Progressing to MLitt
Students get to use the library and seminar rooms of the Department of Education in Norham Gardens to study
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Key milestones for MLitt and MSc by Research students

You are expected to submit within nine terms from the start of your research degree. There is no confirmation process. This also applies to students who originally started with the intention of supplicating for a DPhil and were moved to MLitt or MSc by Research status at transfer or confirmation.

Transfer from PRS to MLitt or MSc by Research status

The purpose of the transfer process is to ensure that you have a convincing research proposal, that you are making satisfactory progress in its development, and to satisfy the assessors that the work is potentially of MLitt or MSc by Research quality. The General Regulations for admission to MLitt or MSc by Research status are set out in the Examination Regulations, along with Special Regulations governing applications for particular subjects. Course handbooks also provide information on the process.

Timing of transfer to MLitt or MSc by Research status

For most subjects, you will ideally be required to transfer to MLitt or MSc by Research status by the end of the third term, so this means applying at the start of your third term. However, you must transfer before the end of your fourth term.

Application for transfer to MLitt or MSc by Research status

To apply for transfer to MLitt or MSc by Research status you must submit a completed GSO2 form or for Medical Sciences a GSO2 MSD form, and this will include:

  • (i) a statement from your supervisor that he or she approves the proposed subject for a thesis and considers you well-fitted to undertake advanced research;
  • (ii) a statement of support for the application from your college or hall.

You must also submit:

  • (iii) a statement of the subject of the proposed thesis and details on how you propose to treat it;
  • (iv) written work – your faculty, department or division will determine the exact manner of this written work.

You should have completed the University’s research integrity training before applying for transfer of status, and the application form asks you to confirm this.

Students of Archaeology, Economics, International Development, Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, Sociology and Social Policy and Intervention should also submit subject specific forms with their GSO2 form.

The assessment

Your faculty or department will inform you of the particular criteria that you will have to meet for a successful transfer to MLitt or MSc by Research status. Two assessors, neither of whom will be your supervisor, will consider your application and interview you.

The assessors will make a reasoned written report to the relevant board in your faculty/department or division and a recommendation as to whether you should be transferred to MLitt or MSc by Research status.

Unsuccessful transfer applications

If your first application for transfer to MLitt or MSc by Research status is not approved, you are permitted to make one further application, and will be granted an extension of time for one term if this is necessary for the purposes of making the application.


If you wish to contest the outcome of the transfer assessment, either on procedural or academic grounds, you should first discuss the matter with your Director of Graduate Studies. Where a concern is not satisfactorily settled by that means, then you, your supervisor, or your college authority may put your appeal directly to the Proctors. The Proctors can only consider whether the procedure for reaching an academic decision were properly followed, and cannot challenge the academic judgment of the assessors. View the University complaints and appeals processes.

Loss of Probationer Research Student status

You will lose your Probationer Research Student (PRS) status if you have not transferred status (MLitt or MSc by Research) before the end of your fourth term.

This is extended if you have been granted one term’s extension following an unsuccessful transfer application or if you have been granted a deferral of Transfer of Status for one or two terms by the appropriate board. The board concerned may also deprive you of such status, after consultation with your college/hall and supervisor.

You will lose your status as a PRS student if you have not achieved transfer after two applications. If you lose your status as a PRS and have not gained admission to another status, you are no longer registered as a student of the University. See Examination Regulations.

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