in the interview. In such cases, they will ask you to provide a written response within two weeks of the interview, agreed with your supervisor, before recommending transfer.

In some cases, the assessors will agree to transfer of status, but subject to conditions; they will discuss these with and explain them to you. It is also possible that the assessors will not be able to recommend transfer of status; they will then provide a detailed report outlining the rationale for this decision. You will automatically be given a copy of this report and granted a further term to apply for transfer of status a second time; the DGS will contact you to discuss the situation and all available options. If you are unsuccessful on a second attempt, you will be required to leave the University.

[1] Note that these are 12 terms of study, i.e. periods of suspension do not count.

Confirmation of Status

All CDT students are required to confirm their status in their tenth term.

Please see host departments web pages for details.

How to submit your thesis?

Your DPhil thesis is due to be submitted by the end of your 4th year (12th term) with the deadline being Friday of week 0 of your 13th term.

Forms and notes relating to submission of theses You need to complete GSO3 for appointment of examiners and this needs to be completed by you, your supervisor and college before being returned to the Graduate Studies Administrator for DGS approval. You should try to submit this form at least 4-6 weeks before you plan to submit.

When the Exam Schools receive the GSO3 they formally invite the examiners to act and your thesis will not be sent to the examiners until a response has been received.

Once you have submitted, the Administrator will follow up with the examiners and keep you informed about the viva date. After your viva there are a number of options, the most common being minor corrections. Once the examiners are satisfied they submit their report which has to be approved by the DGS and Division and then is sent to the Exam Schools who will sent you official notification of the result.

When you submit your initial thesis this can be soft bound but when you are given leave to supplicate you will need to submit a hard bound copy to the Bodleian and the Departmental Library.

How to book a degree ceremony?

Funding Period

You are expected to submit your thesis within 4 years, in the event that you go over this; you will be liable for fees which will not be funded from the CDT.