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Research Student Progress Monitoring

Progression ammendment July 2017

This amendment affects all PGR progression after July 2017 and therefore the associated Research Progress Reviews 3 months beforehand. It subsumes the advice given informally, and the formal regulations as set out in the PhD and CDT Handbooks.


Student progress monitoring in the School of Computer Science follows the model set out in the Handbook for your programme and your year. This page gives an outline of the procedures.

Related pages

At the anniversary of entry each year research students are monitored as detailed below.

Examination sessions

Examination sessions will take place over the following periods.

  • For July starters: weeks of June 13th & June 20th 2016
  • For September starters: weeks of August 22nd, August 29th, September 5th and September 12th 2016
  • For January starters: weeks of December 5th & December 12th 2016
  • For April starters: weeks of March 13th & March 20th 2017
  • For July starters: weeks of June 12th & June 19th 2017
  • For September starters:vweeks of August 21st, August 28th, September 4th & September 11th 2017

3 year PhD programme - year 1

  1. The students prepare a short report by the end of month 8 (May for Sept starters, which aligns with the Scientific Writing course). This is approximately 1000 words stating the research aims and objectives, summarising what has been achieved during the first year, and outlining the plans for the year ahead. It is the Summary Report described in the student's handbook.
  2. By the end of month 9, each student will have a research progress review with the supervisor and the proposed second reader. This is described in more detail below. The supervisor will provide the following output: feedback to the student, any remedial action which is deemed necessary and a report in eProg on the quality and rate of progress of the research.
  3. Every 3-year PhD student is expected to write a long report on the research. Such reports are expected to be substantial documents, typically around 60 pages, and are assessed by the student's supervisor and an independent second reader. These reports are expected to:
    1. make clear the aims and objectives of the research programme;
    2. describe how the proposed research programme relates to other work in the area;
    3. present the work that has been carried out during the first year of study; and
    4. present a plan for the remainder of the PhD.
    The long report is due at the end of month 10.

Research Progress Review

The review comprises the supervisor(s) and the second reader. It is the responsibility of the supervisor and the student to organise it. The student will give a presentation, technical in nature, describing what the goal of the research is, what they have achieved, what they expect to achieve in the next few months, and their plan to complete the work within the next two years. This presentation should last 15 - 20 minutes. After this, there will be questions discussions from the supervisor and the assessor about the work.

The outcome will be twofold. First, feedback to the student, including whatever remedial action is deemed necessary to bring the research or progress up to an appropriate standard, but also whatever feedback will help the student at any level, including advice for writing the end of year report. Second, a report on eProg describing the joint evaluation of the student's research and progress, and any remedial action which has been assigned. This is important information for the End of Year Panel and should be a paragraph or more.

The Research Progress Review will not make a decision to pass or fail a student; that decision can only be made by an end of year panel. The goal of this new process is to give earlier information to the student if something is going wrong and allow time for corrective measures to be taken, and also provide better information to the end of year panel.

3 year PhD programme - year 2

Each student is required to write a report of 1000 words summarising what they have achieved during their second year and outlining their plans for the year ahead. In addition, each student must give a brief (10 minute) presentation of their work to a panel and answer any questions the panel has on their results and progress.

3 year PhD programme - year 3

By the end of year 3, a PhD student on a three year programme should be finished and should submit the thesis. If they are not finished, they can request to enter "submission pending", which provides further time to complete writing up the thesis (however, in many cases funding will stop at this point). There is an end-of-third-year monitoring form to be completed by the student and their supervisor, along with a one page report specifying the work that is complete and the work which still remains to be done, including a Gantt chart or other suitable plan for the time from completion of the form to anticipated submission of thesis. The student will need to request a meeting with the PGR Director to discuss progress and get the form signed.

Please note that the regulations that apply to a student are generally those that were relevant when they were admitted to the university. As regulations change with time, different students can end up with different GS-FEPS information manuals and different handbooks. reflecting the state of play when they entered. This means that what is true for one student (e.g. about the length of time for which they may register for a PhD or the rules of progression) may not be the same for another.