Progression deadlines

Providing feedback about your progress at key stages.

Purpose of the progress review

The progress review provides postgraduate research candidates (PGRs) with formative feedback about your progress at key stages throughout your project. It enables the Graduate School and other university committees to monitor both individual progress and levels of current postgraduate researcher (PGR) activity overall in line with Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) requirements.

Your progression through a research award is dependent on your successful achievement of the progress point relevant to each stage of PGR registration. You are notified of your individual progress review dates by the Graduate School upon registration. If you need to check the date of your progress review please contact the Graduate School.

Progression examination (first stage)

Each postgraduate researcher needs to complete a progression examination, comprising a written report and a viva, to demonstrate that suitable progress has been made since the start of your research degree.

Overview

View an overview of regulations, responsibilities, timescales and outcomes in the Graduate Handbook. It also contains explanations of the roles of persons/groups involved in the progression examination, such as the:

  • Director of Studies (DoS)
  • Independent examiners
  • Faculty Research Degrees Committee (FRDC)
  • Research Degrees Award Board (RDAB)
  • Graduate School office.

Before the progression viva

Please complete these procedures by the deadlines specified in the terms and conditions accompanying your offer letter (or as otherwise confirmed by the FRDC). These deadlines vary according to the award (eg MPhil, PhD) and mode of study (ie part time, full time). The following summary should be considered alongside the information contained within the Graduate School Handbook.

  • Director of Studies (DoS): Submit form RD2a (Doc) to the Faculty Research Degrees Committee (FRDC) to approve the progression examination team (via the Graduate School office).
  • Graduate School office: Notify the student/DoS of the FRDC decision regarding the RD2a. 
  • Director of Studies: Confirm the date of the viva (if different to that stated in RD2a) with the Graduate School office and arrange the viva exam.
  • Graduate School office: The office is available to assist with viva exam arrangements if required.
  • Student: Circulate your report to the Graduate School office.
  • Examiners: Submit the preliminary report – RD2b (Doc) – to the FRDC via the Graduate School office. The preliminary reports should not be sent to anyone else,  including the other independent examiner. 

After the progression viva

Please complete these procedures by the deadlines specified in the terms and conditions accompanying your offer letter (or as otherwise confirmed by the FRDC). These deadlines vary according to the award (eg MPhil, PhD) and mode of study (ie part time, full time). The following summary should be considered alongside the information contained within the Graduate School Handbook.

  • Examiners: Provide the student with oral feedback on their recommended outcome. Submit the outcome report (RD2c (Doc)) to the FRDC via the Graduate School office.
  • Faculty Research Degrees Committee (FRDC): Considers the outcome recommendations, reports pass or resubmission outcomes to the Research Degrees Award Board (RDAB), and makes recommendations to the Board regarding fail outcomes.
  • Graduate School Office: Notifies the student of the RDAB decision.

Progress review (subsequent stages)

  1. Step 1

    The progression examination at the end of the first stage and is the first progress milestone. In subsequent stages, a progress review is carried out to ensure that satisfactory progress on the project is being maintained and to address any issues or concerns raised by the PGR or supervisor. A review meeting is held between the PGR, Director of Studies (DoS), and an independent reviewer at which submitted evidence of progress is discussed and objectives for the coming stage are identified. See also part 12 of the Graduate School Handbook.

  2. Step 2

    PGRs and their supervisors should agree in advance what kind of material from the approved range of options should be submitted as evidence which best reflects both the nature of the project and the research culture of its disciplinary context. This should be submitted to the Graduate School Office with a completed PR-a (Doc) form.

    Options for evidence

    Submit one of the following as evidence of progress:

    • At stage two: a thesis outline, a synthesis of outputs/data/activities, a presentation on progress, a presentation of output, or a draft thesis chapter.
    • At stage 3: a draft thesis/part thesis; or a presentation of findings; or other evidence to demonstrate that timely completion of the project and submission of the thesis will occur. A published paper(s) may be submitted as supplementary evidence at stage three, but the PGR must demonstrate how this will contribute to the thesis submission as a whole and set the paper(s) in the context of other draft thesis material submitted.

    The range of options for each stage aims to reflect the sort of material that a PGR might normally be expected to be producing at that point in their project, rather than to create additional workload.

  3. Step 3

    The independent reviewer and supervisor will complete a joint report on form PR-b (Doc) (submitted to the Graduate School Office) making recommendations for progression to the next stage of registration, or in the case of unsatisfactory progress a resubmission recommendation with a programme of remedial work to get the project back on track.

    Faculty Research Degree Committees (FRDCs) will consider the recommendations of all progress reviews and approve pass outcome or resubmission outcomes, or make recommendations to the Award Board (RDAB) for withdrawal of the PGR’s registration where progress continues to be unsatisfactory even after resubmission of remedial work.

    FRDCs will write to PGRs and their supervisors with the outcome of each stage of the progress review process.

PGR feedback

All PGRs will be invited to complete an online questionnaire on a regular basis to provide comments and feedback on the quality of their individual experience as a PGR at UWE Bristol, including supervision.