The transfer assessment is intended to identify whether you and your project have the potential for research at doctoral level and whether completing the thesis within the standard period of study is a reasonable expectation.

The transfer process 

All postgraduate researchers (PGRs) working towards a doctorate research degree  are initially registered as provisional doctoral candidates  and are subject to a formal transfer assessment process within a specified timescale. If successful in this assessment, you will be transferred to your doctorate research degree programme. The assessment at the transfer stage is intended to identify whether the project has the potential for research at doctoral level and also to assess whether completion of a thesis within the standard period of study for the programme is possible.

You and your project are assessed by a Transfer Assessment Panel. Their decision is based upon an assessment of academic written material that you have submitted and an oral examination or viva. The Panel comprises at least two individuals who must be independent of your supervisory team. Your supervisor will normally attend but will not be involved in any decision-making.

The University has deadlines for the completion of the transfer assessment and you can see these on your GRAD record. Some faculties/schools will have earlier deadlines for the submission of the transfer report.

Your faculty/school will provide you with guidance on the transfer process in your area, timescales and the material you are expected to submit for assessment but this will typically include a written report, plan for completion/Gantt chart and your Data Management Plan. You will be required to upload this to GRAD and complete a ‘Progress Report: Transfer Stage’ in advance of the transfer review.


Transfer deadlines

Transfer deadlines
 Method of study Degree Transfer to be held and decision taken within:  Maximum period after deferral of decision
 Full-time Postgraduate Research Provisional PhD or MD 12 months  18 months from the start of study
 Part-time Postgraduate Research, Provisional PhD 24 months  30 months from the start of study
 Full-time Provisional DPaedDent DClinPsychol, DClinDent 18 months  24 months from the start of study
 Part-time Provisional DClinDent, DPaedDent 30 months  38 months from the start of study
 Part-time Provisional MD 18 months  24 months from the start of study
 Full-time  Provisional EdD 24 months  24 months from the start of study
 Part-time  Provisonal EdD 36 months 36 months from the start of study
 Full-time  Integrated degree of PhD and Master  Candidates are accepted for study to the registration category of Postgraduate Research. After completing the first year, the progress of candidates is reviewed and, where it is satisfactory, registration to a Provisional PhD candidature is permitted. If successful in progressing to Provisional PhD status, candidates will be required to undergo assessment by a formal Transfer Assessment Panel for transfer to PhD status before the end of the second year of study.
   Mastership by Research Candidates for a Mastership by Research cannot normally transfer registration to MPhil or PhD.


Recommendation following transfer

The transfer assessment panel will recommend one of the following:

  • In the case of provisional candidatures for doctoral degrees (including PhD) transfer to doctoral registration

  • In the case of provisional candidatures for the degree of PhD only, transfer to MPhil registration (not usually available for split site candidates)

  • On the first occasion only, deferment of a decision about the transfer for a limited period so your work can be revised and then reassessed

  • A decision that the candidate withdraw from the research degree candidature

Please note that you will be unable to transfer to Masters by research.

Deferral of the transfer decision

The transfer assessment panel may, for academic reasons, recommend a deferral of the transfer decision. The final decision on transfer must be taken within the maximum period permitted for your programme of study. 

If a school is unable to recommend that you should proceed to either doctoral or MPhil study within the time limit allowed, then you will be asked to withdraw.

If you initially registered for Provisional PhD and it is recommended that you proceed to an MPhil, you must let your grant awarding authority know so that they can make the necessary adjustment in funding.

Success at the transfer stage has no direct bearing on whether you will be successful at final examination, it simply confirms that the Transfer Assessment Panel is satisfied that  the project has the potential for success.  

To qualify for a doctoral award you must meet the required learning outcomes for the degree and satisfy the examiners that their achievement is of sufficient merit and that the thesis contains evidence of originality and independent critical ability and matter suitable for publication.