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 word limit of 5,000 words (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 2019 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 their third year (7th term):

• 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 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.
• Yourself and your supervisor both have sections to complete in the Application form for confirmation of status (GSO.14). Your supervisor should submit the form to Kim by 7th December.

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 30th November and 1st February. 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 15th March, 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.

• Your supervisor must complete the form Confirmation of DPhil Status as soon as possible after they approve the report. The absolute deadline to submit this form to Kim is 22nd March. 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 before 28th June. We hope that most interviews can be conducted well before 28th June.

• The assessors will complete the Confirmation of DPhil status form and guidance for assessors form after your interview, assessed your progree and are satisfied with your submitted report. The form will be signed by the DGS and sent to MPLS along with the GSO.14. Yourself and your supervisor will received a copy of the completed report by the assessors and the approval for confirmation of status 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 in consultation with your supervisor. 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.

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, 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 GSO form can be downloaded from https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/academic/guidance/graduate/progression?wssl=1.
The checklist, preparing for Confirmation of Status, supervisor and assessors form can be downloaded at https://www.mpls.ox.ac.uk/graduate-school/information-for-postgraduate-r... and https://www.mpls.ox.ac.uk/study/additionalinformation/examinations-for-h....

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]
  • [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.


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.