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Transfer of Status (GSO.2)

FULL-TIME​ (before the end of your fourth term)

PART-TIME (before the end of your eighth term)

The aim of the transfer viva is to "assess progress and the likelihood of completion of the proposed degree in the relevant time (maximum of 9 terms for M.Sc. by Research, 12 terms for D.Phil.) and a sounding board for science conducted/proposed". It has 2 parts: a written report (see below) and a viva with two assessors. Students find the transfer process a timely and extremely helpful exercise.

Transfer Admin

For the majority of D.Phil. students in the department the Transfer viva, where you change status from Probationer Research Student (PRS) to D.Phil. or M.Sc. by Research needs to take place before the end of the fourth term. With the majority of students starting their studies in October, the fourth term will be Michaelmas of the following year. Due to the structure of terms at Oxford, the end of Michaelmas is officially around the second week of January and it is by this date that the viva and associated paperwork needs to have been completed. The team will be encouraging you to submit the transfer paperwork in the November and arrange your viva in the December!

If you are on a D.Phil. programme that is not the D.Phil. Clinical Neurosciences, then your Transfer deadlines may be different. Please contact the Academic Administration Team (AAT) if you are unsure of your timelines.


You will need to decide with your supervisor which two assessors to invite to your viva. There are strict guidelines on who can assess.

Guidelines for Selection of Assessors

  • Two assessors are required
  • Neither assessor should have acted in a supervisory capacity to the student. This includes use of the student’s college advisor, DGS, or Graduate Advisor.
  • Both assessors should be internal to Oxford, although an honorary contract (for NHS employees) would be sufficient. Likewise, a contract research (post-doctoral) staff member who is employed by Oxford University would be acceptable.
  • It may be desirable for one of the assessors to be external to the student’s department, where this can be achieved.
  • At least one assessor should have supervised a student in Oxford to completion.

 Once the assessors have been approached and confirmed, complete a GSO.2 (MSD) form and arrange for your supervisor and your college to sign it before submitting to the Academic Administration Team (AAT) via email at or hand it in to the AAT office, Room 67-11, (opposite Room D), Level 6, West Wing. You will also need to include your updated Training Needs Analysis Form (TNA) at the same time.

The team will then arrange for the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) to add the final signature and then the completed form, together with a blank assessment form will be emailed to your assessors in preparation for your viva.

Transfer to D.Phil Report 

In preparation for your viva you will need to submit a report on your progress to date of your research work and future plans. This report should not be more than 3,000 words, which includes an abstract, introduction, results, discussion, a detailed timetable leading to submission and a methods section (the methods section can be included either within the body of the main report or with the appendices). Appendices of up to 2,000 words including figure legends and references.

The assessors will need to see the following points addressed within the 3,000 word limit:

That there is a clear and defined project; that the student has devised an investigative strategy; that some initial progress has been made in terms of method development and acquisition of results and that there is a clear and timetabled path towards completion of the project.

This report is usually submitted by the student directly to the assessors (a week before the meeting is recommended) but can be sent with the completed GSO.2 MSD form to the Academic Administration Team 

Transfer to D.PHil Viva 

The date and location of your viva should be arranged by you and your supervisor. Please note that no member of your supervisory team should be present. The viva can include a presentation followed by questions and a discussion with your assessors. A presentation is not mandatory and is up to the assessors to decide.

After the Viva

Following the transfer interview, assessors are required to complete a transfer assessment form and a report of the assessment. This report should expand on areas where they feel there are concerns, provide scientific feedback and describe any suggestions for future work. The assessment form and report should then be emailed to the Academic Administration team at The team will then send all the paperwork to the MSD Graduate Office who will submit the forms to the Board for consideration. It is the Graduate Office who will then inform you, your supervisor, your college tutor and the AAT via email, of the Board's decision on the assessor's recommendation.