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Later this month, research students in the Medical Sciences Division will be given access to a new Research Thesis Digital Submission (RTDS) application. RTDS is a simple, safe and secure way that students can submit a digital copy of their research thesis and additional materials. Examiners can then use RTDS to return corrections, referrals or notes to students. RTDS is being piloted within the Medical Sciences Division only, for the Hilary and Trinity 2017 deadlines, before it is rolled out to the wider University in 2018. Research students can opt to use the application at any point during that time to submit a digital copy, although the paper copy remains the official copy (details below). Students and examiners will also be encouraged to feed back their experience of using RTDS via a brief survey, which will be analysed to ensure the application meets users’ needs.

What students and examiners gain through using RTDS
When research students and their examiners use RTDS in conjunction with each other, they share one location to securely share files, and the student has a single source of corrections to work from. Research students and examiners will receive automated email notifications to inform them when they need to access RTDS, which for students will be via login, while examiners will receive a unique web link that takes them directly to the relevant files for download. 

Rules and regulations
Use of RTDS to upload a thesis digitally does not change the formal requirement to submit a printed copy to the Exam Schools as detailed in the Examination Regulations 2016, and this remains the official copy. The student and examiner’s use of a digital copy of a thesis is optional but if they choose to use one, then RTDS must be used as the method for sharing it, other mechanisms for sharing the digital copy (e.g. email, DropBox) are not permitted.  The minimum time between both examiners receiving the official copy of the thesis and a viva date remains at 4 weeks (as referred to under ‘the oral examination or viva’ section of the Research examinations web page). If the RTDS pilot is successful and the application is adopted across all Divisions, revision of the Regulations is something that could then be explored to increase the efficiency of the examination process for both students and examiners.

Further details
Research students and Graduate Studies Assistants will be informed when the RTDS is available, and examiners will be made aware if their student submits their files through RTDS via an automated notification from RTDS. From RTDS, you will have access to Frequently Asked Questions and Quick Reference Guides. Queries can be sent to the Submissions and Research Degrees Team directly (email: researchdegrees@admin.ox.ac.uk).