Information for current postgraduates

Annual reviews

The progress of postgraduate research students must be reviewed for each year of the programme. Progress is assessed at nine to 12 month intervals each year until thesis submission.

The University provides an online annual progression monitoring system and requires Schools and supervisors to review student progress within nine to 12 months for each year of full time or part-time study for doctoral or MPhil degrees. This will form the basis for confirmation of degree registration, or permission to progress.

The annaul review process allows students to reflect on their progress so far and plan for the following year. The process also allows students and supervisors the opportunity to raise and address any concerns that may arise so that the students receive the support they need in order to succeed on the programme.

Similar procedures apply to part-time students, and reviews of part-time students will also take place within nine to 12 months of their matriculation. The reviewers will make allowance in their assessment for the part-time status of the student’s candidature. 

The first annual review is carried out in order to assess:

  • whether the candidate is capable of doing a PhD
  • whether their work is sufficiently developed, and of the required standard, to justify confirmation of PhD registration.
  • whether the supervisory team is appropriate

Subsequent reviews will: 

  • review the previous year’s progress against the previous plan. If progress differed from that expected, the meeting reflects on how and why work did not proceed as anticipated;
  • agree a sensible programme of work for the coming year including, where appropriate, a target thesis submission date;
  • review the supervisory relationship (e.g., was the support appropriate and adequate in the last year? Could anything improve the relationship? Will the student’s supervisory needs evolve in the coming year?)
  • review training undertaken in the previous year and agree training and development opportunities for the coming year.

Annual review process and timeline

a) The first review will take place within nine to 12 months of the student’s matriculation.

b) Progress in subsequent years is assessed at nine to 12 month intervals until thesis submission.

c) Students will be notified by email when it is time to complete the annual review form.  Typically, this will be sent 8 months from the anniversary of the start date of studies.  Access to the online form is also available through MyEd.  The email notification will prompt students to complete the annual review form online via a direct link displayed within the email with the aim of completing the form and having the annual review meeting within one month of receiving the email. 

c) The online form is forwarded to supervisors for in preparation for the review meeting. This meeting can take place either in person or by Video Conference/Skype and comprises the student and supervisors plus a member of academic staff outside of the supervision team.  It may include someone who is not a member of the university.

d)  The student will provide the documentation listed below to the panel in advance of the meeting as agreed between supervisor and student.

e) The assessors discuss the work presented with the student by asking questions, giving constructive feedback and making suggestions. It may last up to 2 hours, to allow enough time for a full assessment of the work and of the student.

f) After each review, students are provided with feedback from the assessment panel.  Supervisors will be frank about any difficulties that have arisen and will give their views on the prospect of successful completion.

g)  In consultation with the Postgraduate Director, the review panel will recommend to the College Postgraduate Committee the future of the student's candidature via the online report. 

h) Where a serious problem is identified or discontinuation is considered, the review panel will specify where the work is deficient and explain what work needs to be done to bring it up to the required standard in the report. A second review will be arranged within 3 months at which the student has the chance to present a revised piece of work (only one repeat review may be undertaken before confirmation of registration). If the review panel still finds that the student has not met the required standard, then discontinuation will be recommended.  Further details can be found in Postgraduate Research Assessment Regulations.

i) If the review panel advises discontinuation, then the student will be interviewed. Students will not be discontinued until they are given an opportunity to respond to the assessment.

Review panel recommendations

a)  confirmation of registration for the degree for which the student is matriculated;

b) a repeat progression review to be held within 3 months;

c) for part-time students only for the first progression review: deferment of the confirmation decision to the second annual review;

d) registration for a different research degree such as MPhil or MSc by Research;

e) registration for a postgraduate taught degree (MSc) or diploma, which may be recommended if the student has undertaken the coursework for that qualification;

f) exclusion from study.

The College Postgraduate Committee is responsible for making the progression decision.

Further guidance on the annual review process is available here: 

Annual Review Form Guidance

Postgraduate Assessment Regulations

Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students