Progressing from an MPhil to a PhD

MPhil degrees accommodate the needs of students who wish to have the experience of learning how to conduct research for one year. They require just one year of funding and are intended to stand alone, rather than being seen as a probationary year for a three-year PhD study.

However, during the course of the MPhil year, some students may decide they wish to extend their stay for a PhD degree. In such circumstances, the following possibilities can be explored:

If you are successful in finding funding for a further THREE years, you may submit a dissertation for the MPhil Degree and apply for the PhD Degree for a further three years; you would then be formally examined for the MPhil and, if successful, continue as a probationary PhD student;

OR

If you are successful in finding funding for only TWO more years, you can apply for permission to change your Registration from the MPhil to probationary PhD. Before the permission to change is granted, you would then not write up an MPhil dissertation but instead undergo the routine formal assessment of a ‘first year report’ which involves an oral viva by internal assessors towards the end of your first year before being registered for the PhD.

NOTE: Funding does not have to be in place prior to submitting your request.

The Department of Psychiatry has decided that those students who wish to take this second route, to convert their MPhil year into the probationary (i.e. first) year of a PhD, will need to:

Produce a written report (equivalent to a 1st year PhD report) and submit it to their Supervisor by 30th May. Note this is 1 month earlier than the deadline for the 1st year PhD report.

The supervisor will then decide, on the basis of the quality of the written work and other factors, whether the student can proceed with the change and instruct the student to apply for this formally via Camsis Self-service. Note that this is simply enabling the student to apply for formal conversion, but this is not a formal acceptance.

The supervisor will need to arrange a formal interview in early June and complete the necessary forms to show that they accept the student for a PhD.

An official 1st year viva will then take place by July 31st at the latest, after which the supervisor will make a recommendation to the Degree Committee and the Student Registry as to whether the student should now be registered for the PhD.

Please note that continuation from the MPhil to the PhD or changing registration is not automatic; all cases are judged on their own merits based on a number of factors including: evidence of the your progress and research potential; a sound research proposal; the availability of a suitable supervisor and of resources required for the research; acceptance by the Head of your Department and the Degree Committee.

Please also note that taking this route is somewhat high risk for the student if it is not pursued at the earliest possible point because, if unsuccessful, the student will then need to continue on their original path of submitting an MPhil thesis and having an MPhil viva. The student should therefore ensure they leave enough time to revert back to the MPhil outcome if needed.