On-course applications: digitising paper processes

On-course applications are now live

See the latest updates

Ten of the paper-based Graduate (GSO) forms have now been replaced with on-line applications, digitised approvals, and workflows, making life easier for students, academics and administrative staff alike.

By using this user-friendly and fully secure system, graduate students are now able to complete and track the progress of applications easily and efficiently. All applications will be stored in one place, and applications can be accessed and approved wherever you are, as long as you have web access, via eVision or Student Self Service

The move online will reduce paper-based communication, photocopying and printing, and applications will be easier to track. The overall processing time will also be reduced through online workflow improvements.

The forms that have moved online are:

  • GSO.2b: Deferral of Transfer of Status
  • GSO.3: Appointment of Examiners
  • GSO.3c: Dispensation from consultation of the thesis
  • GSO.4: Change of mode of study
  • GSO.6: Change of title
  • GSO.8: Dispensation from residence
  • GSO.14b: Deferral of Confirmation of Status
  • GSO.15: Extension of time
  • GSO.27: Appointment of examiners - MPhil Law/Socio-Legal Research
  • GSO.29: Withdrawal 

As a result of this change…

Students will:

  • access these applications on-line through Student Self Service, through links replacing the paper forms on the Graduate forms website
  • view where their forms are in the reviewer workflow process
  • be sent a notification e-mail with the result of their application
  • use the GSO.19 form for any application for adjustments to assessment arrangements

All reviewers (including Supervisors, college and department reviewers) will:

  • view the status of all applications for the students under their responsibility in their eVision dashboard
  • be sent a link in the notification email when they have an action to undertake on the application
  • be able to refer the form back to students’ previous reviewers (with the exception of the Medical Sciences Board)
  • Supervisors and college reviewers (when applicable) will be notified of the application outcome via email 

System administrators and super users (GSAs) and graduate administrators can:

  • view the status of students submitted applications in a dashboard in eVision
  • action applications as authorised by the Departmental Reviewer in eVision
  • reassign applications for review (for example when a supervisor is on leave)

In addition, system administrators and super users will:

  • be able to update eVision with the decision where relevant
  • be able to send emails advising the student of the result via eVision
  • still need to manage items that require Education Committee or Proctors approval outside of eVision
  • In the case of Medical Sciences, be able to assign applications to a Divisional Board member for review

There are some exceptions to note:

  • Any paper forms already in circulation at this point will continue to go through the approval process in paper form. There is no requirement to restart a paper application on-line.
  • A paper-based version of the application for Dispensation from consultation of Thesis will remain on the Graduate forms website for former students who no longer have access to Student Self Service.
  • Colleges will no longer review the Appointment of Examiners application (instead a notification will be sent to the college when the student submits the application, in case any medical information needs to be sent to the Proctors). 

Training and support is available:


A series of changes and defect fixes have now been deployed to eVision functionality for managing supervisors both within Student Records and Graduate Admissions.

Changes to Manage Student Records functionality

The following changes have been made within the Student Records tab of eVision:

  • Manage Supervisors: Record Primary Supervisor - you can add/remove a primary supervisor flag against a supervisor record who, by default, will receive completed on course applications requiring a supervisor review. Note that this is not mandatory and the primary supervisor flag should not be added for students from the Medical Sciences Division and the Chemical Biology, Organic Chemistry and Astrophysics departments within the MPLS Division who have decided not to identify primary supervisors as default.
  • Manage Supervisors: Future Dated Supervisors - you can record a future dated supervisor relationship that will become active on the start date specified. Note that if the Graduate Supervision Reporting (GSR) reporting window is open this should automatically create supervision reports when the start date is reached however you may need to check this and manually add reports if the supervisor reporting window has already closed.
  • Retrieve Supervisor, Add Students: Defaults - When adding students to a supervisor in bulk, the supervisor weighting will automatically be set to 100%. The supervisor will also be automatically recorded as the primary supervisor, except for students from Medical Sciences and the MPLS departments mentioned above.

Please also note the following policy guidelines in relation to recording and maintaining supervision relationships: 

  • All matriculated students and some part-time non-matriculated students should be assigned at least one supervisor who will expected to submit supervision report via GSR and will receive payment following submission. Where multiple supervisors are assigned the weightings must total 100%.
  • A Thesis/Dissertation Supervisor may be assigned for PGT students if required by the department/faculty, and may submit a report in GSR (but will not receive a supervision payment).
  • A 'No Supervisors Relationship Report' is created in Weeks 4 & 5 of each term detailing to GSAs which students do not have an active supervisor relationship in SITS.
  • For all PGR offer-holders the UAB must normally appoint a Supervisor at the point of admission. However as the Supervisor may not yet be set up in the system, this is not mandatory, for example if the Supervisor is new to Oxford and not yet set-up in the Core User Directory (CUD).
  • PGT supervisors are normally added by GSAs by the end of Thursday of week 6 of Michaelmas term.

Changes to Graduate Admissions functionality

The following changes have been made within Graduate Admissions functionality:

  • UAB Administrator: Record Decision - The ‘Add Supervisor’ section has been updated to include the Primary Supervisor flag and add warning messages.
  • Applicant Summary - The ‘Research’ Tab has been updated to display the Primary Supervisor flag.

Training and User Guides

For further details of the changes listed please see the relevant training guides On Course Graduate Student Record Management (Section 12) for Student Records and UAB Graduate Admissions Manual (Sections 5.4, 5.5 and 11.2) for Graduate Admissions changes. 

If you have any questions regarding these changes please contact the Student Systems Support Centre.

Updated 24 June 2020

“Have submitted my application. The online system is fantastic!” (feedback from a student)

New on-course applications eVision functionality being released on 31 March allows System Administrators to be able to make the following changes without having to contact the Student Systems Support Centre (SSSC):

  • manage access for Super Users, System Administrators, Graduate Administrators, Medical Sciences Board and Department Reviewers
    • add people not currently in the role
    • change the role they undertake
    • make the role current or historic
    • altering rankings for Department Reviewers
  • Turn email notifications each person receives on or off 
  • Bulk update contact details 

For all system administrators, the functionality will appear under Student Records in the On Course System Administrator container on this date.

Updated 1 April 2020

In the first six weeks since on-course applications went live, over 200 applications were started, of which 65 were completed. Workflow has already sped-up the approvals process. If Academics are unsure how to process these, the quick reference guides can help them to access their dashboard.

Since the initial go-live, further functionality has been introduced, starting with the download of Appointments of Examiners data for the Research Degrees team. Subsequently a number of improvements have been made to the system, particularly to email functionality. This means that teams will now start to receive email notifications directly from the system.
Further functionality will go-live later this term, including user management to enable super users to opt out of receiving emails and to maintain primary and future dated supervisors.
The on-course applications project will close at the end of February. Any issues should be raised directly with the Student Systems Support Centre.

Updated 21 February 2020

Graduate students access the applications through updated web links on the Graduate forms webpage, where the new on-line applications are all highlighted with an asterisk (*), or from the My Student Record section of Student Self Service.  The On-Course Applications dashboard is displayed at the bottom of this screen, underneath the Check My Details section. There are five sections to the dashboard:

  • Additional action required - shows applications that are in the approval process, but have been referred back for further information
  • Submitted (Track your application here) - shows applications which have been submitted and are in the approval process
  • Unsubmitted / Draft - shows applications that have been started and saved but not yet submitted
  • Completed - shows applications that have been approved or withdrawn
  • New On-Course Applications - lists any types of applications that can be submitted online. This is where Graduate students begin an application

The student number and other relevant personal and course details will be pre-populated into all applications.

oca news 31 jan

Updates have been made to the Student Self-Service manual held on the Student Self-Service page which will also help with queries and to see the screens that the students see. There is also a training manual for staff on the Student Systems guides page.

Updated 31 January 2020

Moving applications online delivers the following benefits for users, academics and university staff:

  • Creating a user-friendly system. Students, academics and staff can complete and track the progress of applications easily and efficiently
  • The system is fully secure, with data managed in line with GDPR regulations
  • All applications will be stored in one place, and applications can be accessed or approved wherever you are, as long as you have web access, through Student Self Service or eVision
  • The move online will reduce paper-based communication, photocopying, and printing, and will mean that applications can no longer go astray or get stuck in someone’s in-tray
  • Overall processing time for applications will be reduced through online workflow improvements

The corresponding paper-based forms have been removed now their online applications are available. The web links to paper forms now lead students and staff to Student Self Service or eVision as appropriate, and colleagues are reminded not to hold stocks of paper forms. 

At the time new on-course applications was launched, any applications already submitted using a paper form will continue to be accepted, but any new applications after that date has to be made via the new applications in Student Self Service. The one exception is form GSO3c Dispensation from consultation of the thesis, for leavers who no longer have single sign-on access.

Working Group review of processes
The Working Group, chaired by Dr Andy Garlick (Assistant Registrar (Education) for the Social Sciences Division), comprises key academic and administrative staff from across the collegiate University. The group has reviewed the processes behind the paper forms, to establish where simplifications can be made, consider how to address the key issues and challenges regarding transition from paper-based form to automated online workflows, and make recommendations to be considered by the appropriate University governing bodies. The group will continue to be involved throughout the project. 

The Project Board meets on a regular basis to review progress of the on-course applications project and has ultimate responsibility for overseeing direction and governance of the project. 

The first ten on-course applications have now been launched in Student Self Service and eVision. Additional functionality for these applications will be provided in a second phase in Hilary 2020.

There are many more graduate paper forms, with complicated underlying processes, and therefore it is likely it will take a number of years to digitise them fully. These first online applications were prioritised for delivery by the Working Group to balance the end-user benefits of moving to an online workflow, while considering the relative complexity of the forms and the system development work required for successful delivery. Subsequent tranches have not yet been planned.