Transfer

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.

The exact procedures for the transfer assessment may vary between individual Faculties/Schools according to the requirements of the different disciplines.  Your Graduate School will provide you with written guidance on the transfer process. All PGRs are required to complete a ‘Progress Report: Transfer Stage’ via GRAD in advance of the transfer review.

PGRs accepted directly for the degree of MPhil or Masters by Research will not be required to undergo a formal transfer assessment and are not permitted to transfer to registration for a PhD degree. 

Transfer assessment

You will be asked to write and submit some appropriate material (such as a report) which will be assessed before the decision to transfer is made. You should also upload the online Statement of Academic Integrity, Safeguarding Data and Ethical Requirements. You will then be interviewed by a transfer assessment panel in the form of a viva examination, which should take place in Leeds.

You will find more information about formal assessment and monitoring in the Code of Practice for Research Degree Candidatures and the relevant faculty protocols.

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.

Postponement of the decision on transfer

Postponement of the decision on transfer should only occur in exceptional circumstances and subject to prior approval by the Graduate Board’s Programmes and Quality Group.

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.   

The Transfer Assessment Panel may, on academic grounds, recommend a deferral of the transfer decision. The time limit for any deferral after a transfer  PGR is 18 months from the start of study. If a school is unable to make a recommendation that the PGR should proceed to either Doctoral or MPhil study (where that option is available) within the time limit allowed then the PGR must withdraw.