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Research Programme

The OCMS research degrees programme consists of the pre-University 'OCMS Stage' and the University Stage

The OCMS Stage

The OCMS Stage extends from admission into OCMS to registration with Middlesex University, London on a research degree. This Stage normally lasts twelve to eighteen months for part-time students. The OCMS Stage comprises a broad induction into research followed by more focused reading and preliminary research leading to registration with the University and the approval of a developed research proposal. This Stage is designed to help students make the transition into UK Higher Education and meet its expectations. It is also diagnostic of students’ potential to undertake a research degree.

The OCMS Stage is intended, in particular, to equip students with the knowledge and training to enable them to:

  • Formulate their research problem;
  • Identify appropriate research methodologies and methods of inquiry for their proposed project;
  • Identify and work towards competency in the research skills and methods they need to develop;

On initial admission into OCMS, all students are required to attend a 5 week, full-time, residential Research Induction School. The induction school prepares new students to accomplish the goals set for the OCMS Stage. During the RIS, each student’s OCMS Mentor assesses their potential to undertake a research degree.

Forthcoming dates for the Research Induction School:

Tuesday 3 April – Friday 4 May 2018

Monday 1 Oct - Friday 2 Nov 2018

After the Research Induction School and before submitting for University registration, each student’s suitability readiness to undertake a research degree is reviewed.

The University Stage

After registering with Middlesex University, the student enters the university stage. For those students registered on the MPhil degree with the possibility of transfer to PhD, the MPhil Stage extends from University registration to the satisfactory completion of a qualifying period of study and transfer to PhD. For students registered for the MPhil as their target award, this Stage extends from registration with the University to the submission of a thesis for examination at MPhil level and the award of the degree.

Most students are enrolled on the MPhil degree with the possibility of transfer to PhD. For them, this Stage involves producing written work derived from their research and demonstrating a sufficient level of research skills development to satisfy their supervisory team and an independent assessor that they have the potential to complete a thesis of PhD standard within the registration period. For them, the MPhil Stage concludes a formal review process for transfer of registration to PhD.

There are some constraints on how much time students can spend in the university stage. From the date of their University registration, students have the following periods of registration within which to submit their thesis for examination:

  Minimum Maximum
MPhil (direct)
Full-time 18 month 36 months
Part-time 30 months 48 months
PhD via transfer from MPhil registration
Full-time 33 months 60 months
Part-time 45 months 84 months

Normally the text of an MPhil thesis in all disciplines (excluding supplementary material such as tables, diagrams, appendices, references, and the bibliography) shall not exceed 40,000 words.

To be awarded the degree of MPhil, candidates are expected to meet the following standard:

'The standard of the MPhil is that expected of a candidate who has investigated critically and evaluated an approved topic, and contributed to knowledge of this topic. The candidate must have demonstrated an understanding of research methods appropriate to the chosen field, and presented and defended a thesis, by oral examination, to the satisfaction of the examiners.'

A registered student in the university stage goes through the following process before completing a PhD degree:

  • A Dean’s Review: a formal review of progress held midway between transfer of enrolment to PhD and the candidate’s minimum submission date;
  • Completion of first full draft of the thesis;
  • A Pre-Submission Sub-Committee;
  • Final writing up;
  • Submission of thesis for examination;
  • Oral examination by Examining Board;
  • Corrections, or modifications and re- submission of thesis, as required by Board;
  • Award of a degree by the University.

Normally the text of an PhD thesis in all disciplines (excluding supplementary material such as tables, diagrams, appendices, references, and the bibliography) shall not exceed 80,000 words.

To be awarded the degree of PhD, candidates are expected to meet the following standard:

'The standard of the PhD is that expected of a candidate who has investigated critically and evaluated an approved topic resulting in an independent and original contribution to scholarship, worthy of publication in complete and abridged form. The candidate must have shown evidence of ability to undertake further research without supervision and have presented and defended a thesis, by oral examination, to the satisfaction of the examiners.'

The Oxford Centre for Mission Studies has undergone a review for educational oversight by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). See our QAA Review page for current judgements and a link to the full report on the QAA site.

If you do not wish to study as a formal student with us, you can study as a Research Associate.

Click here to download our current prospectus

* Please contact OCMS on further information on Middlesex University.

Further information and a downloadable application form are available from the Apply page.

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