Progress and monitoring - postgraduate researchers

PGRs and supervisors should meet regularly and records must be kept of all formal supervision meetings. Formal reports are also needed at key points during the research degree.

All PGRs and their supervisors can now use the Graduate Record of Achievement and Development (GRAD) system to organise and report on supervision meetings, to create a training plan, to organise and record all regular progress monitoring meetings (first formal progress review, transfer, and annual progress reviews), and to manage ‘change requests’ including annual leave, authorised absence and change of location.

Supervision meetings and guidance for the PGR

There should be at least ten formal supervision meetings per year for full time PGRs, in line with the Code of practice on research degree candidatures (the equivalent for part-time PGRs is six meetings).  

Regular meetings should be held to ensure that the PGR receives regular advice and guidance.

Each PGR should be offered the opportunity to meet annually with the postgraduate research tutor or head of school to review progress, without the supervisor. This gives the PGR an opportunity to comment on the supervision they've received and to raise any matters of concern.

Records of supervision meetings must be held in the Graduate Record of Achievement and Development (GRAD) system.

Progress reports

The minimum requirements for progress reporting are given below. All the following progress reports must be completed using the forms in the Graduate Record of Achievement and Development (GRAD) system.

Full time PGRs

Reports should be made in GRAD as follows:

  • at 6 months 
  • at the transfer stage (between 9 and 12 months to be reviewed at the transfer)
  • annually thereafter, including any overtime year

Part time PGRs

Reports should be made in GRAD as follows:

  • at 9 months
  • at the transfer stage (between 18 and 24 months to reviewed at the transfer)
  • annually thereafter, including during any overtime years

The PGR should always receive clear written information about the assessment of progress.

If the supervisor considers that the PGR's progress is unsatisfactory, they may consider starting the Unsatisfactory academic progress procedure. The procedure document sets out all the steps that should be taken including consultation with the postgraduate research tutor. Supervisors are encouraged to refer to the procedure as soon as they have any concerns.

First Formal Progress Report

PGRs will be expected to complete a review of their progress before the completion of six months of full-time study (or 9 months for part-time). There will be an opportunity to comment on any issues which may have adversely affected their progress. The supervisor will then provide an assessment of their overall progress, progress against the training plan and comment on English language written and communication skills.

Transfer

All doctoral PGRs are initially registered as provisional doctoral candidates and are therefore subject to a formal transfer assessment process within a specified timescale.  If successful in this assessment, the PGR is then transferred to doctoral study. 

As part of the submission for transfer the PGR will be expected to complete a review of their progress and offered the opportunity to comment on any issues which may have adversely affected their progress. Prior to the transfer assessment the supervisor will complete a report on their progress. The report will include an assessment of progress, progress against the training plan and comment on English language written and communication skills in addition to ethical and data storage requirements.

Annual Progress Review (Post-Transfer)

This will be completed for all PGRs including MPhil and part-time Masters by research. Progress will be monitored annually on or before the anniversary of the start date until submission of the thesis. 

There are two models for annual progress review meetings:

Model A: a meeting with the PGR conducted by the supervisor together with an individual independent of the supervisory team (adopted by FBS, Engineering, MAPS and Medicine and Health)

OR

Model B: a meeting between the PGR and the supervisor. The report of the meeting will be reviewed by a committee within the faculty/school (adopted by Arts, Business, Environment, ESSL and PVAC)

The PGR will submit the following in advance of the meeting:

  • reflection on progress to date (with the opportunity to highlight issues which have had a negative impact on progress)
  • timetable for completion (eg Gantt chart)
  • written work as required by the faculty/supervisor

Useful Links:

Graduate Record of Achievement and Development (GRAD) system

Guidelines on University Procedures and Recommended Best Practice for a Transfer Assessment Panel

Annual Progress Review (Post-Transfer) Guidelines

Guide for Research Degree Supervisors

University Code of Practice for Research Degree Candidatures 

Attendance monitoring – PGR students policy and guidance