Transfer process

All doctoral students are initially registered as provisional doctoral students and are therefore subject to a formal transfer assessment process within a specified timescale.  If successful in this assessment, the student is then transferred to doctoral study. 

What is the transfer process? 

The assessment at the "transfer" stage is to identify whether the student and the research project have the potential for research at doctoral level and also whether it is a reasonable expectation to complete a thesis within the standard period of study for the programme. The assessment will take the form of a viva voce examination.

All transfers are managed through GRAD.

The decision on transfer is based on the submission of appropriate material for assessment (ie a report written by the student).  The student should upload their report for assessment onto GRAD and also complete the online statement of Academic Integrity, Safeguarding Data and Ethical Requirements.

The transfer assessment panel can make one of four decisions:

  • transfer the student to a doctoral degree category 
  • on the first occasion only defer their decision for a limited period (see timescale in the guidelines document)
  • transfer the student to M Phil degree category (available for Provisional PhD students only)
  • require the student to withdraw. 

The graduate board has approved detailed guidelines on all aspects of the transfer assessment process 

Download guidelines on the transfer assessment process for information on the following:

  • Composition of the transfer assessment panel
  • Evidence upon which the transfer is based
  • Conduct of the transfer assessment
  • Possible recommendations following transfer
  • Timescales for completing the transfer process
  • Information about postponement and deferral of the decision on transfer
  • Recording the transfer decision

The exact procedure for the transfer assessment may vary between individual Faculties/Schools according to the requirements of the different disciplines.  Faculties/schools should provide student with written guidance on the transfer process and material required.

Split Site Students

Split-site students must be present in the UK for their transfer assessment.  If not their studies may be suspended until they can return to the UK.

M Phil

Students accepted directly to the degree of M Phil will not be required to undergo a transfer assessment.  However, progress should be reviewed annually in the same way as for doctoral students.  M Phil students are not normally permitted to transfer to registration for a doctoral degree.

Integrated degree of PhD and Master

A review process is undertaken at the end of each year of study, with registration as a Postgraduate Student in Year 1, Provisional PhD in Year 2, with a formal transfer process to full PhD registration taking place at the end of Year 2, emphasising the different stages in the progress, development and training. 

Progression into Year 3 is dependent upon both success in the research degree assessment process and success in the Mastership examination.  Exit qualifications exist at certain points in the programme.

In addition to undertaking research student, students undertake a number of specialised modules in the first and second years and must undertake training and skills courses throughout the programme.