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Research Degrees in Social Policy and Intervention

(These regulations replace the regulations for Research Degrees in Social Policy and Intervention, Sociology, and International Development from MT 2019 for all students registered for Research Degrees in Social Policy and Intervention.)

1. Governance

The DPhil in Social Policy and the DPhil in Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation (and for those starting before MT2019 the DPhil in Social Intervention) shall be under the supervision of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention. 

2. Attendance requirements

The DPhil programmes shall be offered on a full-time basis. Full-time students are required to meet the residence requirements set out in §6 of the General Regulations for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 

3. Transfer to MLitt (or MSc by Research) or DPhil status

Students will normally be admitted as Probationer Research Students. Students will normally be expected to achieve Transfer of Status in their third or fourth term after admission. 

Applications should be submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee and will comprise the following:

(a) a completed transfer of status form and appointment of assessors form;

(b) a provisional thesis title and research proposal;

(c) a literature review of between 5,000 to 8,000 words;

(d) a piece of written work relevant to the thesis of between 5,000 to 8,000 words;

(e) a timetable for completion;

(f) evidence of attendance of subject specific courses;

(g) Research Ethics forms (if applicable);

(h) Health and Safety forms (if applicable);

(i) Skills Review and Training Needs Analysis form.

Full details of requirements can be found in the Graduate Research Students handbook. 

The Graduate Studies Committee will appoint two assessors who will read the work, interview the student and submit a recommendation to the committee in a written report. The Graduate Studies Committee will then decide whether Transfer of Status will be approved.

A student whose first application for Transfer of Status is not approved (including where the outcome is a recommendation to transfer to the MLitt) is permitted to make one further application and will be granted an extension of one term to Probationer Research Student status if necessary. If after a second attempt, the Graduate Studies Committee can neither approve transfer to the DPhil or to the MLitt, the student will be removed from the Register of Graduate Students. 

4. Confirmation of Status

Students will normally be expected to achieve Confirmation of Status in their seventh term and by no later than their ninth term after admission . 

Applications should be submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee and will comprise the following:

(a) a completed confirmation of status form and appointment of assessors form;

(b) a thesis title and abstract;

(c) a thesis outline;

(d) a research proposal of 4 to 5 pages;

(e) a timetable for completion;

(f) for the monograph thesis route at least two draft chapters, or for the thesis by papers route two draft papers;

(g) evidence of presentation of (part of) the thesis at a seminar/conference/workshop;

(h) Skills Review and Training Needs Analysis form.

Full details of requirements can be found in the Graduate Research Students handbook.

The Graduate Studies Committee will appoint two assessors who will read the work, interview the student and submit a recommendation to the committee in a written report. The Graduate Studies Committee will then decide whether Confirmation of Status will be approved.

A student whose first application for Confirmation of Status is not approved is permitted to make one further application, normally within one term of the original application, and will granted an extension of one term  if necessary. If after the second attempt the DPhil Committee can neither approve the application nor approve transfer to the MLitt, the student will be removed from the Register of Graduate Students. 

5. Theses 

Theses for the Degree of DPhil which exceed 100,000 words, theses for the Degree of MLitt which exceed 50,000 words, and theses for the Degree of MSc by Research with exceed 25,000 words excluding the bibliography, are liable to be rejected unless students have, with the support of their supervisors, been granted permission to exceed the word limit by the Graduate Studies Committee. These figures are maxima and students are advised that many successful theses have been significantly shorter.

Articles-based theses 

A DPhil thesis may be accepted for examination if it consists of either a minimum of four academic papers of publishable quality for the DPhil in Social Policy, or a minimum of three academic papers of publishable quality for the DPhil in Social Intervention or DPhil in Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation. In either case the thesis should be framed by an introduction, a literature review, and a conclusion. Such a body of work shall be deemed acceptable provided it represents a coherent and focused body of research, addressing one overarching research question. A thesis submitted under this rubric may include joint publications, but for the DPhil in Social Policy only, at least one paper must be single-authored. Where joint publications are included, all co-authors must certify in writing to the Director of Graduate Studies that at least 70% of that work represents that of the candidate. Current overall word limits and conditions are detailed in the DPhil Notes for Guidance. Candidates wishing to proceed in this manner should with the support of their supervisor obtain approval from the Director of Graduate Studies before applying for Confirmation of DPhil status. If a candidate wishes to revert to a standard DPhil thesis format, with the support of their supervisor, they should obtain approval from the Director of Graduate Studies, showing good cause for the change.