DPhil Procedures for students and supervisors

University policies and procedures from the Education Committee from the EPSC.

The MPLS Division's Code of Practice on the Supervision of Graduate Research Students

Postgraduate Research Student Handbook

MPLS Progress Flowchart, Summary of Changes and Brief timing checklist

Transfer of Status

Transfer of status must take place and be achieved no later than eighth week of the 4th term.

Procedures that will be put fully in place for academic year 2016/17 (students joining Oxford in October 2016) onwards:
• Use the checklist to guide you in the preparations for your transfer of status assessment.
Prior to the end of Hilary Term: the student should complete the Preparing for Transfer of Status form in consultation with the supervisor. It is important to allow enough time for the supervisor to advise and comment. Upload it to the GSS system at the end of Hilary term. The form should also be e-mailed to Kim by the students once uploaded to GSS so this can be passed onto the assessors and DGS.
Four weeks before the viva: The supervisor and the student both have sections to complete in the Application form for transfer of status (GSO.2). The supervisor must submit the form to Kim four weeks before the end of 1st year viva, which is usually held at the end of June. The transfer of status requires the submission of a 7-page report, a 1-page thesis plan, and successful completion of a viva. The report is to be written by the student but must be given to the supervisor for review and feedback. The thesis plan is to be written by the student in consultation with the supervisor.
Two weeks before the viva: The report and thesis plan are to be submitted by the student to Kim two weeks before the viva.

In the Sub-Department of Particle Physics the viva assessors will be the Head of Sub-Department, the Director and Graduate Studies and at least one additional academic member of the Sub-Department. The assessors will complete the Transfer of status form and guidance for assessors after the end of 1st year interview and submit to MPLS. Students and supervisors will be provided with the feedback when the transfer of status form is approved at MPLS.

Interviews take place at the end of Trinity Term in June (usually 9th week). Details of what is expected in the report (i.e. content and layout) and the interview timetable are sent out to 1st year students by Kim at the end of Hilary Term and re-circulated at the beginning of Trinity Term.

Confirmation of Status

MPLS requires that confirmation of status must take place no later than nine terms after admission as a graduate student at Oxford. It is advised to apply for confirmation of status before the end of eighth week of the eighth term after admission as a graduate research student.

Procedures for students in PP who started in academic year 2014/15 onwards
Students at the beginning of their third year:
• Use the checklist provided to guide you in the preparations for your confirmation of status.
• Complete and upload to GSS the Preparing for Confirmation of DPhil Status form the term before you expect to confirm your DPhil status in consultation with your supervisor and allowing enough time for your supervisor to advise or comment. This form should then be emailed to Kim so this can be passed onto the supervisors, assessors and DGS.
• The supervisor and the student both have sections to complete in the Application form for confirmation of status (GSO.14). The supervisor must submit the form to Kim by 15th November.
The confirmation of status requires the submission of a report and passing a formal interview
• A report is to be written by the student and should have maximum length of 20 pages and must include a short outline, of between two and four pages, summarizing the anticipated content of the DPhil thesis. This should be in the form of chapter and section headings, with a brief summary of the work done so far on each and a timetable for the expected completion of each part of the work. The first draft of the report should be given to the supervisor by 15th November enabling sufficient time for feedback. If necessary, the supervisor should check a second draft before submission of the final 'supervisor-approved' version to Kim by 15th December.
• The supervisor must complete the form Confirmation of DPhil status and submit to Kim by 1st December. Note that this form is confidential and will not be seen by the student.
• Two assessors will evaluate the report and will organize a confirmation of status interview that must take place by the end of Hilary Term.
• The assessors will complete the Confirmation of DPhil status form and guidance for assessors after they have met with the student, assessed their progress and are satisfied with the submitted report. This form will be signed by the DGS and sent to MPLS along with the GSO.14. The student and supervisor will receive a copy of the report completed by the assessors and the approval for confirmation of status once the confirmation has been approved by MPLS.

In the Sub-Department of Particle Physics the confirmation of status assessors will be chosen by the Head of Sub-Department and the Director of Graduate Studies. Both assessors will be academic members of the Sub-Department neither will be the supervisor of the student and at least one will be from a different experiment to the one the student is working on.

The new procedures for the confirmation of status have been set in place to make sure that students submit a satisfactory thesis on the intended topic on time. The content of the confirmation of status report will depend on the topic and the stage of the experiment the student is working on. In addition to the thesis outline describe above in general, it should include a draft of a few chapters, including the first chapter where the goal and impact of the project are described. In addition, there should be a description of the data that has been collected for the thesis, and/or results of simulations that will be included in the thesis, and/or that significant progress has been made in developing an instrument and measuring its performance (if the goal of the thesis is to develop new techniques). Finally a statement must be included describing the plans for publication.

Submission of Theses

The University Decrees and Regulations (otherwise known as the 'grey book', copy in the library reference section) lay out set guidelines for presentation of theses. It is very important to adhere to these - the Graduate Secretary will circulate details at the beginning of Hilary Term of your third year but you can access these notes.

1. Once you have two copies of your thesis printed, get them soft-back bound at the Oxford Print Centre on Hollywell Street. Cost: £4.95 per thesis.
2. Obtain two padded envelopes from the DWB stores.
3. On the bottom left-hand corner of each envelope write in capitals:

  • [Name]
  • D.PHIL THESIS AND ABSTRACT
  • [College]

4. In each envelope, place:

  • A copy of your thesis!
  • A separate copy of your abstract
  • A slip giving your correspondence address

5. From what I understand the forms GSO.3A and GSO.26 are to be submitted with the final copy of your thesis.

Information regarding Digital Copies of your thesis

E-Theses - Raising Awareness of Electronic submission
As you are aware students who began their studies from October 2007 onwards are now required to submit an electronic copy of their theses via ORA. Students are required to submit this, along with their hard bound copy, before they can attend a graduation ceremony. The examinations schools have recently had several cases of students wishing to graduate that appear not to be aware of the requirement to submit an electronic thesis. Information about the electronic submission is sent to the student when they are granted leave to supplicate, and we also send them information about this when we send out submission reminder letters. We have incorporated the information in to the MPLS Graduate Handbook and in to any relevant divisional training courses to try and raise awareness amongst students. However, please could I also ask you to send a reminder to all your research supervisors and students to remind them of this requirement.

Information regarding Digital Copies of your thesis

GSS Reporting - New Policy

It is now a requirement that every student submits a reflective report on his/her progress each term. This should follow a supervision meeting where a student discusses his/her progress and next steps with the supervisor. A student who fails to submit a report for either two subsequent terms, or for two terms out of three (on a rolling basis) will be invited to a meeting with the DGS (Professor Daniela Bortoletto) to discuss his/her progress.

It is now a requirement that all supervisors submit reports every term for their students as this is vital for QAA purposes.

General training

Graduate students funded by STFC and in their second or third year are eligible for STFC funding to attend one of the joint Research Councils' Graduate Schools, which are 5-day sessions for developing personal and communication skills and providing information on career opportunities outside of particle physics.

Illness

Students should inform their supervisor if they are absent through illness. Supervisors of STFC-funded students must inform STFC and the Graduate Secretary immediately if a student is absent through illness for any significant time. If this is done promptly, it is possible (but certainly not guaranteed) that STFC-funded students can get an extension to allow time for completion if their work is delayed by serious illness but this will not include an extension of subsistence payments.

Funding assistance

Students who find themselves in financial difficulty, including 4th year students, may be eligible for assistance from "hardship funds". Information should be available from your college, as well as from http://www.ox.ac.uk/students/fees-funding/assistance/hardship.

Demonstrating and Tutoring

Graduate students can gain teaching experience and earn some extra money by teaching in our undergraduate practical course or tutoring undergraduates at various colleges within the University: information about teaching opportunities.

Career Paths

A Study of the Career Paths of STFC PhD Students was commissioned by STFC and carried out by an outside agency in 2003. It surveyed students 6-8 years after their PhD's.