DPhil Procedures for current 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

Research integrity is a commitment to creating an environment that promotes responsible conduct by embracing standards of excellence, trustworthiness and lawfulness. The University expects its students to maintain the highest standards of integrity in their research.

Transfer of Status

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

Procedures for 1st year DPhil Students:

• 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.2MPLS please download from https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/academic/guidance/graduate/progression?wssl=1. 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 report have a strict page limit of 7 pages (including figures and citations), 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. In Particle Physics we recommend to complete confirmation of status before the start of Trinity Term 2020 so that there is time for a second attempt in the unlikely case that the first one is not successful.

The procedures for students in Particle Physics who started in academic year 2017/18 are as follows:

• You are advised to use the checklist provided to guide you in the preparations for your confirmation of status.
• In consultation with your supervisor you should complete and upload to GSR the Preparing for Confirmation of DPhil Status form the term before (HT2020) you expect to confirm your DPhil status you should allow enough time for your supervisor to advise/comment. The form should be emailed to Kim so it can be passed onto the assessors and DGS.
• You and your supervisor both have sections to complete in the Application form for confirmation of status (GSO.14MPLS). Your supervisor should submit the form to Kim by 17 January 2020.

The confirmation of status requires the submission of a report and passing a formal interview. Since students may have to attend conferences/meetings or have other responsibilities we allow some flexibility in the timeline for the submission of the report and the 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 your supervisor between 29 November 2019 and 7 February 2020. Your supervisor should be given at least one month to provide sufficient time for feedback. If necessary, the supervisor should check a second draft before submission of the final 'supervisor-approved' version to Kim. The absolute deadline to submit the report to Kim is 20 March 2020, but we hope that most reports will be submitted by the beginning of Hilary Term, since many faculty members will be busy with entrance interviews in February.

• Two assessors will evaluate the report and will organize a confirmation of status interview that must take place before 3 July 2020. We hope that most interviews can be conducted well before this date.

• The assessors will complete the Confirmation of DPhil status form and guidance for assessors form after your interview, assessed your progress and are satisfied with your submitted report. The form will be signed by the DGS and sent to MPLS along with the GSO.14MPLS. You and your supervisor will received a copy of the completed report by the assessors and confirmation that your application for confirmation of status has been approved by MPLS.

In the Sub-Department of Particle Physics the confirmation of status assessors will be chosen by yourself and your supervisor, this can be discussed with the Head of Sub-Department and DGS. Both assessors will be academic members of the Sub-Department neither will be your supervisor and at least one of them will be from a different experiment to the one you are working on. PLease contact the assessors to make sure they are happy to do this. PLease let Kim know who the assessors will be.

The 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, the report should include a draft of a several chapters, including the first chapter where the goal and impact of the project are described. In addition, there should be a decription 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.

The checklist, preparing for Confirmation of Status, GSO14.MPLS forms can be downloaded from https://www.mpls.ox.ac.uk/graduate-school/information-for-postgraduate-r....

Submission of Theses

From MT19 you must submit your digital examiners’ copy of your thesis online, via the Research Thesis Digital Submission (RTDS) portal, no later than the last day of the vacation immediately following the term in which your application for the appointment of examiners was made. If you fail to submit by this date your application will be cancelled and you will have to reapply for appointment of examiners when you are ready to submit. Your thesis should not be submitted until your application for confirmation of status has been approved (this applies to DPhil students only). For MSc by Research students you should ensure that your transfer of status has been completed.

If you are funded on a research council studentship, you will have a recommended end-date before which your thesis must be submitted. If you do not know this date, please consult your supervisor.

Please note that you must not submit copies of your thesis directly to your examiners as this could result in your examinations being declared void and you could be referred to the University Proctors.

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.


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.