Confirmation of Status

Due: Eighth Term
The purpose of Confirmation of Status is to confirm that you are continuing to work at the appropriate doctoral level and to provide assurance that if the work on the thesis continues to develop satisfactorily, then submission by your deadline would appear to be reasonable.
For Confirmation, the Oriental Studies Board states that it wishes to be assured:
i.    that the subject proposed is such, in its scope and nature, as to give the student a proper opportunity to fulfil the statutory requirements for the award of the degree of DPhil, and in particular the requirement that ‘the student has presented a significant and substantial piece of research of a kind which might reasonably be expected of a diligent and competent student after three or at most four years of full-time study’; 
ii.    that the subject is a valid one, is satisfactorily defined, and can profitably be studied at Oxford. Providing that these conditions are satisfied, the board has no preconceptions about the type of subject that is suitable for a DPhil, except that it is to come under the aegis of the Oriental Studies Board;
iii.    that the candidate’s ability and qualifications, as judged by the evidence before the board (in particular the reports of especially appointed assessors and the reports of their supervisor), are such as to hold out a reasonable expectation that they will be able to reach the standard required for the award of the degree.

Applying for Confirmation of Status
To apply for Confirmation you need to submit the following to the Academic Office:
•    A draft chapter or two chapters of your thesis (10,000 - 15,000 words);
•    An abstract of the thesis, a list of chapters with a paragraph describing each chapter, a clear statement indicating which chapters have been written, and a detailed timetable for completion;
•    A completed GSO14 form signed by you, your supervisor(s) and college.

Take the form, and two copies of the piece of work and the thesis proposal to the Academic Administrator (Graduate Studies) who will send the work to the two assessors nominated by your Supervisor. In due course the assessors will contact you directly to arrange for an interview.

In order to meet your official deadline, you should submit your application by 8th week of the term in which it is due. The official deadline is the date by which the process must be completed (i.e. interview held and the report received and approved); it is not sufficient to merely have submitted by that date. 

Your supervisor will nominate and approach two assessors who are then sent your Confirmation application after you submit it. Your assessors will contact you to arrange an interview which should last 1-2 hours (for which you do not need to wear sub fusc). Their report following the interview should cover:
•    an evaluation and description of the written work and the interview
•    evidence of linguistic competence (when relevant)
•    a clear recommendation of whether the student’s DPhil status should be confirmed.

The Director of Graduate Studies then approves the outcome and you will be formally notified. 

Your assessors can recommend one of the following outcomes which is then considered and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies:

Successful confirmation
Your report should include an assessment of your proposed project, suggestions for improvement (where appropriate) and comments on the suggested timetable.

Reference back for a second attempt (due within one term)
Your assessors should include a detailed description of what is required in your resubmitted piece of work. This can range from better referencing of submitted work or redrafting of your proposal to significant further reading of secondary sources or rethinking the broad outlines of the project.

Transfer to Master of Letters (MLitt)
This is only where the assessors are firmly of the opinion that a student is unlikely to be able to produce work of DPhil standard during their time at Oxford.