‘Transfer’ refers to the process whereby a PGR student ‘transfers’ from MPhil to PhD. The transfer process will usually take place after one year for full-time PGR students and after two years for part-time PGR students. The process at Lincoln Law School includes the submission of a seven thousand word transfer report which should provide a detailed overview of the PGR students research (including a literature review, methodology section, proposed time scales and chapter plans and a section dedicated to original contribution) followed by a panel who are there to question the PGR student to assess progress in a supportive, constructive yet academically rigorous way. The transfer process is not unique to Lincoln and most PhD programmes will have something similar, though it may be called something different such as a ‘review’ or ‘progress interview’. The next part of this blog post will provide some of our (Lincoln Law PGR’s) ‘top tips for transfer’.

Top tips for the transfer process!

  1. Make sure that you know your report inside out.

This may seem obvious, but it is crucial you know what is in your report. You cannot anticipate what questions you are going to be asked and therefore it is essential that you at least know the research you have submitted to the panel.

 

  1. Know your originality.

It is likely that your report already has an originality section contained within it, but it is important that you can also articulate it if required. The original contribution to knowledge places value onto your research and therefore it is likely to be a basis for discussion. Ensure you can summarise why and how your research contributes to knowledge.

 

  1. Know your methodology.

Like originality, methodology is also an important element of your research and there will likely be at least one question on it. The panel may understand the basis of your research but want you to clarify exactly how you are going to carry it out. If your subject is not one whereby you are familiar with methodology (like law) ensure that you dedicate some time to learning your methodology and being able to explain what it is you do to undertake the research.

 

  1. Don’t rehearse

You do not want to sound like a robot or panic if the questions being asked are adaptions from what you had been rehearsing! It is good to have some elements summarised so that you know how to articulate them (such as originality or methodology) but do not try to anticipate every question and rehearse answers.

 

  1. Know your limitations.

It is unlikely that anyone has perfect research at transfer stage. Therefore, it is important that you can identify some of the limitations of your research and that you are at least aware of them (so that the panel do not bring limitations up that surprise you). Also, try to think of how you could improve on some of your current limitations, can they inspire you to undertake future research?!

 

  1. Listen to your panels feedback.

Your panel will provide you with valuable feedback and it is important that you consider it and reflect on it going forward.

 

 

  1. Make a list of the top ten nightmare questions you could be asked.

This is quite a good strategy to adopt. Try to think of a few (or ten!) of the absolute worst questions someone could ask you about your research. This will usually be something you are not too strong with explaining. Then take steps to work out how you would go about addressing these questions should they be asked (again, you do not need to rehearse answers but just have an idea as to how you might respond!) This will hopefully make you feel relaxed.

 

  1. Research your panel

It is always a good idea to know who is going to be on your panel. Take some time to view their research profiles and read any relevant research. This will help you to develop a better idea as to what their particular expertise are.