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Progress meetings and the PhD confirmation process

PhD students have regular progress meetings throughout their course to monitor their work. Progress meetings are attended by the student, his or her supervisors, and the postgrad coordinator. Meetings are held after 6 months and 12 months, and thereafter every year until the student submits.

As preparation for each progress meeting, students must write a self-review report, which details what they done since the last meeting. The postgrad coordinator will send you an email to let you know when a progress report is due, allowing at least a month for you to write the report. When writing your report obviously you should seek input from your supervisors. When you and your supervisors are happy with it, email it to the postgrad coordinator, who will arrange a date for the progress meeting.

In the progress meeting, a progress report form is completed, which gives both the student and supervisors an opportunity to say how things are going, to bring up any issues, and generally to touch base. The completed form, plus the self-review report, is sent to the postgrad office.

The first two progress meetings are particularly important. When a student first arrives, he/she has a 'provisional' status: the first year allows the supervisors to assess how the student is doing. If they judge that the student will be able to get a PhD, the student will be 'confirmed' as a PhD student; if not, the student may be required to withdraw from the PhD programme, or to register for another degree. There's more information about the confirmation process on the University's official page about the first year of PhD study. It's important to note that most students are confirmed, but it's not automatic.

Confirmation normally happens in the second progress meeting, though it can sometimes happen in the first one. Often, a target is discussed in the first meeting, to be achieved by the end of the first year, and the confirmation decision in the second meeting is based on progress towards this target.

A note about the timing of meetings. Your progress reports are about your progress by 6 months, 12 months and so on - but you're allowed some time to write your reports. So the reports aren't normally due until around the 7th month, 13th month and so on.

If you have any questions about progress meetings or the confirmation process, please contact the postgrad coordinator.