UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
NOTES OF GUIDANCE FOR
1. Introduction 1
2. The Social Sciences Divisional Board 2
3. The Department of Economics 3
4. The Graduate Studies Committee for Economics 4
5. The Interviewer 5
6. University Supervision of Graduate Students 5
- M.Phil. supervision
7. The Degree of M.Phil. Economics 7
- Timetable for M.Phil. Examinations 9
8. The Degree of M.Sc. Economics for Development 10
- Structure of the Course
- Timetable for M.Sc. Examinations 11
9. D.Phil. after M.Phil. or M.Sc. 12
- Proceeding Directly from finishing MPhil to starting the D.Phil.
- Fresh application after a Gap.
- D.Phil after the M.Sc. Economics for Development
10. Timetable for Progress to M.Litt. or D.Phil. 14
11. Probationer Research Student Status and Transfer to D.Phil. or M.Litt. Status 15
- The Qualifying Examination
- The Application for Transfer to D.Phil. or M.Litt. Status 17
12. The Degree of M.Litt. 18
13. Transfer between M.Litt. and D.Phil. 19
14. The Degree of D.Phil. 19
15. Confirmation of D.Phil. Status 20
16. Preparation of a D.Phil. Thesis 21
17. Examination for Research Degrees 22
- Appointment of Examiners, Submission Dates and Early Vivas
- Notification of Results
- Complaints in relation to Higher Degrees involving Research
- Edgeworth Prize
18. Dispensation from Consultation of Thesis 23
19. Terms of Residence and Dispensation 23
20. Suspension of Status, Lapse of Status, and Reinstatement 25
21. Teaching by Graduate Students 25
22. Recognised Students 26
23. Annual Activity Report 26
24. Library Facilities for Graduate Students in Economics 26
The Social Science Library
The Bodleian Library
Nuffield College Library
The Sainsbury Library, Said Business School
Templeton College, Information Centre
25. IT Facilities 28
26. The George Webb Medley Endowment Fund 30
27. Financial Assistance for Overseas Students 30
28. The Joint Committee of the Department of Economics and Junior 31
Members on Graduate Matters
29. Problems and Advice 32
Appendix 1 List of University Application Forms for Graduate Students 33
Appendix 2 Memorandum of Guidance for Research Students and their Supervisors 34
Appendix 3 Complaints and Academic Appeals within the Department of Economics 39
Appendix 4 EPSC Notes of Guidance on Plagiarism 41
Form: Notification of M. Phil Supervisor 42
Revised on 25th September 2006. Refer to the Department Intranet for the latest version.
These guidance notes have been prepared by the Graduate Studies Committee of the
Department of Economics. They are intended as a source of information in their own right,
and as a guide to other sources of information. We hope that they will be useful both to
graduate students arriving in Oxford for the first time and to those already here. Comments
on, or criticisms of, these notes are welcome and should be sent to the Director of Graduate
Studies in Economics.
The University of Oxford is a complicated institution but not, we hope, an unfriendly one. These
guidance notes will help you to get over some of the administrative hurdles which you will
encounter. You should, in particular, consult them whenever you:
• apply for transfer of status
• apply for extension of time
• enter for an examination
• submit your thesis.
Please note the following points which may help you to find your bearings in the University:
(i) You should ensure that you have been issued with a University card by your college. This
card, among various other functions, gives you access to the Social Science and Bodleian
(ii) Make sure that you have a University e-mail address and access to the Internet. There is a
large amount of relevant information on the Department of Economics Website and
notices from the Department are typically distributed to graduate students through email
(see Section 25).
(iii) Make sure that you have a copy of the Social Sciences Lecture List, available on the
Department of Economics website.
(iv) Information about current graduate students and their research interests may be found on
the Department of Economics website (www.economics.ox.ac.uk).
2. The Social Sciences Divisional Board
Graduate students in Economics at Oxford come under the jurisdiction of the Social Sciences
Divisional Board which is responsible for:
(i) the admission of students and the determination of their status i.e. as:
- M.Phil. students
- M.Sc. students
- Probationer Research students
- D.Phil. students
- Recognised students;
(ii) permitting changes of status;
(iii) permitting extension to the period within which a thesis may be submitted;
(iv) accepting a title for a proposed M.Litt. or D.Phil. thesis, and permitting a change of
(v) appointing a University supervisor for each student;
(vi) appointing examiners for M.Litt. and D.Phil. candidates;
(vii) granting degrees to M.Litt. and D.Phil. candidates on the basis of the examiners'
(viii) electing nominators who nominate the six examiners for the degree of M.Phil. and the
two for the degree of M.Sc.;
(ix) wording the rubrics which determine the title and content of the examination papers for
the M.Phil. and the M.Sc.;
(x) arranging the lectures, classes and seminars which are designed primarily for M.Phil. or
M.Sc. candidates, but open to all graduate students;
(xi) granting suspensions of status;
(xii) granting reinstatement of students whose status has lapsed;
(xiii) granting dispensation from residence requirements.
These responsibilities are carried out according to the decrees and regulation published each year
under the title Examination Regulations. The following notes are largely an informal description
and interpretation of these rules. Students with special problems will, however, need to consult
the Examination Regulations themselves, preferably with the help of their supervisors. Cases
sometimes arise which need to be referred to the Social Sciences Divisional Board or to the
University’s Educational Policy and Standards Committee. The Examination Regulations are, of
course, the authoritative expression of the University rules and take precedence over these
informal notes in any cases of conflict or ambiguity.
3. The Department of Economics
Most teachers of Economics in the University have both University and College posts. The
Department of Economics is housed in purpose-built accommodation in the Manor Road
Building on Manor Road.
The building, designed by Sir Norman Foster, houses the Social Science Library, research
facilities, graduate workspace area, lecture theatre, teaching rooms, IT training rooms and a large
common room for faculty and graduate students.
The Department has a first-class research library open to all members of the University. It
possesses over 150,000 books and 500 current social science journals, all on open shelving.
There are places for 400 readers, including three study rooms for exclusive use by graduates. It
also has extensive IT facilities.
Also housed in the Department are two ESRC Research Centres - the Centre for the Study of
African Economies (CSAE) and the Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational
Performance (SKOPE). CSAE applies modern research methods to Africa's economic problems.
It offers attractive facilities to doctoral students working on topics related to the economics of
Africa, and also manages the Museveni Scholarship. SKOPE, a research centre based jointly at
Oxford and Warwick, has been set up to examine skills, knowledge and their links with
organisational performance and strategy. Building upon the existing research strengths of the
two institutions the intention is to extend into an area that is of major theoretical and policy
4. The Graduate Studies Committee for Economics
In practice most of the responsibilities shown in Section 2 are delegated by the Social Sciences
Divisional Board to its Graduate Studies Committees. The Economics Graduate Studies
Committee has around ten members, who are chosen annually. For the academic year 2005-
2006, the Director of Graduate Studies (and thus chair of the Committee) is John Quah. The
Director of the MPhil, Paul Klemperer, and the Director of the MSc (Development Economics),
Stefan Dercon, are also on the Committee.
The Committee meets on the Tuesdays of 2nd and 7th weeks of each full term. The decisions are
then notified to the individual students by the Graduate Studies Office.
Students who want applications considered (e.g., for a change of status, or for the appointment of
examiners) should ensure that their applications are the Secretary of the Graduate Studies
Committee, Mr. Alec Sims (Graduate Studies Office, University Offices, Wellington Square) by
the dates listed below. Late (or incomplete) applications will not be considered. The
Graduate Studies Office Enquiry Desk is open from 9. a.m. to 5 p.m. Alec may be contacted on
(01865) 270738 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Term Meeting Date Deadline Date
Michaelmas, week 2 17th October 2006 5th October 2006
Michaelmas, week 7 21st November 2006 9th November 2006
Hilary, week 2 23rd January 2007 11th January 2007
Hilary, week 7 27th February 2007 15th February 2007
Trinity, week 2 1st May 2007 19th April 2007
Trinity, week 7 5th June 2007 25th May 2007
Applicants should note in particular that the committee does not meet over the summer, i.e.,
between the 7th week of Trinity Term (about the third week in June) and the 2nd week of
Michaelmas Term (in mid October). Applications for appointment of examiners and
examiners’ recommendations for award of degrees will not be processed during this
All forms necessary to make applications are obtainable from www.admin.ox.ac.uk/gso/forms. A
list of all application forms is given in Appendix 1.
5. The Interviewer
All graduate students will be interviewed by a member of the Graduate Studies Committee on
their arrival at Oxford. This person, called the student's interviewer, will normally continue to
act as the student's contact with the committee throughout his/her graduate studies, and will be a
different person from the student's supervisor.
New graduate students in Economics should receive an invitation to meet with their interviewers
early in their first term. If for some reason (such as late arrival) you are overlooked, please take
the initiative to request such a meeting. The Graduate Studies Assistant has a list of the assigned
interviewers. If your interviewer ceases to be a member of the Graduate Studies Committee, you
will be assigned a new one and will be informed of the change by the Graduate Studies Assistant.
Normally the interviewer serves as one of the two assessors for transfer of status applications by
Probationer Research Students, and as the assessor for confirmation of status applications. The
interviewer receives the supervisor's termly reports on each interviewee. Graduate students
should view the interviewer as their direct link to the Graduate Studies Committee, and as a
source of advice should the supervision relationship become problematic. After the initial
meeting your interviewer will not expect to see you on a regular basis; but feel free to contact
your interviewer should a relevant problem arise.
6. University Supervision of Graduate Students
Each student registered for a higher degree will have one or more University supervisors,
appointed by the Department. In addition to giving specific instruction and advice, supervisors
have broad responsibility for a student's course of study.
Supervisors are obliged to report on the progress of their supervisees at the end of each term, and
their advice will always be sought by the Graduate Studies Committee before recommending any
change in status, extension to terms of study, and so on. It is therefore of first importance for all
students to keep in regular contact with their supervisors during residence and, whilst working
on their theses away from Oxford, to keep supervisors fully informed as to the progress of their
studies. At the time of any change of status, the committee will consider whether or not to
appoint a new supervisor.
Everybody recognises that occasionally there can arise incompatibilities of temperament or
approach between supervisor and student, and because of the central importance Oxford attaches
to the relationship between supervisor and student, students are urged to discuss any problem of
this kind freely with their interviewer (or, if their interviewer is unavailable or inappropriate,
with another member of the Graduate Studies Committee). An alternative method of approach in
such cases is through the student's college advisor or college tutor for graduate students.
Students and supervisors sometimes like to know what degree of supervision to expect. The
Department of Economics has taken the view that resident students will normally have
supervision at least four times a term, except during the first year of the M.Phil. for which
special class arrangements apply (see section on M.Phil. Supervision). Although supervisors are
asked to make the first appointment with the student each term, it is advisable for the student to
contact them at or before the beginning of each term.
See also Appendix 2: Memorandum of Guidance for Research Students and their Supervisors.
In the first year of the M.Phil., each student has as joint University supervisors the three class
teachers for the macroeconomics, microeconomics and econometrics classes to which that
student has been assigned (see Economics Courses for Graduates – Green Book). In addition to
teaching classes, the duties of these supervisors include advising students and reporting on their
progress termly via the Graduate Studies Committee to the Department.
In the second year of the M.Phil., the person supervising the student’s thesis becomes the
University supervisor, superseding the class teachers. It is for each student to initiate the
process of selecting a thesis supervisor with whichever member of the Department seems
most appropriate given their interests. First-year class teachers will give advice and
suggestions on this. The thesis supervisor will be responsible for arranging any additional
teaching that he or she thinks appropriate for the option papers. Students are required to notify
the Graduate Administrative Officer of their thesis supervisor and topic by the end of Week 8 of
Trinity Term of your first year. (A form for doing so is at the end of this booklet).
7. The Degree of M.Phil.
The M.Phil. degree is a basic professional qualification in Economics and the normal route in
Oxford by which students who have just acquired a first degree in Economics or another
approved subject should equip themselves for advanced study and research.
The course for the M.Phil. is designed for 6 terms (21 months), with candidates normally taking
the First Year Examination (consisting of compulsory papers in Macroeconomics,
Microeconomics and Econometrics) after 3 terms and the Final Examination (normally
consisting of two option papers and a thesis) after 6 terms. The maximum period of study
permitted for the M.Phil. is 12 terms.
Students will be allowed to proceed to the second year of the course if they pass the three
compulsory papers at the end of the first year. Students may also be allowed to proceed, by
permission of the Graduate Studies Committee, if they fail one of the three papers. Permission
will normally be granted only if the fail is marginal. In this case they will be required to resit the
failed paper at the same time as the Final Examination at the end of the second year. Otherwise,
students who fail the First Year examination may resit all three papers at the end of their second
year. If they pass, they can proceed with the course and enter the Final Examination at the end of
their third year.
For the Final Examination, students must offer two optional papers and submit a thesis. The
thesis provides the opportunity for some original work which can, under the regulations, be
incorporated into a later thesis submitted for the D.Phil. degree.
To satisfy the Examiners for the M.Phil. degree, the student must pass all five papers and the
thesis, except that it is possible to compensate for a marginal fail in one paper or the thesis if the
other five marks are sufficiently high. (In the current marking scale, the passing mark is 60, but
the Department of Economics is in the process of changing its marking scale, and the passing
mark for MPhil students beginning their studies in 2006 will be lowered to 50. Students
beginning their second year MPhil studies in 2006 are unaffected by this change. More details
on the change will be announced at a later date. This change is meant to ensure uniformity
within the Social Sciences Division and does not represent a lowering or raising of passing
standards. All the marks in this booklet are based on the soon to be superseded marking scale.)
A candidate who fails either of the two examinations for the M.Phil. may enter again on one
subsequent occasion only, and only if this is still within 12 terms of his/her initial registration.
(Note that this means that no paper may be attempted more than twice: a candidate who retakes,
and fails, a first year paper at the same time as taking the Final Examination may not enter
again.) A candidate who passes the thesis but fails the written papers is allowed to re-take the
written papers, with the mark for the thesis carried over to the re-examination. This concession
also applies where a candidate passes all the written papers at the first attempt but fails the thesis.
Students often ask about what is expected for the written examinations for the M.Phil. In the
Oxford system ‘courses’ are not examined individually by those who teach them. It is the duty
of the nominated examiners (who may appoint assessors e.g. for special subjects) to interpret the
coverage of each paper having regard to the rubrics printed in the Examination Decrees, to
interpretations by previous examiners, and to their own experience in teaching M.Phil. students.
The examiners also find out what has been covered in lectures and seminars for graduate
students during the course. Each examiner normally serves for three years in rota, so that
continuity in interpretation is preserved. The best guide to standard and coverage is therefore the
examination papers set in the recent past. (The current system of first year examinations began
in 1995.) The Microeconomics and Macroeconomics first year examinations are in two parts, A
and B, and questions must be selected from both parts.
The thesis must not exceed 30,000 words in total (including references, etc.), and the examiners
may refuse to accept an overlength thesis. Students should state the number of words in their
thesis, as calculated by counting the words on a typical page containing only text and multiplying
by the total number of pages. The thesis subject may lie in any field of economics, and may be
chosen within the same field as an option paper offered by the candidate. It is possible for a
candidate to pass with a thesis that is primarily a review of a literature but only if it makes a
genuinely original contribution to the understanding of that literature. Such a thesis, would,
however, not normally be awarded a mark higher than 65.
It should be remembered that the amount of work expected for a thesis is the same as that for an
option paper, that is it should represent approximately four months' work. The examiners will be
looking for evidence of ability to tackle a research problem (that is, to define and set up the
problem clearly, to choose relevant techniques and show competence in their use, and to
summarise results and establish sound conclusions) rather than evidence of a completed and
mature research project such as would be necessary for the degree of M.Litt. or D.Phil.
Candidates are therefore warned against devoting too much of their time to the thesis at the
expense of their option papers.
Students are advised to choose the topic and arrange a supervisor for their thesis sufficiently
early to enable a substantial amount of work to be done on the thesis during the long vacation.
Students should notify the Graduate Administrative Officer (Mrs Julie Minns) of their supervisor
and thesis topic by the end of Week 8 of Trinity Term of the first year. All students must have
finalised their thesis title by the end of Week 5 of Hilary Term of the second year. Later title
changes will not normally be permitted.
Prizes are awarded by the examiners for the best thesis in the M.Phil. and for the best overall
performance in the M.Phil. examination papers. Other top performances are awarded with a
The policy of the Department is to admit as students for the M.Phil. only those who possess the
equivalent of an Upper Second or First Class honours degree of the normal standard of a British
university. Such a student should be able to pass the written examination without stress and
without a narrow concentration on examination technique. Students whose first language is not
English and who are not experienced in writing essays are strongly advised to practise writing
essays under timed conditions, particularly in their first year of study.
Timetable for M.Phil. Examinations
Michaelmas Term by Friday, Week 8 Submission of entry form for
first year examination1
Trinity Term Monday, Week 8 Written examination begins
Friday, Week 9 Oral examination (if required) and
(usually) publication of pass list
Michaelmas Term by Friday, Week 4 Submission of entry form for final
Trinity Term by Noon Wednesday, Week 3 Submission of two copies of M.Phil.
thesis2. Later submission requires the
prior permission of the Proctors who
will consult the Chairman of the
Monday, Week 8 Written examination begins.
Friday, Week 9 Oral examination (if required) and
(usually) publication of pass list.
Entry forms may be obtained from college offices, to whom they must be returned. (Forms submitted later are
liable to a late fee). Thesis titles may not be changed without the express permission of the Chairman of
The thesis must be printed or typed with a margin of 3 to 3.5 cms on the left-hand edge of each page (or on the
inner edge, whether left-hand or right-hand, in the case of a thesis which is printed on both sides of the paper),
and must be securely and firmly bound in either hard or soft covers. The thesis must be accompanied by a
signed letter stating that it is the candidate’s own work except where otherwise indicated. The parcel should
bear the words: “M.PHIL. THESIS IN ECONOMICS “ in block capitals in the bottom left-hand corner. The
theses (two copies) should be sent to:
The Chairman of the Examiners for the Degree of M.Phil. in Economics
c/o The Clerk of the Schools
8. The Degree of M.Sc. (Economics for Development)
The M.Sc. in Economics for Development is an alternative basic professional qualification
for students wishing to specialise in the economics of development. It is also an appropriate
route by which students may equip themselves for advanced study and research, if their
subsequent specialisation will be in the field of development (but see also Section 10 below).
The course for the M.Sc. is designed for 3 terms (9 months), with candidates taking the final
examination in their third term of residence. The M.Sc. Final Examination comprises three
papers as described in the Examination Decrees (Economic Theory, Development
Economics, and Quantitative Methods) and an extended essay. The extended essay must not
exceed 10,000 words in length, and 5,000 words is a perfectly satisfactory length. Each
student is required to submit a one-page outline of his or her chosen essay topic by the
deadline specified (see Timetable for M.Sc. Examinations below). The standard and
coverage of the examination follows the same principles outlined for the M.Phil., except that
there are two nominated examiners.
A candidate who fails the M.Sc. Final Examination may enter again on one subsequent
occasion only, and only if this is within 6 terms of his/her initial registration. Students
re-entering the examination must re-take all three written papers but may re-submit the
extended essay if it has obtained a pass mark.
Structure of the M.Sc. Course
During Michaelmas Term, students will follow weekly lectures and classes in Economic
Theory. Students will also follow a course through the year in Quantitative Methods,
consisting of weekly lectures supplemented by classes and hands-on sessions in econometric
computing. Development Economics is taught through eight elective modules in Hilary
Term, each consisting of lectures and classes on a specific theme, details of which can be
found in the Lecture List and the M.Sc. Course Handbook. Students are normally expected
to follow four or five modules and are expected to make at least one class presentation during
the year. Choice of modules should be discussed with supervisors.
Students should expect to submit two essays in the first term and three to four in the second
term, with probably another essay or two during vacations. It is expected, and desirable, that
for particular essays students should work with tutors other than their principal supervisor,
who will assist in arranging this. In addition to core courses dedicated to the M.Sc. the
University offers a wide range of graduate lectures and seminars which are appropriate for
The policy of the Department is to admit as students for the M.Sc. only those who possess the
equivalent of an Upper Second or First Class honours degree of the normal standard of a
British university. Such students should be able to pass the written examination without
stress and without a narrow concentration on examination technique. However students from
a different undergraduate culture will find that they need to write a lot of essays in
preparation for the examinations.
Prizes are awarded by the Examiners for the best overall performance in the M.Sc. and for
the best extended essay. Other top performances are awarded with a Distinction.
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Timetable for M.Sc. Examinations
Hilary Term by Friday, Week 4 Submission of entry form for
M.Sc. final examination (including
provisional title of extended essay)
and Qualifying Examination.1
by Monday, Week 7 Submission to Course Director of
one-page outline of extended essay.
Trinity Term by noon Friday, Week 8 Submission of 2 copies of extended
essay. Later submission requires the
prior permission of the Proctors who
will consult the Chairman of the
Week 9 Written examinations (exact dates will
Week 10 Oral examination (if required)
and publication of pass list.
Entry forms may be obtained from college offices, to whom they must be returned. (Forms submitted later are
liable to a late fee).
The Essay must accord with the regulations set out in the M.Sc. Course Handbook and should be sent to:
The Chairman of the Examiners for the M.Sc. in Economics for Development
c/o The Clerk of the Schools
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9. D.Phil. after M.Phil. or M.Sc.
Admission to do a D.Phil after the M. Phil or M. Sc is not automatic. It requires a strong
application, a good performance in the examinations (especially the thesis), and the availability
of a suitable supervisor. Students who wish to apply to do the D.Phil have to make a formal
application to do so. There are two possible routes:
1. Proceeding directly from finishing the M. Phil to starting the D. Phil.
Students need to apply through the Graduate Studies Assistant, Mr. Alec Sims, at the Graduate
Studies Office in Wellington Square by completing a GSO.4 form (available from
www.admin.ox.ac.uk/gso/forms or from the office). The form will need to be signed by a
potential supervisor and the college. Students will need to ensure that both the current and the
future supervisors (if different) write directly to the Graduate Studies Assistant in support of the
application. The form should be accompanied by a specific written proposal outlining the
proposed thesis title; its relation to the M. Phil./M. Sc. thesis; the questions which will be
addressed; the methods and sources which will be used; and the reasons why the chosen topic is
For an M.Phil. thesis being developed into a D.Phil. thesis, there is no presumption that the
D.Phil. thesis must cover a wider subject area than the M.Phil. thesis that preceded it; the
additional research carried out may (but need not) be limited to specific aspects of the topic even
though other aspects are in principle equally amenable to further research. A thesis of D.Phil.
standard must display research of such quality as to justify the wording of the examiners'
declaration cited in the previous section. Given full-time research, it will in some, but not all,
cases be possible to extend an M.Phil. thesis to D.Phil. level by the end of the following
academic year. This information is included in the notes to examiners. Students intending to
submit a thesis for the M.Phil. who think that they may choose to extend it subsequently for the
D.Phil. may wish to discuss their plans for such an extension with their supervisor at an early
Students accepted after completing the M.Phil. in Economics are admitted directly to D.Phil.
status. The standard required is well above simply passing the examination. In general, most of
the marks obtained should be 67 or more (comfortable pass) and the thesis mark must be at
Applications must be made, at latest, by Monday of the 9th week of Trinity Term (11th
June 2007), but it is helpful if applications are received earlier in the Trinity Term. A final
decision on the applications is not made by the Economics Graduate Studies Committee until
after the M. Phil examination results have been announced at the end of June.
In certain cases, M. Phil students may need a provisional decision earlier so that applications to
funding bodies to extend studentships etc. can be made. In such cases students should apply in
Hilary or Trinity terms in the manner described above, but any offer made by the Graduate
Studies Committee will be conditional only.
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2. Fresh application after a gap.
Students will need to submit a new application through the Graduate Admissions Office,
University Offices, Wellington Square by the deadline specified in the Graduate Studies
Such applicants will be required to submit the standard University application form, and all of
the additional supporting material specified in the Graduate Studies Prospectus. An indication of
the proposed D.Phil. supervisor would be very helpful. Decisions on these applications will be
made by the Director of Graduate Admissions in accordance with the graduate admissions
timetable. The standards for admission indicated below will be used as guidelines but each
decision will be made on the application as a whole, including the proposed research, references
and supervision arrangements.
D.Phil. after M.Sc. Economics for Development
Students accepted into the doctoral programme after completing the M.Sc. in Economics for
Development are admitted to Probationer Research Student (PRS) status.
In considering applications, the Graduate Studies Committee will take into account the
recommendations of the M.Sc. Examiners, the views of the prospective D.Phil. supervisor,
and the student's research proposal. The standard required for admission to PRS status after
the M.Sc. is well above simply passing the examination. In general, most of the marks
obtained should be 70% or more (comfortable pass) and the Extended Essay must be at
least 70%. The M.Sc. Examiners will make recommendations to the Graduate Studies
Committee on the suitability of each candidate to proceed to PRS status.
Students proceeding from the M.Sc. to PRS status will, unless specifically granted exemption
after application to the Graduate Studies Committee, be required to sit the D.Phil. Qualifying
Examination in the Trinity Term following their admission to PRS status (see section on
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10. Timetable for Progress to M.Litt. or D.Phil.
The following summarises the timetable of steps along the three routes that lead to a research
degree. Terms are measured from the date of arrival as a graduate student.
(i) Initial status: M.Phil. student
3 Agree a thesis topic for the second year of the M.Phil. with a thesis supervisor that
will be capable of subsequent extension and notify the Graduate Administrative
Officer, Mrs. Julie Minns, of these by the end of Week 8. (A form for doing so is at
the end of this booklet). Pass the first year examination for the M.Phil.
5 Finalise title of M.Phil. thesis
6 Apply for re-admission to D.Phil. status upon completion of the M.Phil., specifying
a D.Phil. thesis title (which may be an extension of the M.Phil. thesis).
6 Pass the final examination for the M.Phil.
7 If re-admission is granted, begin doctoral research.
9 Final term for confirmation of D.Phil. status.
(ii) Initial status: M.Sc. student
3 Apply for re-admission as a PRS student upon completion of the M.Sc., indicating a
field of study.
3 Pass the M.Sc. examination.
4 If re-admission is granted, begin study for the D.Phil. Qualifying Examination
(unless exempted) and start research, working within a specified field of study.
6 Pass the D.Phil. Qualifying Examination (unless exempted).
7 Normal term for transfer to D.Phil. or M.Litt. status, with a precise thesis title.
9 Final term for transfer to D.Phil. status and confirmation of status.
(iii) Initial status: PRS student
1 Begin research, working within a specified field of study.
3 Pass the D.Phil. Qualifying Examination (unless exempted).
4 Normal term for transfer to D.Phil. or M.Litt. status, with a precise thesis title.
6 Final term for transfer of status.
9 Final term for confirmation of D.Phil. status.
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11. Probationer Research Student (PRS) Status and Transfer to
D.Phil. or M.Litt. Status
The probationary period as a research student is for study preparatory to research, including
attendance at relevant lectures, seminars and classes, and the development of a topic for research.
The maximum probationary period is six terms, but students in Economics typically apply for
transfer to D.Phil. or M.Litt. status in the third or fourth term from admission. The entire
probationary period must be spent in residence in Oxford (i.e. during full terms), except that, for
special reason, the Graduate Studies Committee can give permission to work away from Oxford
for one term.
Before a student is admitted to D.Phil. or M.Litt. status, the supervisor and the Graduate Studies
Committee must be satisfied that he or she is fully prepared. There are two requirements: the
student must have reached M.Phil. standard in general economics and in his or her special field;
and must have a satisfactory research plan.
The D.Phil. Qualifying Examination
To satisfy the first of these requirements, a student must, unless specifically granted exemption
by the Graduate Studies Committee, pass a D.Phil. Qualifying Examination consisting of two
M.Phil. examination papers in their first year as a PRS student. Normally these two papers are
whichever general paper (Microeconomics or Macroeconomics or Econometrics) and whichever
option paper the supervisor regards as most appropriate, but candidates are also permitted to take
two general papers.
PRS students are required to achieve a mark of 67 on each of the papers they sit in order to pass
the Qualifying Examination. In exceptional circumstances the Graduate Studies Committee may
exempt a student from having to pass the examination if he/she receives marks of 60 or above on
each paper. All requests for exemption will require the strong support of the supervisor.
PRS who wish to be exempted from sitting one or both papers of the Qualifying Examination, or
who wish to take two option papers (rather than one general and one option paper) are required
to apply to the Graduate Studies Committee. The committee may grant exemption, with the
support of the student's supervisor, under two headings:
(a) If the student has already passed an examination of M.Phil. standard: for example, students
who have passed a specialized Masters degree in economics may be exempted from one or
both of the papers.
(b) If the student possesses adequate and relevant professional experience, e.g. a number of
years' employment as a professional economist in a university, a research institute, a central
bank, or a finance or economics ministry. In this case, the committee would normally expect
at least five years' professional employment after graduation. In particular cases the
committee may require only one paper to be taken.
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There is no automatic right to exemption from papers for the Qualifying Examination.
Application for exemption must be made to the Graduate Studies Committee. Application
should be made in time to be considered at the first meeting of the committee in the student's first
term with PRS status. (See Section 4 for dates of meetings and application deadlines.)
Exceptionally, applications will be considered at the second meeting of the term. Later
applications will not be considered. An application for exemption from one or both papers
should be made in writing, with supporting information about the Master's examination taken or
previous professional experience, and the supervisor should be asked to write a letter of support
to the committee.
Application also needs to be made to sit the D.Phil. Qualifying Examination. This is done on the
examination entry form, submitted to your college (in week 4 of Hilary Term), stating which
M.Phil. papers will be taken. The papers are taken in the Examination Schools under normal
examination conditions, along with M.Phil. candidates (see Timetable for M.Phil. Examinations
above). The times of the examination are displayed in Hilary Term. Candidates who sit the
examination but fail are allowed to resit it. The second examination is on Monday of the seventh
week of Michaelmas Term.
If, for exceptional reasons, a student wishes to take the Qualifying Examination in Michaelmas
Term of the second year rather than Trinity Term of the first, application must be made to the
Graduate Studies Committee, preferably in the student's first term. Permission to do this will
normally be given only for students who start their studies in the middle of the academic year
and, even for such students, good academic reasons are required.
Students preparing for examination will be assigned to an M.Phil. class for a general paper they
are taking. Special supervision may be arranged for an option paper. In any case, they are
expected to follow the lectures and seminars for these papers.
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The Application for Transfer to D.Phil. or M.Litt. Status
It is up to the student to take the initiative to apply for transfer of status, in consultation with the
supervisor. An application must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Assistant, University
Offices, Wellington Square on an application form GSO.2, accompanied by a completed form
ECON01 with a supporting statement from the supervisor and
(i) two copies of a research proposal, in the form of a short outline statement of the proposed
research topic (including sources and methods)
(ii) two copies of a piece of written work relevant to the thesis, of between 5,000 and 7,000
words. This written work could take the form of a draft of a substantive thesis chapter, a
description of initial theoretical results, or a preliminary empirical analysis. A literature
survey on its own is not normally sufficient.
The proposal should show clear promise that it will lead to a manageable and satisfactory D.Phil.
or M.Litt. thesis, bearing in mind the hypotheses, sources, data, and methods. Although the
transfer process constitutes a hurdle, it also provides a helpful target to aim at in the first few
months of research, and the opportunity to receive constructive advice.
Students are expected to apply for transfer to D.Phil. or M.Litt. status in their fourth term of
PRS status (usually the Michaelmas Term of the second year). A student who has exemption
from papers for the D.Phil. Qualifying Examination should expect to submit an application for
transfer earlier, normally in the third term: and any student may do so. The Graduate Studies
Committee will then appoint two assessors, who will examine the candidate orally on the written
work, and discuss the research plan. One of the assessors will normally be the student's
interviewer. Once the assessors are appointed, they will contact the student to arrange a meeting;
but, in the event of a delay, the student should contact the interviewer directly or through the
supervisor. After the oral examination, the assessors will report to the Committee, which will
reach a decision at its next meeting.
Where the committee is not satisfied that the student should be allowed to make the transfer it
may approve transfer to M.Litt. status. Any student who is transferred to M.Litt. status may
subsequently apply for transfer to D.Phil. status. This would normally happen before the end of
the sixth term after admission to Probationer Research Status, but M.Litt. students will remain on
the register until the end of their ninth term. The committee would expect to see evidence of
substantial developments in the progress of the research before this further transfer is approved.
A student whose application for transfer to D.Phil. status is not approved may make a further
application. However, there may be limited time to do this as an extension of time to PRS status
beyond the standard six terms is very exceptional and requires the support of the Graduate
Studies Committee and then the approval of the University’s Educational Policy and Standards
Committee. In some cases the assessors ask for one or more revisions of the research proposal
before they are willing to recommend transfer. It is important, therefore, that the application
should not be left until the sixth term.
Students must have their D. Phil status confirmed within nine terms of their admission as a
graduate student This includes the three terms on the M.Sc. course. Thus students who first
complete the M.Sc. will be required both to transfer and to confirm their status within six terms
of admission to Probationer status.
12. The Degree of M.Litt.
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A thesis for the degree of M.Litt. can be submitted by a student of M.Litt. status normally after
6 terms of residence (including probationary or previous M.Phil. status) and after no more than
9 terms from his/her first registration unless extensions are granted. The maximum permitted
time for study is 15 terms.
Students writing theses for the M.Litt. should refer to the notes entitled ‘Preparation and
Submission of Theses and Abstracts submitted for the Degrees of D.Phil., M.Sc. (by research)
and M.Litt.’, (GSO.21) available from www.admin.ox.ac.uk/gso/forms. See Section 18 on
Examination for Research Degrees.
The regulations specify that the maximum length of an M.Litt. thesis is 50,000 words. The
figure is strictly a maximum. It is not the Committee’s intention that it should be construed as a
norm, and candidates are advised that many successful theses have been significantly shorter.
Students should state the number of words in their thesis, as calculated by counting the words on
a typical page containing only text and multiplying by the total number of pages. Any thesis for
the degree of M.Litt. which, excluding the bibliography, exceeds 50,000 words is liable to be
rejected unless the candidate has, with the support of the supervisor, secured the permission of
the Graduate Studies Committee to exceed this limit.
Other regulations governing the preparation, binding and submission of theses are given in the
The examiners of an M.Litt. thesis will be asked to certify that:
(i) the candidate possesses a good general knowledge of the field of learning within which the
subject of the thesis falls:
(ii) the candidate has shown competence in investigating the chosen topic;
(iii) the candidate has made a worthwhile contribution to knowledge or understanding in the
field of learning within which the subject of the thesis falls;
(iv) the thesis is presented in a lucid and scholarly manner;
M.Litt. examiners are asked to bear in mind that their judgement of the extent of the candidate's
contribution to knowledge or understanding of the relevant field of learning should take into
account what may reasonably be expected of a capable and diligent student after two years of
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13. Transfer between M.Litt. and D.Phil.
All D.Phil. students have the option of transferring to M.Litt. status if they so wish. It is also
possible to transfer from M.Litt. to D.Phil., although usually a D.Phil. student will transfer direct
from Probationer Research Status to D.Phil.
The procedures and requirements for transfer from M.Litt. to D.Phil. status are the same as those
for transfer from PRS to D.Phil. status. Such a transfer must be undertaken well before the ninth
term from admission as a graduate student in order to ensure that time is available to attain
confirmed D.Phil. status.
14. The Degree of D.Phil.
There are three stages in obtaining the degree of D.Phil., namely Probationer Research Student
(PRS) status, D.Phil. status, and confirmed D.Phil. status. Some students do not have to go
through all three.
Candidates who have not previously completed the M.Phil. in Economics at Oxford are
admitted to PRS status. Unless granted exemption by the Graduate Studies Committee, they
must pass a D.Phil. Qualifying Examination (described in Section 12) before they are permitted
to apply to transfer to D.Phil. status. Candidates who have previously completed the M.Phil. in
Economics at Oxford are admitted directly to D.Phil. status. All candidates must apply for
confirmation of D.Phil. status (see below).
Students are admitted to the D.Phil. to study a specific topic. Changes of topic are a serious
matter which require approval by the Graduate Studies Committee by means of the application
form GSO.6 (available from www.admin.ox.ac.uk/gso/forms)
The minimum residence requirement for the degree of D.Phil. is 6 terms, unless the student
already holds an M.Litt., M.Phil. or M.Sc. degree of Oxford University when a minimum of 3
terms is required. Of this period of residence the candidate may apply for dispensation for up to
3 terms. A D.Phil. student may submit up to 12 terms from the date of admission, after which
application must be made for extension of time through the Graduate Studies Committee. The
maximum extension permitted is 9 terms making 21 terms in all. As a matter of practice the
committee will normally recommend an extension of up to 3 terms provided there is supporting
evidence that the D.Phil. will be completed, but thereafter will require increasingly good reason.
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15. Confirmation of D.Phil. Status
All doctoral students are required to apply for confirmation of D.Phil. status. This must be done
not later than the ninth term after being admitted to PRS or M.Phil. status (the sixth term in the
case of students who have completed the M.Sc. in Economics for Development). Before
applying for confirmation of status, D.Phil. students must present the preliminary results of their
research at a departmental research seminar or workshop. Supervisors will be required to
confirm that this has taken place when completing the application form. (For many students, this
will be the Gorman Workshop of which details are given on the Department’s website.) The
Graduate Studies Committee has agreed that a seminar at the World Bank, for example, can be
treated as a substitute, provided that the student submits a case to the committee (including a
copy of the paper and details of the seminar series, including the date, the name of the organizer
and type of attendance) and has the support of their supervisor. Approval of such would then be
at the discretion of the committee. All such cases would also be conditional on the student
actually being away from Oxford.
The purpose of the confirmation procedure is to provide an independent confirmation for the
Graduate Studies Committee that good progress has been made, a clear time-table and
programme for submission are both in place, and a viable thesis of satisfactory quality will be
The application is submitted on a form (GSO.14) and must be accompanied by two copies of:
(i) a comprehensive outline of the treatment of the thesis topic proposed, including details
of progress made, and an indication of the anticipated timetable for submission; and
(ii) at least two draft chapters, each including material that will be central to the thesis.
Please ensure that your supervisor indicates on the application form that you have
presented your work at a departmental research seminar or workshop.
Your application should be submitted to the Graduate Studies Assistant in the Graduate Studies
Office at Wellington Square. This will initially be sent to your supervisor who will submit a
detailed report on your work and progress. Your application and your supervisor’s report will
then be assessed by a member of the Graduate Studies Committee (normally your interviewer)
who may (but is not required to) interview you before submitting a recommendation to the next
meeting of the Graduate Studies Committee.
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16. Preparation of a D.Phil. Thesis
The regulations specify that a D.Phil. thesis may not normally exceed 100,000 words in length.
This is a maximum, not a target. Students should state the number of words in their thesis, as
calculated by counting the words on a typical page containing text only and multiplying this by
the total number of pages.
A thesis submitted for the degree of D.Phil. which, excluding the bibliography, exceeds 100,000
words is liable to be rejected unless, with the support of the supervisor, the candidate has
previously obtained permission from the Graduate Studies Committee to exceed this limit.
Candidates are advised that this maximum is taken seriously and permission to exceed it is
rarely given. It is not the Committee’s intention that is should be construed as a norm, and
candidates are advised that many successful theses have been significantly shorter.
Regulations governing the preparation and binding of D.Phil. theses are given in the
Examination Regulations. Candidates should also read the notes entitled ‘Preparation and
submission of theses and abstracts submitted for the degrees of D.Phil., M.Sc. (by research) and
M.Litt.’(GSO.21) which is available from www.admin.ox.ac.uk/gso/forms.
To qualify for the D.Phil., the thesis must be declared by the examiners to constitute ‘a
significant and substantial contribution in the particular field of learning within which the subject
of [the candidate's] thesis falls’. Although the interpretation of this phrase in any specific case is
a matter for the examiners, the essential thrust of it is that the work must display depth and
appropriate quality. This can often be achieved in a thesis whose length is considerably less than
the 100,000 word maximum. It can also be achieved in one or more of several different ways -
for example, by originality or rigour of analysis, by thoroughness in the investigation of
evidence, or by skill in the use of sources. See also Section 18 on Examination for Research
The examiners of a D.Phil. thesis will be asked to certify that:
(i) the candidate possesses a good general knowledge of the particular field of learning within
which the subject of the thesis falls;
(ii) the candidate has made a significant and substantial contribution in the particular field of
learning within which the subject of the thesis falls;
(iii) the thesis is presented in a lucid and scholarly manner;
(iv) the candidate has presented a satisfactory abstract of the thesis.
D.Phil. examiners are asked to bear in mind that their judgement of the substantial significance
of the work should take into account what may reasonably be expected of a capable and diligent
graduate student after three or at most four years of full-time study.
Candidates who wish to submit during a Trinity Term and have to leave the United Kingdom
during the long vacation should remember that potential examiners often have heavy examining
commitments in June and July. They should, therefore, submit their application for the
appointment of examiners to the Graduate Studies Committee meeting of the 7th week of Hilary
Term, giving a firm date for submission.
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17. Examination for Research Degrees
Appointment of Examiners, Submission Dates and Early Vivas
The appointment of examiners is the responsibility of the Graduate Studies Committee. Two
examiners are appointed, one usually being a senior member of Oxford University (the ‘internal
examiner’), and the other being from elsewhere (the ‘external examiner’). Neither examiner
may be the student’s supervisor nor anyone who has given significant help or advice to the
student in the preparation of his/her thesis. Supervisors are required to make suggestions to the
Graduate Studies Committee regarding the names of possible examiners. Supervisors must
consult with candidates in order to find out if they have any special views on appointment of
Applications for appointment of examiners must be made by completing the form GSO.3. The
completed form must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Assistant, University Offices,
Wellington Square, in accordance with the deadlines given in Section 4. Section 5 of the form
is to be completed by supervisors, in order to indicate who the proposed examiners are. You
should also submit forms GSO.3A and GSO.26 and, if necessary, an application form for a
change of title (GSO.6).
You may submit your thesis at the same time as the application form, or on the last day of the
vacation following the term in which you submit the form GSO3. You must indicate on the
form the date by which you intend to submit. If you fail to submit your thesis on time your
application will be cancelled and you will have to reapply for appointment of examiners when
you are ready to submit. Your thesis should be submitted to the Examination Schools.
After the Graduate Studies Committee has approved the appointment of the examiners formal
invitations will be issued to the examiners. Please bear in mind that your thesis will not be
despatched for examination until both examiners have formally agreed to act.
The University expects the examination process to be completed within three months of receipt
of the thesis by examiners but there may be a delay in some cases. If you need to have your
viva quickly after submission you may apply for an early viva. A special form (GSO.16) is
available for this purpose. You may not ask for the viva to be conducted less than one month
from submission. If a suitable date for the viva can be arranged informally between the
supervisor and the examiners, there is no need to make a formal application. This may be a
Notification of results
After the viva the examiners will write a report, giving recommendations to the Graduate
Studies Committee. This report will be considered at the meeting on 2nd or 7th week of term.
Soon after this the Graduate Studies Office will notify candidates of the outcome in writing.
Due to the cycle of meetings there may be some delay in getting results, depending on when the
report is submitted. An examiners’ report which is received after the last meeting of the
Graduate Studies Committee in Trinity Term will not be considered until the first meeting of
the following Michaelmas Term.
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Complaints in Relation to Higher Degrees involving Research
All complaints must be directed to the Proctors (customarily the Senior Proctor) at the Proctors’
Office, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD. Complaints sent to the
department or the Graduate Studies Office will be forwarded immediately to the Proctors. All
complaints must be made in writing.
Please refer to Appendix 3 and also http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/proctors for information about
the complaints procedure. See especially:
• Essential Information for Students
• Council Regulations 31 of 2002
(See para. 48 onwards for Appeals concerning higher degrees involving Research)
The Department of Economics has agreed to establish a prize for an outstanding D.Phil.
thesis. All examiners of D.Phil. theses in Economics are asked to indicate in their report
whether they wish to nominate the candidate for the Edgeworth Prize. No separate
application is necessary. The Graduate Studies Committee will review annually all
nominations received in the previous academic year and make the recommendation to the
General Purposes Committee. The current value of the Edgeworth Prize is £300.
18. Dispensation from Consultation of Thesis
Each student submitting a D.Phil. or M.Litt. thesis has to supply a copy for deposit in the
Bodleian Library; each submitting an M.Phil. thesis a copy for the Economics Library. It is
possible to seek the permission of the Graduate Studies Committee for it (or parts of it) to remain
closed to public inspection for a stated period of years. But it is the policy that any request for
such permission is scrutinised very carefully, and dispensation from the normal consultation
requirements is granted only when the applicant can show conclusively that such a measure is
justified by the need to protect sources of information provided on a confidential basis. Even in
such cases dispensation rarely exceeds three years' duration. Before embarking on thesis
subjects where sources cannot be publicly cited, candidates are advised to discuss with their
supervisors the problems likely to arise and the advisability of proceeding.
19. Terms of Residence and Dispensation
In what follows a term of residence can be claimed by a candidate if he or she has spent at least
42 nights in Oxford between the dates of a statutory term.
An M.Litt. or D.Phil. student can apply for a period of at least 42 nights spent in residence during
the long vacation to be counted as a term of residence provided that he/she does not count four
terms in any one year.
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M.Phil. Minimum residence requirements: 6 terms.
Maximum dispensation: up to 2 terms spent outside
Oxford can be counted, only by permission of the
General Board of the Faculties, and for very
Maximum tenure of status: 12 terms.
M.Sc. Maximum residency requirements: 3 terms (6 in the
case of the 2-year M.Sc.)
PRS Residence requirement: throughout tenure of PRS
Dispensation permitted: One term in exceptional
Maximum tenure of status: 6 terms, including any
registered as M.Phil.
M.Litt. Minimum residence requirement: 6 terms including
any registered as PRS or M.Phil.
Maximum dispensation: 3 terms during registration as
M.Litt. student. Good academic reasons are
Maximum tenure of status: 9 terms plus possible
extensions at the discretion of the Board up to a
total of 15 terms in all. These figures include
previous registration as PRS or M.Phil. student.
D.Phil. Minimum residence requirement: 6 terms unless the
candidate already holds an M.Litt., M.Phil., or
M.Sc. degree of the University of Oxford, in which
case a minimum of 3 terms is required.
Maximum dispensation: 3 terms.
Maximum tenure of status: 12 terms plus possible
extensions at the discretion of the Board up to a
total of 21 terms in all.
Applications for dispensations, for permission to count a long vacation, and for extensions must
be made through the Graduate Studies Office with the support of the supervisor (see Section 5
above). The Graduate Studies Committee rarely grants more than three terms extension at any
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20. Suspension of Status, Lapse of Status, and Reinstatement
You may apply to the Graduate Studies Committee for suspension of status for a specified
period. If the application is approved, you will not be required to pay fees during the period of
suspension and will resume your former status at the end of the period. Suspension of status may
be for between one and three terms at any one time. No student may be granted more than six
terms' suspension of status overall. Applications must be made to the Graduate Studies
Committee (through the Graduate Studies Assistant) using the form GSO.17, should be for a
specified period of time, and must have the support of the supervisor and the college.
The essential criterion for suspension of status is that there are good reasons why the student is
unable to pursue his/her course of study or research. Relevant circumstances could include
illness, accident, maternity leave, domestic crisis or unforeseeable financial difficulty.
Alternatively, it might be essential to concentrate temporarily on some other project (e.g. gaining
some other qualification) which could not reasonably be deferred until after postgraduate work
was completed; or a student might have an exceptional opportunity to take up temporary work
which was likely to be important to future career, and which was unlikely to recur.
At the end of the period of suspension students should submit a GSO.17A form to confirm that
they have returned to their studies.
If a student fails to submit a thesis within the allotted time, and without being granted suspension
or an extension of time, his/her status as a graduate student will lapse. To continue his or her
work, the student will need to apply for reinstatement. Applications must be made to the
Graduate Studies Committee, should be for a specific period of time, and must have the support
of supervisor and college. Each case is dealt with on its merits, and reinstatement is easiest to
obtain when the thesis has actually been completed and is ready to be examined.
21. Teaching by Graduate Students
Graduate students who have completed a year of graduate work may, if they wish, undertake a
limited amount of tutorial or class teaching. Students at the D.Phil. stage are strongly
recommended to gain some teaching experience; it is an important part of the training for
academic work and a valuable asset when applying for academic jobs. But it is important not to
take on too much and students should consult their supervisor about how much time they should
devote to teaching. A tutorial commitment of four hours per week, which would involve
additional preparation and marking time, should be considered as a maximum. Before beginning
to teach, students should attend a designated Teaching Skills Course.
Students who wish to undertake any teaching should add their name to the Graduate Students
Teaching Register, which is displayed on the Economics Department web-page at
http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/Intra/Grad/Register/. An Application Form to join the Register,
and details of forthcoming Teaching Skills Courses, are available there.
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22. Recognised Students
Oxford University sometimes admits students for graduate work who do not intend to be
candidates for a higher degree. These are usually students working for a research degree
elsewhere who want to spend up to a year in Oxford. If admitted, such students are not members
of the University or of a college, but are known as Recognised Students.
A Recognised Student has an academic adviser appointed by the Department and has the right to
use University libraries and attend lectures, classes and seminars. The maximum tenure of
Recognised Students is three terms. Residence as a Recognised Student does not count towards
residence required for Oxford degrees.
23. Annual Activity Report
All students in Economics with DPhil status are required by the Department to submit an Annual
Activity Report. The purpose of this report is to give research students the opportunity to report
on the progress of their work and to draw to the attention of the Graduate Studies Committee any
problems which have been or are being encountered. The student’s interviewer receives a copy
of the report and will address any serious problems or refer them to the Graduate Studies
Committee. The supervisor also receives a copy of the report but with specific comments about
24. Library Facilities for Graduate Students in Economics
Some important libraries for graduate work are mentioned here, but several others may be useful
for specialised purposes.
The Social Science Library is located in the Manor Road Building on Manor Road. It contains
both research material in economics and international development as well as a lending
collection of items listed on graduate and undergraduate reading lists produced by the Economics
Department. The library is open during Term from 9.00 am until 10.00 pm Monday – Thursday,
on Friday from 9.00 am until 7.00 pm, on Saturday from 10.00 am until 6.00 pm, and on Sunday
from 12 noon until 6.00 pm. Study spaces dedicated to graduate students are provided and group
discussion rooms are available for booking.
Photocopying facilities and a laser printer are available. A photocopy card may be purchased
from library staff and can be used in many other libraries including the Bodleian. Fifty PCs offer
access to all the University's networked electronic resources (e.g. EconLit, Social Science
Citation Index, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences and over 12,000 full-text
electronic journals). A scanner in the library makes it possible to convert statistical tables into
electronic data for easier manipulation and analysis.
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Over 97% of the collection can now be found on OLIS, the online catalogue for the University,
available at http://www.lib.ox.ac.uk/olis/. The use of online ordering, journal registration and
lending makes it possible for library users to find out from OLIS when a book has been ordered,
if a book is charged out to another reader and if a particular issue of a journal is to be found in
the library. It is possible to place reservations, renew items and request items from the Bodleian
bookstacks to the Social Science Library using OLIS. For items not available in Oxford, a
British Library inter-library loans service is offered. Admission to the library and the use of
many library services is by means of the University card. For further information please see
The Bodleian Library is the major research library in Oxford and, in fact, is one of the most
important libraries in the world. As is the case with all large libraries, readers must be prepared
to go to some trouble in order to understand how to exploit its immense resources to the fullest
advantage. New postgraduate students are invited to attend one of a number of talks arranged by
the staff of the Reader Services Department at which detailed explanations of the Library's
catalogues and reference material are given. These talks take place throughout the year on
Tuesdays and Fridays at 9.30 am and are held in the Lower Reading Room (Old Library, First
Floor). The Bodleian is not a lending library and all books and periodicals must be read in the
library. Admission to the Library is given on production of a University Card, which students
will receive via their colleges.
Nuffield College Library, though a College Library for the principal use of its members and not a
part of the University Library Service, has strong collections in the social sciences, including
economics. It is open to all graduate students of Oxford University for reference only, 9.30 am
to 5.30 pm, Monday to Friday. It also offers a separate reference collection of all books on the
core reading lists of the M.Phil. in Economics. Please bring your University Card to the Library
to register. See the Library website: http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/library/.
The Sainsbury Library, Saïd Business School. The Sainsbury Library is open to all members of
the University of Oxford, for reference and borrowing of long loan books (short loan books are
only available for loan to members of the Business School). The Library is open to visitors from
9am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, year-round. You will need to show your University card at the
Business School reception desk in order to get a temporary card to access the library. The
subjects covered by the Sainsbury Library include Strategic Management, Marketing,
Operations Management, Finance and Accounting, Human Resources Management, and
Information and Knowledge Management. The library’s entire collection of books and
journals are catalogued on OLIS. The library does not have a large printed collection but is
strong in e-resources, which cover e-journals, company and financial information, management
research, market and industry research and news. Its access to company and stock market data
is particularly extensive. Many of its e-resources are available University-wide via OxLIP, but
some financial databases (Thomson One Banker, Datastream and Bloomberg) are only available
in the Sainsbury Library.
Templeton College, Information Centre. Graduate students who wish to use Templeton
resources for reference must contact the Information Centre (Tel 422564 or email
email@example.com) in advance, and will need a letter of introduction from their
supervisor. The Information Centre is open throughout the year from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm,
Monday to Friday. It collection of periodicals and books covers business, management and
related disciplines such as industrial relations and labour economics, organisational behaviour
and strategy, retailing, and health service management. A number of research papers are
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available from the college web site: http://www.templeton.ox.ac.uk.
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25. IT Facilities
IT literacy is an integral part of everyday life and university students are expected to be able to
use the computer facilities provided for their coursework. Students should register with the
Oxford University Computing Services (OUCS). Registration entitles the student to a
username and an e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org (additionally, students
are provided with a second address pointing to the same mailbox where "economics" is replaced
by your college's name) on the central mail servers.
Registering with OUCS.
1. Either - Go in person to the Reception Desk at OUCS, 13 Banbury Road, OX2 6NN;
2. or - Look under the URL http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/registration/oxford/ for online self-
registration (however it is advisable to visit the OUCS, at least once, to familiarize yourself
with what is on offer at the centre).
3. For IT facilities look under the URL http://welcometoit.ox.ac.uk/
Computing facilities for Economics students are available from OUCS, from individual colleges,
and from the Department of Economics
(Please email email@example.com)
A wide range of computers, computer packages and programming languages are available within
the university environment. However, hardware facilities are very decentralized and it is almost
impossible to cover in full, the variety, availability of and accessibility to computer terminals and
Most colleges provide excellent facilities and have, or are installing, private data points (Ethernet
sockets) in students' accommodation. Students who wish to buy/bring their own hardware
should get in touch with their college's IT officer for information on availability of private data
points before coming up to Oxford.
Details of what is on offer, both in hardware and software, can be found under the following
• Rules and Resources http://www.ict.ox.ac.uk/oxford/
• Department of Economics http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
• University of Oxford http://www.ox.ac.uk/
• Oxford Colleges http://www.ox.ac.uk/colleges
Certain applications such as Word, Scientific Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint etc. have become
the de facto standard within university communities and graduate students are expected to be
familiar with at least some of them.
Most M.Phil. students will not need significant knowledge of a computer language and in most
cases it will be sufficient simply to learn how to use standard computer packages. Students find,
in writing their theses, that they may make use of one or more of the following: Sas, Spss, Tsp,
Pc-Give, Rats, Stata, Ox, Gauss.
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Introductory courses are available from OUCS and information is also available from locations
on the web – see the IT staff for more details.
Please note that classes are planned so that students may be required to make use of some of the
applications listed above. Tuition is usually given by the lecturer in charge of the classes.
Students writing M.Litt. or D.Phil. theses may wish to make much heavier use of the available
computing power and may also need to write their own programs. Short courses are provided in
programming languages by OUCS. The provision of programming advice is, however, a scarce
resource, and graduate students should expect to write and test any necessary new programs
Registering with the Department of Economics
The Department of Economics operates a number of Windows Servers. Graduate students are
guaranteed an amount of centralized storage suitable to their needs. Individuals must sign a
usage declaration before they are allowed to access the system. An IT Induction Pack is
available from Reception in the Manor Road Building, firstname.lastname@example.org (01865
271073), at the start of week 0. This details all the relevant information concerning the
Economics Servers and how to obtain an account.
Introductory material and details of the Economics system are also covered in an introductory
class on “IT Resources available in Oxford”. New students are strongly encouraged to attend
one of these classes (the same session is repeated more than once) where they will be instructed
on: (1) how to connect to the Economics servers and (2) how to access resources on the
Economics network, including software and personal file storage areas.
Any graduate student who expects to do a significant amount of computing or a large computing
project should discuss this well in advance with Giuseppe Mazzarino. Students are
automatically allocated web space by OUCS upon registration, however space is also available
on the Department’s web server should it be required for a particular reason. Jim Leek is the
Economics webmaster and should be contacted if you wish to make use of the Department’s web
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26. The George Webb Medley Endowment Fund
The George Webb Medley Endowment Fund was set up for the making of grants ‘for the
promotion of the study of the science of political economy’. Currently registered graduate
students, i.e., reading for an M.Litt., D.Phil., or M.Phil. may apply for grants from this fund to
further their research. Typical examples would be applications for the finance of fieldwork
outside Oxford or for the data preparation of a sample survey referred to above. Grants are given
only for projects that include a substantial amount of economic analysis.
Application should be made in advance of incurring any expenditure and each one must be
justified in terms of its relevance to the student's research plan and of a carefully worked out
budget based on the cheapest form of travel. It will need the support of one referee (normally the
supervisor) who should be asked by the applicant to write direct to the secretary of the fund.
Grants will not be made towards the foreseeable expenses of obtaining a higher degree (such as
the cost of typing, binding or photocopying a thesis). Applicants may be interviewed by the
assessor of applications.
Further details and application forms may be obtained from:
George Webb Medley Endowment Fund
Department of Economics
Manor Road Building
Applications may be sent in at any time, but it is advisable to apply at least one month in advance
of the project for which the grant is required.
The managers will expect some reporting back on the research carried out with the help of the
fund, and any material, such as the microfilm or computer tapes should be made available to the
University (generally to the Economics Library).
27. Financial Assistance for Overseas Students
The International Office focuses on all matters specifically relating to international
students. The office is headed by Mrs Beverly Potts (01865) 270189; e-mail
email@example.com). It provides advice and support for all aspects of work
relating to international students, including funding and immigration advice, scholarships
administration, student exchange schemes and the annual orientation programme. Overseas
(non-EU) students in financial need should consult the Graduate Studies Prospectus, available
from www.admin.ox.ac.uk/gsp, or the Tutor for Graduates in their college.
The government-funded Overseas Research Students (ORS) Awards Scheme enables overseas
non-EU students to pay University fees at the lower rate applicable to Home and EU students,
the award meeting the balance. (The liability for college fees is unaffected.) These competitive
awards are made solely on academic merit and potential. Since financial need is not a criterion,
possession of other sources of funds debars no-one from consideration. Application forms are
obtainable from the International Office, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1
2JD. The deadline for return of completed forms is usually in December but you must check
this with the International Office.
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28. The Joint Committee of the Department of Economics and
Junior Members on Graduate Matters
The Graduate Joint Consultative Committee (GJCC) provides the official link between
Economics graduates and the Department of Economics. Any matter of concern to graduates
may be raised here and discussed with the Director of Graduate Studies with whom the GJCC
normally meets once per term. It will then go forward to the Graduate Studies Committee or the
Department as appropriate. Equally, proposals made by Senior Members may be brought to the
committee to see what graduates think of them and for discussion. Recent topics have included
library opening hours, photocopying facilities, supervision problems, M.Phil. classes, the timing
of exams and the content of lectures and seminars. Information on the GJCC membership and
minutes from GJCC meetings are available on the intranet of the Economics Department at
The student representatives of the GJCC conduct a survey every year to find out students’ views
on the graduate programmes in economics. The results of this survey have been effective in
bringing about significant changes in the way in which lectures and classes are run. The survey
is typically conducted at the end of Hilary Term. However, if you have any comments or
complaint about how your course is being run, you may contact your Graduate Students’
representatives directly at any time.
The current GJCC representatives will arrange for new representatives to be elected by the
beginning of Michaelmas Term. Positions will be advertised as they become available, but
students interested in being in the committee should contact the GJCC representatives at the
email addresses given above.
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29. Problems and Advice
If you have a problem or need advice or information, and are uncertain of the best way to
proceed, there are various possible courses of action open to you, according to the nature of the
difficulty. You could consult:
(i) Your supervisor.
(ii) Your interviewer (on supervision matters, or presenting a case to the Graduate Studies
(iii) The Graduate Studies Assistant, Mr. Alec Sims, Graduate Studies Office, University
Offices, Wellington Square (who will advise on Graduate Studies Committee business
such as application deadlines and regulations).
Telephone: 01865 270738 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(iv) The Graduate Administrative Officer in the Department of Economics, Mrs Julie Minns
(for information on courses, lectures, departmental procedures etc.).
Telephone: 01865 281162 Email: email@example.com
(v) The Course Director of the M.Phil. in Economics, Professor Paul Klemperer
(on M.Phil. course matters).
(vi) The Director of the M.Sc. in Economics for Development,
Professor Stefan Dercon (on M.Sc. course matters).
(vii) The Department’s IT Manager, Mr. Giuseppe Mazzarino.
(viii) Student representatives on the Economics Graduate Joint Consultative Committee, to
express student views (see Section 29).
(ix) The Director of Graduate Studies in Economics, Professor John Quah. (Before
approaching the Director, students should normally first consult their interviewer who will refer
any issues needing the Director’s personal attention.)
Relevant telephone numbers can be found in the University Internal Telephone directory and e-
mail addresses in the Department of Economics webpage.
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Appendix 1 - List of University Application Forms for Graduate Students
The following forms can be found at http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/gso/forms. They are also
available from the Graduate Studies Office, University Offices, Wellington Square.
GSO.2 Application for Transfer of Status: To be used for transfer from PRS to M.Litt. or
D.Phil. status; for transfer from M.Litt. to D.Phil. status or for transfer from D.Phil. to
M.Litt. status. (along with ECON.1 – see below)
GSO.3 Application for Appointment of Examiners for D.Phil. or M.Litt.
GSO.3A Deposit and Consultation of an M.Litt. or D.Phil. Thesis. This should be submitted to
the Graduate Studies Office with the library copy of the thesis and is required before a
thesis can be deposited in the Bodleian
GSO.3B Deposit and Consultation of an M.Phil. Thesis. This should be submitted to the
Graduate Studies Office with the library copy of the thesis and is required before a
thesis can be deposited in the Bodleian
GSO.4 Application for Admission as a D. Phil or PRS student. This is used when students
have completed an MSc or MPhil and wish to apply for admission to a course of study
leading to a D.Phil.
GSO.6 Application for Change of Thesis Title (M.Litt. or D.Phil.)
GSO.8 Application for Dispensation from Statutory Residence
GSO.14 Application for Confirmation of D.Phil. Status. Supplementary information is found is
GSO.15 Application for Extension of Time (M.Litt. or D.Phil.)
GSO.16 Application for an Early Viva
GSO.17 Application for Suspension of Status
GSO.17A Confirmation of Return from Suspension of Status
GSO.18 Application for Extension of Time to complete Minor Corrections for M.Litt. or D.Phil.
(after the viva has been held)
GSO.23 Application for Reinstatement as a Graduate Student
GSO.25 Application for a Change of Supervisor or Appointment of a Co-Supervisor
GSO.26 Thesis Cataloguing Form for M.Phil., M.Litt. or D.Phil. This should be submitted to
the Graduate Studies Office with the library copy of the thesis and is used by the
Bodleian for thesis cataloguing.
GSO.29 Notification of Withdrawal from Programme of Study
ECON.01 Application for Transfer to D.Phil. Status in Economics. This form should be
submitted with the form GSO.2 when applying for a transfer of status
The following guidance notes are also available:
GSO.20 Notes on Submission of Theses and Examination
GSO.21 Notes on the Preparation and Submission of Theses
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Memorandum of Guidance for Research Students and their Supervisors
Responsibilities of the student
1. The student must accept his or her obligation to act as a responsible member of the
University's academic community.
2. The student should take ultimate responsibility for his or her research programme and
endeavour to develop an appropriate working pattern, including an agreed and professional
relationship with the supervisor(s). The student should discuss with the supervisor the
type of guidance and comment which he or she finds most helpful, and agree a schedule of
3. He or she should make appropriate use of the teaching and learning facilities available
within the University.
4. It is the student's responsibility to seek out and follow the regulations relevant to his or her
course, including faculty/departmental handbooks/notes of guidance, and to seek
clarification from supervisors and elsewhere if this is necessary.
5. The student should not hesitate to take the initiative in raising problems or difficulties,
however elementary they may seem. He or she should ensure that any problems regarding
the project are drawn to the attention of the supervisor so that appropriate guidance may
6. The student should seek to maintain progress in accordance with the plan of work agreed
with the supervisor, including in particular the presentation of the required written material
in sufficient time for comment and discussion before proceeding to the next stage. As
groundwork for the thesis, the student should as soon as possible write rough drafts of
possible chapters. Students in the sciences should keep a systematic record of all that has
been attempted and accomplished. Both the student and the supervisor will want to keep a
record of all formal, scheduled meetings. They may well want to agree a record of what
has been discussed and decided.
7. The student should recognise that a supervisor may have many competing demands on his
or her time. The student should hand in work in good time to the supervisor and give
adequate notice of unscheduled meetings. The need for adequate notice also applies to
requests for references from the supervisor.
8. The student should be aware that the provision of constructive criticism is central to a
satisfactory supervisory relationship, and should always seek a full assessment of the
strengths and weaknesses of his or her work.
9. If the student feels that there are good grounds for contemplating a change of supervision
arrangements, this should first be discussed with the supervisor or, if this seems difficult,
with the interviewer or the college adviser.
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10. Where problems arise, it is essential that a student gives full weight to any guidance and
corrective action proposed by the supervisor.
11. The student should provide regular reports on his or her progress to the faculty board in
accordance with the requirements of the Committee for Graduate Studies of the General
Board. The student must satisfy the supervisor on his or her progress at least once a year
and should inform the supervisor at once of any circumstances that might require his or her
mode of study to be modified or his or her registration as a graduate student to be
extended, suspended or withdrawn.
12. The student should ensure that the standard of his or her English is sufficient for the
presentation of a thesis. Students whose first language is not English should take advice
13. The student should make full use of the facilities for career guidance and development, and
should consult their supervisor for advice and encouragement where appropriate.
14. The student should ensure that he or she allows adequate time for writing up the thesis,
taking the advice of the supervisor. Particular attention should be paid to final
15. It is the student's responsibility to decide when he or she wishes to submit the thesis for
examination, after taking due account of the supervisor's opinion, though this is only
advisory. It is in the student's interests to ensure that the final version has been made
available to the supervisor in good time before the intended date of submission.
Responsibilities of the supervisor
1. In considering an invitation to supervise a research student, the supervisor must recognise
and accept the responsibilities both to the student and to the relevant faculty board or
committee implicit in the supervisory relationship.
2. Where practicable, the supervisor should assign the student some directed reading before
arrival. This might be of a general background nature so as to put the student in a position
to discuss the topic with the supervisor soon after arrival, or it might form the start of a
literature survey. The supervisor is required to make an appointment for a meeting with
the new student not later than the first week of Full Term.
3. The supervisor is responsible for giving early advice about the nature of research and the
standard expected, and about the planning of the research programme. The supervisor
should ensure that, where the student's research forms part of a funded research
programme, sufficient financial support will be available for the duration of the student's
period of study; if there is any doubt, he or she should agree with the student an alternative
fallback project at an early stage. The supervisor is also responsible for advising the
student about literature and sources, attendance at classes, and requisite techniques
(including helping to arrange instruction where necessary).
The supervisor should discuss with the student the lecture list for his or her subject and
related lecture lists. The supervisor should identify with the student any subject-specific
skills necessary for the proposed research.
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4. Where during his or her first year of research a student wishes, in addition to contact with
his or her supervisor(s), to have limited consultation with one or two other academics the
supervisor should try to identify (in conjunction with the Director of Graduate Studies for
the faculty, sub-faculty or department) such colleagues and to arrange for an approach to
them by the student.
5. Where a supervisor operates as a co-supervisor or as a part of a supervisory team, it is
important to clarify the responsibilities of each supervisor and to co-ordinate advice and
6. Where the thesis is likely to involve statistical analysis or tabulation of numerical results,
the supervisor should arrange for the student to obtain advice, at an early stage, about the
design of any experiment or the collection and storage of data, and about its subsequent
7. The supervisor should ensure that the student works within a planned framework which
marks out the stages which the student should be expected to have completed at various
points in his or her period of study. The nature of the framework will of course vary
widely from subject to subject, but in all subjects the formulation of the topic, planning and
careful management of time should begin at an early stage. Particular attention should be
given to the selection and refinement of the research topic, which in the case of the D.Phil.
should be one which a diligent student may reasonably be expected to complete within
three (or at most four) years of full-time study.
8. The supervisor should meet with the student regularly. Times should be fixed to ensure
that a busy supervisor does not inadvertently find that meetings are less frequent than the
student would like, and to give sufficient time for the student to discuss the work and for
the supervisor to check that certain things have been done. Informal day-to-day contact
should not be seen as a substitute for formal scheduled meetings. The supervisor should
also be accessible to the student at other appropriate times when advice is needed. The
supervisor should also request written work as appropriate and in accordance with the plan
discussed with the student. Such work should be returned with constructive criticism and
in reasonable time.
9. The supervisor should tell the student from time to time how well, in the supervisor's
opinion, work is getting on, and try to ensure that the student feels properly directed and
able to communicate with the supervisor. It is essential that when problems arise,
corrective action is clearly identified and full guidance and assistance are given to the
10. The supervisor is required to report to the faculty board on the student's work three times a
year, once at the end of each term. Each report should state the nature and extent of recent
contact with the student, and, if there has been none, state why this is so. The report
should also make clear whether the student is making satisfactory progress, bearing in
mind that a D.Phil. thesis should normally be completed within three (or at most four)
years of full-time research. Any student who has not satisfied his or her supervisor on at
least one occasion in an academic year that he or she is making progress will be liable to
have his or her name removed from the register.
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11. The supervisor should aim to ensure that by the end of the first year the topic or goal of the
student's research is clearly defined, that the student has the necessary background
information, and that the required resources are available. The supervisor must have
ascertained by then that the student can write a coherent account of his or her work in good
12. The supervisor should try to ensure that unnecessary delays do not occur. These have been
known to arise, for example, for reasons such as the following:
(a) insufficient effort at the outset in choosing and formulating the research topic;
(b) a slow start because of the time taken to adjust to research work;
(c) distractions from the main line of inquiry;
(d) superfluous attempts to tie up every loose end;
(and mainly in the sciences)
(e) inadequate and delayed planning and assembly of apparatus and equipment;
(f) insufficient collection or recording of data at an early stage, so that work has to be repeated
in the later stages.
13. The supervisor should arrange for students to have the opportunity to discuss their research
with other staff and students in their subject area (see also (3) above) and to communicate
to others in the wider academic community, both orally and in writing, his or her research
14. Where a student undertakes research as part of a team or group the supervisor should
ensure that this is in full awareness of the way in which the student's own contribution fits
into the work of the remainder of the group.
15. The supervisor should not be absent on leave unless appropriate temporary supervision has
been arranged for the student.
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Responsibilities of faculties and/or departments
1. Faculties and/or departments should inform the student of:
(i) any induction provided on a departmental, faculty or University basis;
(ii) welfare arrangements within the University, e.g. the Counselling Service, Student
Hardship and Access funds, the provisions for support offered by the Proctors and
(iii) any general transferable skills from which the student is likely to profit during the
course of his or her research, and the available provision at departmental, faculty and
2. Faculties and/or departments should ensure that there is appropriate monitoring of a
student's work and progress and that reports are submitted on a termly basis in accordance
with the University's requirements.
3. Faculties and/or departments should endeavour to provide opportunities for a student to:
(i) defend his or her findings to appropriate research seminars and respond to
potentially critical questioning;
(ii) at an appropriate stage to present his or her findings to national, and if appropriate,
4. Faculties and/or departments should
(i) help the student to present work in a clear and professional manner;
(ii) develop his or her communication skills, especially for different audiences;
(iii) provide some guidance in oral examination techniques.
Safety and Health
Supervisors of all students, whether in the arts or in the sciences, should consider carefully the
safety implications of their students' research. Those supervising students (particularly those in
the sciences) are responsible for all aspects of safety under their control, and in particular for the
safe conduct of all experiments carried out in the course of their students' research. In the event
of an accident, inadequate supervision may render the supervisor liable to prosecution.
Supervisors should also ensure that their students are made aware that in the event of injury to
other persons as a result of their negligence, the student could be subject to civil claims for
damages. Advice on the legal responsibilities for safety may be obtained from the University
Safety Officer. For their part, students must carry out research with proper regard to good health
and safety practices. Supervisors and students should be aware of the need for adequate health
insurance and health precautions when travelling abroad. In case of doubt, reference should be
made to the University Medical Officer.
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Complaints and academic appeals within the Department of Economics
1. The University, the Social Sciences Division and the Economics Department all hope
that provision made for students at all stages of their programme of study will make the need
for complaints (about that provision) or appeals (against the outcomes of any form of
2. However, all those concerned believe that it is important for students to be clear about
how to raise a concern or make a complaint, and how to appeal against the outcome of
assessment. The following guidance attempts to provide such information.
3. Nothing in this guidance precludes an informal discussion with the person
immediately responsible for the issue that you wish to complain about (and who may not be
one of the individuals identified below). This is often the simplest way to achieve a
4. Many sources of advice are available within colleges, within faculties/departments
and from bodies like OUSU or the Counselling Service, which have extensive experience in
advising students. You may wish to take advice from one of these sources before pursuing
5. General areas of concern about provision affecting students as a whole should, of
course, continue to be raised through Joint Consultative Committees or via student
representation on the faculty/department’s committees.
3.1 If your concern or complaint relates to teaching or other provision made by the
faculty/department, then you should raise it with the Director of Undergraduate Studies or
with the Director of Graduate Studies as appropriate. Within the faculty/department the
officer concerned will attempt to resolve your concern/complaint informally.
3.2 If you are dissatisfied with the outcome, then you may take your concern further by
making a formal complaint to the University Proctors. A complaint may cover aspects of
teaching and learning (e.g. teaching facilities, supervision arrangements, etc.), and non-
academic issues (e.g. support services, library services, university accommodation, university
clubs and societies, etc.). A complaint to the Proctors should be made only if attempts at
informal resolution have been unsuccessful. The procedures adopted by the Proctors for the
consideration of complaints and appeals are described in the Proctors and Assessor’s
Memorandum [http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/proctors/pam/] and the relevant Council
[4. If you concern or complaint relates to teaching or other provision made by your
college, then you should raise it either with your tutor or with one of the college officers,
Senior Tutor, Tutor for Graduates (as appropriate). Your college will also be able to explain
how to take your complaint further if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of its
- 40 -
5. An appeal is defined as a formal questioning of a decision on an academic matter
made by the responsible academic body.
6. For undergraduate or taught graduate courses, a concern which might lead to an
appeal should be raised with your college authorities and the individual responsible for
overseeing your work. It must not be raised directly with examiners or assessors. If it is
not possible to clear up your concern in this way, you may put your concern in writing and
submit it to the Proctors via the Senior Tutor of your college. As noted above, the procedures
adopted by the Proctors in relation to complaints and appeals are on the web
7. For the examination of research degrees, or in relation to transfer or confirmation of
status, your concern should be raised initially with the Director of Graduate Studies. Where a
concern is not satisfactory settled by that means, then you, your supervisor, or your college
authority may put your appeal directly to the Proctors.
8. Please remember in connection with all the cases in paragraphs 5 – 7 that:
(a) The Proctors are not empowered to challenge the academic judgement of examiners
or academic bodies.
(b) The Proctors can consider whether the procedures for reaching an academic decision
were properly followed; i.e. whether there was a significant procedural administrative error;
whether there is evidence of bias or inadequate assessment; whether the examiners failed to
take into account special factors affecting a candidate’s performance.
(c) On no account should you contact your examiners or assessors directly.
9. The Proctors will indicate what further action you can take if you are dissatisfied with
the outcome of a complaint or appeal considered by them.
G:\SSD 2 2 Academic Committee\Complaints & appeals\Complaints & academic appeals.doc
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EPSC NOTES OF GUIDANCE ON PLAGIARISM
Academic Integrity: good practice in citation, and the avoidance of plagiarism
In their Essential Information for students, the University’s Proctors and Assessor draw
attention to two extremely important disciplinary regulations for all students.
“4 No candidate shall present for an examination as his or her own work any part of
the substance of any part of another person’s work.
5 In any written work (whether thesis, dissertation, essay, coursework, or written
examinations) passages quoted or closely paraphrased from another person’s work
must be identified as quotations or paraphrases, and the source of the quoted or
paraphrased material must be clearly acknowledged.
…… The University employs a series of sophisticated software applications to detect
plagiarism in submitted examination work, both in terms of copying and collusion. It
regularly monitors on-line essay banks, essay-writing services, and other potential sources of
material. It reserves the right to check samples of submitted essays for plagiarism. Although
the University strongly encourages the use of electronic resources by students in their
academic work, any attempts to draw on third-part material without proper attribution may
well attract severe disciplinary sanctions.”
(The Proctors’ and Assessor’s Memorandum, Section 9.5
Useful guidance on plagiarism
‘Plagiarism is the use of material appropriated from another source or from
other sources with the intention of passing it off as one’s own work.
Plagiarism may take the form of unacknowledged quotation or substantial
paraphrase. Sources of material include all printed and electronically
available publications in English or other languages, or unpublished materials,
including theses, written by others.’
To avoid plagiarism, it is important for all students within individual subject areas to be
aware of, and to follow, good practice in the use of sources and making appropriate
reference. You will need to exercise judgement in determining when reference is required,
and when material may be taken to be so much a part of the ‘general knowledge’ of your
particular subject that formal citation would not be expected. The basis on which such
judgements are made is likely to vary slightly between subject areas, as may also the style
and format of making references, and your tutor or course organiser, where appropriate, will
be in the best position to advise you on such matters; in addition, these may be covered,
along with other aspects of academic writing, in your induction.
By following good practice in your subject area you should develop a rigorous approach to
academic referencing, and avoid inadvertent plagiarism. Cases of apparently deliberate
plagiarism, while happily infrequent in the University, are taken extremely seriously, and
where examiners suspect that this has occurred, they bring the matter to the attention of
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DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS
Notification of M.Phil. Thesis Supervisor
To be returned to Julie Minns, Graduate Administrative Officer,
Department of Economics, Manor Road Building, Manor Road, no later
than the end of Week 8 of Trinity Term of your first year
1. Student’s name:
2. College, Hall or Society:
3. Thesis Topic:
4. Name of thesis supervisor:
5. Signature of thesis supervisor:
6. Signature of student: Date:
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