Information and requirements for Probabationary Review and Transfer Process Information and requirements for Probabationary Review and Transfer Process

Probationary Review

From 1 October 2015 the status of postgraduate research candidates on the following programmes will be probationary: PhD, MPhil, Master’s by Research, MD. This probationary status will continue until the candidate has undertaken and passed a formal assessment during their first year which will occur at the Annual Progress Review meeting. Students intending to graduate with a PhD will all need to be registered as probationary PhD candidates rather than as MPhil candidates. Schools will no longer be able to approve the transfer of MPhil candidates to the PhD programme – this will only be done on an exceptional basis by a concession approved by the Academic Director of Research Degree Programmes.

Further guidance is in the Research Policy Documents 'Section 12 - Guidance on Probationary Review' which can be found at https://portal.uea.ac.uk/postgraduate-research/pgr-regulations-and-forms


Transfer from MPhil to PhD meetings 
(for MPhil students who registered prior to 1 October 2015 only)

Transferring from MPhil to PhD is an independent process from any other meeting between the supervisory team and student.

In the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences candidates for the PhD who registered prior to 1 October 2015 were initially registered for an MPhil. Students who wish to transfer to PhD must provide evidence of being able to perform at a higher level and of being able to complete the PhD within the required period (usually 3 years full-time plus one year writing-up).

Assuring the Quality of Research Degree: A Code of Practice states that:

Where students register for an MPhil but wish to transfer to a PhD, approval will be given only after the candidate has provided evidence of satisfactory progress and of being able to perform at the higher level and of being able to complete the PhD within the required period. The procedure to approve the transfer will involve an assessment of the candidate by a specially constituted transfer panel, appointed by the School Board or Institute GSC. The transfer panel will have a membership of at least two teachers in the University.  No more than one member of the student's supervisory team may be a member of the transfer panel, and where practical that should not be the primary supervisor.  The procedure may include the consideration by the transfer panel of a written submission provided by the supervisory team. Transfer from MPhil to PhD must take place no later than six months prior to the end of the period of study for the MPhil

The transfer panel will make a recommendation (via the transfer report form) to the School Board or Institute GSC regarding the transfer of the candidate.

If the recommendation of a first transfer panel is not to transfer the candidate, then the School Board or Institute GSC, on the advice of the superivsory team, may permit a second attempt to transfer.

In exceptional cases, more than two attempts to transfer or an attempt to transfer a student during their registration-only period may be permitted, but only with the prior approval of the Academic Director of Research Degree Programmes through the research student concessions process.. Ordinarily, it is the University's expectation that the first attempt at transfer will be made, irrespective of standing, at least six months prior to the end of the MPhil period of study. Similar concessions requests should be made in the event that a second attempt to transfer would fall beyond the end of the MPhil period of study.

If no meeting of a transfer panel occurs during the MPhil period of study, the student will be deemed to have failed to reach the standard justifying transfer, and will be expected to complete the requirements for the MPhil degree before moving into the registration-only period.

Once the School Board or Institute has advised the student regarding the outcome of the assessment for transfer, the supervisory team and student should meet as soon as possible to review the schedule for completion of the MPhil thesis or the PhD thesis. 

The transfer involves the preparation of a written progress report and presentation to  a specifically constituted transfer panel appointed by the Graduate School Executive.

Guidance on the panel membership, process and reporting can be found at

Transfer Panel guidance

Transfer Panel membership approval form

Transfer Panel report form

For full-time students the transfer panel should take place around 12 to 15 months after initial registration (part-time pro rata)