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Research studies take place 52 weeks of the year, and students are entitled to 38 days of holiday (including bank holidays) during that time. Students are expected to live and study in Oxford unless fieldwork takes them further afield.

All students enrolled on the Masters by Research course begin their studies as a "Probationer Research Student" (PRS) and have one assessment prior to submission of the thesis. The assessment is designed to evaluate the student’s progress with their studies.

Transfer to MSc Status provides an opportunity for a detailed check on a student’s progress, and understanding of their Masters' research, within the first four terms of the programme and is an opportunity for students to receive independent feedback.

Research examination process: After successful completion of the Transfer to MSc Status the student may apply for permission to supplicate for the degree any time after the third term. A viva examination will be conducted by two examiners, one internal to the University and one external.  This typically takes place within three months of the examiners being sent the completed thesis.