An MPhil degree is taken in two years as a full-time student or in four years as a part-time student. The degree is awarded following the successful completion of a period of research which includes the submission of a thesis, and its subsequent oral examination, together with a series of Departmental reports and seminars. The thesis is expected to display a comprehensive particular knowledge of some part or aspect of the field of study, and to make some original contribution to knowledge or understanding.
The MPhil research degree involves five formally required assessments which are timetabled as follows, assuming full-time registration starting in October:
MPhil Degree could also be studied part-time.
In the following, each assessment is discussed in turn. Please note that the statements on this page are for guidance only and do not fully reflect the University's and the Department's examination rules.
For all research students the first assessment is a literature review seminar given at a short Departmental conference about three months into the registration period. This seminar should be based on a fresh study of the Computer Science literature, carried out since the speaker's registration as a research student at York. The emphasis throughout should be on critical exposition of a clearly identified set of references.
The first written assessment is a qualifying dissertation. Each dissertation is independently examined by both supervisor and assessor, who jointly conduct the oral examination. The oral examination is also an occasion for more general discussion of the student's progress, and his or her work so far. Some revision of the dissertation may be required. If the final version is satisfactory, registration for a second year is confirmed.
The formal written assessment of the second year is a thesis proposal. The proposal should include an outline of a proposed thesis containing details of each proposed chapter and a possible abstract for the thesis. It should make clear how much of the necessary research work has already been completed, and state plans for the work still outstanding. An oral examination is again conducted by the supervisor and assessor.
The thesis seminar is given at a further short Departmental conference. The purpose of this seminar is for the student to present the central ideas and results of their thesis to their supervisor, assessor and colleagues. The goal is to ensure that by this stage in their study, students have a clear understanding of how they intend to present the results of their research in a concise form. In many respects a second year seminar should take the same form as would a presentation of the student's thesis at an international conference in their field of study. The seminar will be assessed by both the supervisor and assessor.
Candidates for the MPhil degree are examined orally on the material of their thesis and also on their knowledge of Computer Science in general. This examination is carried out by at least two examiners, normally the assessor and an external examiner who is not a member of the University.
The normal period of registration for part-time MPhil students is four years. The literature review seminar is preferably given after three months, and the qualifying dissertation is due after 18 months. The thesis proposal should be submitted after three years, while the thesis seminar is normally given in the fourth year.