By Dalia Gala
When doing a PhD at Oxford (which here by the way it’s called DPhil), one must complete several milestones during its progression. One of these is “Confirmation of Status”. But when you see this name you might wonder: what status? And why does it need confirmed?
Well, in the 1st year, when you start your DPhil, you will have the “PRS” status, which means “Probationer Research Student”. After the 1st year is nearly complete and you have some work done, you will then have your “Transfer of Status”, where you change – transfer – to the DPhil status. The purpose of the transfer of status is for your committee to make sure that you have a viable research proposal, and that you are not lost and are being given proper support.
So what is “Confirmation of status”? In that milestone, which usually takes place during the 3rd year, you confirm that you are on the right track to submit your thesis on time, and that you should “remain” in the DPhil status. Confirmation usually takes place a year before you submit your thesis, but you must do it maximum the term before thesis submission.
So what do you do during the confirmation? Usually, your panel will ask you to prepare a 15-30 minutes presentation about your research so far, and about remaining steps which you plan to undertake in preparation for thesis submission. You also have to submit the planned list of your thesis chapters. The main purpose of the confirmation is for the student to show that they have some data and analysis, and that what they have yet to do is not overly ambitious. So when preparing for confirmation it is important to make sure you discuss your plans with your supervisor and draft a realistic plan which will not be questioned too harshly by your panel.
I have my confirmation of status this month, wish me luck! And good luck to all DPhil students who are preparing for their transfer and confirmation, you can do it!