Graduate Research School
HOW TO …
Transfer to PhD
(MPhil/PhD students only)
; Application to Transfer from MPhil to PhD (RDSC3)
(completed by your Supervisory Team and Transfer Panel) Key of Abbreviations ; A Transfer Viva Panel: Contact your DoS or Key Admin Contact DoS: Director of Studies
in the GRSO RDT: Research Degrees Tutor
; To write a Transfer Report. See below for guidance on putting RDSC: Research Degrees Sub-
together your Transfer Report. Committee
GRSO: Graduate Research School Office ; A deadline for submission of your transfer application to RDSC:
Refer to your Student Handbook, the RDSC meeting dates, or
your Key Contact in the GRSO
During your transfer ‘window’ your Supervisory Team decides you are ready to transfer to PhD
You produce your Transfer Report (approximately 3000-6000 words)
Director of Studies convenes a Panel for the Transfer Viva (Referee, DoS, RDT); arranges date,
circulates your Transfer Report to the Panel
Supervisory Team writes report of student’s progress on form RDSC3 and sends this to the Panel
Transfer Viva takes place.
The Panel reports outcomes to RDSC on the RDSC3 form
RDSC makes the final decision on transfer based on the Panel’s recommendations
Full-time transfer ‘window’: 12-18 months Part-time transfer ‘window’: 24-36 months
Your Transfer Report is a written document which should contain an Abstract (400-500 words)
summarising the work done so far, the intended further work, and detailing the original contribution to
PhD level. You should address the following in your Abstract:
; Set the scene – background to your research. (Current views on …/Literature reviewed so far
shows that …, In the past it was thought that… , Currently people assume that ….)
; Aims of your study (what are your research questions?)
; Methodology (which methods are you using? what kind of data? how will it be collected and
analysed? quantitative and/or qualitative research?)
; Summarise preliminary results (what have you found? what issues/questions have been raised?) ; Summarise preliminary conclusions and relate them to (a). (how do your results match up with
what has previously been assumed? What is new about what you have found?) ; What remains to be done? (Further data collection/analysis?)
Your Transfer Report should be constructed around the following points (not necessarily in this order): ; State the aims of the research project
; Contextualise your project. What is the background to it?
; Describe your methodological approach?
; Give the overall plan of your thesis (provisional table of contents).
; Summarise what you have found/ written so far (either chapter by chapter, or overall). ; Define what constitutes the PhD phase.
; Discuss what is new about what you have found? Comment on how your findings relate to the
original context – do they reinforce current views or do they suggest that those views may have
to be revised? What are the implications of your findings?
; What needs to be done to complete the thesis?
At least 1500 words of your Transfer Report should be devoted to the contextualisation of your study and the implications of your findings.
Q: What is the aim of the transfer process?
A: The aim is to establish whether you have produced work of sufficient quantity and quality to
suggest that you can achieve PhD standard in the time allowed and to give you experience of
writing and of an oral examination
Q: Why do I have to produce a Transfer Report and have a Transfer Viva?
A: Your written Transfer Report is intended to show that you can summarise the work done so far
and articulate its significance and the expected element of originality in the work. Q: What is the format and outcome of the Transfer Viva?
A: The Transfer Viva should be at least 30 minutes in length and will be a question and answer
session. The Panel will decide whether you have reached a quality threshold to be allowed to
progress to PhD and will recommend this to the RDSC.
Q: What if the Panel identifies major issues with my Transfer Report?
A: You will be asked to re-apply for transfer within the maximum ‘window’ deadline. If only minor
improvements are identified, these will be recommended to you but it will not be a requirement
that these are signed-off before transfer can be approved.
Q: What is ‘originality’?
A: ‘Originality’ can be defined in a number of ways. These can include challenging, extending or
otherwise affecting existing theoretical frameworks or assumptions. It can also involve applying
existing methodologies in an original way (often cross-disciplinary), synthesising information in an
original way or testing existing knowledge in an original way.
Q: I am based overseas and unable to travel to Preston for a Transfer Viva – what should I do?
A: A Transfer Viva can be conducted by video conference or Skype.
Q: What is the next milestone after Transfer?
A: Refer to your Student Handbook for further details.