Progression Monitoring

Introduction

Making consistent progress during your research degree programme is crucial to success. If you are studying at Doctoral level, you are required to undertake formal progression monitoring assessments, in accordance with the Regulations for your research degree. The progression assessment comprises two parts: the submission of a written report and the oral defence of your work at a viva. 

Progression monitoring assessments serve a number of purposes:

  • They provide you with feedback from outside of your immediate supervisory team which can enrich your research.
  • They can help you identify training and developmental opportunities.
  • They are an opportunity for you to practice orally defending your work, which you will need to do as part of your final examination.
  • They determine your suitability to remain registered on your programme.

 

Satisfactory completion of progression monitoring is demonstrated by:

  • A progress report completed by the candidate and submitted for assessment by a progression monitoring panel.
  • Completion of training and development identified in the skills audit.
  • Satisfactory engagement with the research support plan.
  • Consideration of any security sensitive research.
  • Consideration of ethical approval. Please note: the normal expectation for PhD students (full-time and part-time) is to complete an ethics form and gain approval at the relevant School Committee by Progression Point 1. Please refer to your School guidelines on completing ethics forms for approval.
  • The defence of the progress report by viva examination in front of the progression monitoring panel.
  • Confirmation by the progression monitoring panel that the candidate is able to proceed to the subsequent year of study.

 

For questions about progression monitoring, speak to your supervisor or School PGR Admin Team in the first instance. You should also check to see if your School has any specific additional requirements for submission. 

 

Changes owing to Covid-19

Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, for the foreseeable future all progression monitoring viva examinations will take place remotely via Microsoft Teams.

 

The Progression Report

but The progression report should typically be equivalent to 3,000 to 6,000 words in length. Your supervisor should be able to advise you on the usual format of progression reports in your subject area, but as a minimum the report should include:

  • A review and discussion of the work already undertaken.
  • Defines the aims and objectives of the research project.
  • Progress made since the last report, for second progression only.
  • Any particular problems encountered by the candidate (e.g. access to resources/ facilities or issues relating to language or disability support requirements).
  • A brief statement of the intended further work, including an indication of the original contribution to knowledge which is likely to emerge.

 

It is good practice to appropriately reference and provide a bibliography within your progression report. Speak to your supervisor for more guidance and to determine the appropriate referencing style for your discipline.

If, by your second Progression Monitoring assessment, you realise that you are likely to exceed the permitted word limit of your thesis (see section A.4 of General regulations governing all research degrees), you may use your Progression Report to make a request to have the word limit increased. Should you wish to do this, you must incorporate a statement into your report that explains why the nature of your research means that additional words are needed. Students will be permitted to have an additional 20,000 words and approval will be confirmed via the Progression Monitoring 2 Assessor Report. 

 

Before you submit your progression report

Before you submit your report you should provide a copy to your supervisor and ask them to review this for you and provide you with feedback. Both you and your supervisor will need to declare this has taken place when you complete the Progression monitoring student and supervisor submission declaration.

You can also upload a copy of your report to your School’s draft Turnitin area, which can support you to identify where there may be issues with paraphrasing or referencing that need to be resolved. The draft Turnitin area can be found on your School BrightSpace page and your supervisor or School PGR Admin Team can advise how to find this. This area allows you to make unlimited draft submissions of your work to be checked through Turnitin without affecting any future submissions, although only the last uploaded version will be available for you to view.

 

Skills Audit

You will have completed a Skills Audit as part of your Research Support Plan assessment. You must review and update your Skills Audit and submit it alongside your progression report as part of PM1 and PM2. The skills audit should identify and prioritise gaps in your knowledge or skills and include evidence of how you are addressing, or plan to address in future, these areas through training and development activities. To write more than the free-text areas allow, adapt the form to include further detail.

When updating your Skills Audit, you may wish to:

  • Explore SkillsForge to find available courses relevant to each stage of your research;
  • Explore training resources in the Researcher Environment area on BrightSpace; in particular the Academic Writing and Task and Time Management sections.
  • Look at what further courses are available through Epigeum. The Research Methods and Managing your Research Project course may be of particular interest, which can be found in the Transferable Skills modules.

 

Additional Requirements for Progression Monitoring 1

For all PGRs who started their degree after September 2020, it is compulsory that you complete the University’s prescribed Research Integrity Training. Details on how to access this are held on the Research Environment area on BrightSpace. Alternatively, you can attend any type of research integrity training, for example, training delivered by your School.

You will be required to declare that you have completed this training as part of your PM1 assessment as part of the Progression monitoring student and supervisor submission declaration.

 

Deadlines

Full-time Doctoral candidates:

  • Your Progression Monitoring 1 report and skills audit must be submitted by the end of month 9 and you must have successfully completed all aspects of progression monitoring (including the viva and any amendments) by the end of month 12;
  • Your Progression Monitoring 2 report and skills audit must be submitted by the end of month 18 and you must have successfully completed all aspects of progression monitoring (including the viva and any amendments) by the end of month 24;
  • Professional Doctorate candidates are only required to complete one Progression Monitoring assessment, with the report an skills audit submitted by the end of month 18 and successful completion of all aspects of progression monitoring (including the viva and any amendments) by the end of month 24.

 

Part-time Doctoral candidates:

  • Your Progression Monitoring 1 report and skills audit must be submitted by the end of month 18 and you must have successfully completed all aspects of progression monitoring (including the viva and any amendments) by the end of month 24;
  • Your Progression Monitoring 2 report and skills audit must be submitted by the end of month 42 and you must have successfully completed all aspects of progression monitoring (including the viva and any amendments) by the end of month 48;
  • Professional Doctorate candidates are only required to complete one Progression Monitoring assessment, with the report an skills audit submitted by the end of month 30 and successful completion of all aspects of progression monitoring (including the viva and any amendments) by the end of month 36.

 

It is important to make sure you know what your specific deadlines are for submitting these reports. You School will confirm your deadlines once you have enrolled and will also send you a reminder as your progression points are nearing. If you are in any doubt, speak to your School PGR Admin Support team but please remember it is your responsibility to submit on time.

Successful completion enables progression to the next stage of the research degree programme and is a prerequisite for registration for the next academic year.

If you fail to submit your report by the deadline or complete progression monitoring successfully this may lead to your withdrawal from the programme.

 

What to do if you cannot submit on time

If you are experiencing any problems that affect your progress, please discuss this with your supervisor as soon as possible.

If you are experiencing either a short-term illness or personal difficulty you may be able to apply for a Progression Extension of up to four weeks (for full-time candidates) and up to eight weeks (for part-time candidates).

 

Forms

All relevant forms relating to the submission and assessment of progression monitoring can be found in the table below.

Form

Description

Progression monitoring student and supervisor submission declaration

This must be submitted by the student with the progression monitoring report. You should speak to your School PGR Admin Team about the specific submission requirements (what, where and how), as this may differ between schools

Progression monitoring 1 Assessor report (PM1)

This is to be completed by the progression monitoring examiners and will be provided to them by the School PGR Admin Team

Progression monitoring 1 resubmission assessor report (PM1R)

This is to be completed by the progression monitoring examiners and will be provided to them by the School PGR Admin Team

Progression monitoring 2 assessor report (PM2)

This is to be completed by the progression monitoring examiners and will be provided to them by the School PGR Admin Team

Progression monitoring 2 resubmission assessor report (PM2R)

This is to be completed by the progression monitoring examiners and will be provided to them by the School PGR Admin Team

Transfer assessment Master's to PhD

This is to be completed by the progression monitoring examiners and will be provided to them by the School PGR Admin Team

Progression Monitoring - External Assessor Appointment Form

This is to be completed by the proposed external assessor for a staff candidate's progression assessment, in order for their appointment to be approved, and will be provided to them by the School PGR Admin Team

Progression Monitoring staff external assessor report This is to be completed by the external assessor of a staff candidate and will be provided to them by the School PGR Admin Team

 

How to submit your progression report

You can submit your report through the student portal MyHud in the ‘My Research’ area as shown below. All other paperwork should be emailed to your School PGR Admin Support team. For further support on how to submit, please speak to your supervisor or School PGR Admin Support team in the first instance.

The Progression Viva

Progression is a formal process to monitor and assess the progress you are making on the research project and to identify and record completion of training and development through the skills audit. The assessment will determine your ability to remain registered on the research programme.

You will be required to attend a progression monitoring viva (to orally defend your work). The viva will normally last around 45 – 60 minutes. The assessors will consider both your written work and your oral presentation when considering the outcome.

The progression monitoring assessment will comprise of two panel members that are independent of you and your supervisory team (the assessors will be organised by your supervisor). If you are a staff PGR an external assessor will also need to be appointed.

You may request the presence of one member of your supervisory team at the progression monitoring viva, but they can take no part in the examination and must leave the room while the examiners discuss and agree on the outcome. It can be useful to have your supervisor there, because they may pick up on some aspects of feedback that you might have missed - especially if you are nervous in the examination. 

 

Assessment outcomes

Following your progression monitoring viva, your assessors will complete their report and make a recommendation on the outcome. Once reviewed by your Director of Graduate Education you will be provided with the outcome and a copy of the assessors’ report. You should expect to receive your report within 15 working days of your progression assessment. The length of time it takes for you to receive your report within this time limit will be dependent upon the availability of the examiners and the extent of feedback they wish to provide. 

If the assessors are satisfied with your report and oral defence they may decide that you can progress.

If, however, the assessors agree that they are not satisfied with your report and oral defence they may decide the following:

  • You address the required amendments and resubmit the report. They may also request a second viva.
  • You complete further work and submit for the award of MA/MSc by Research (progression monitoring 1 only).
  • You complete further work and submit for the award of MPhil (progression monitoring 2 only).
  • You are not allowed to proceed and will be withdrawn from your research degree.

 

If you are required to resubmit your report this means you have been given another opportunity to improve and refine your submission. You will need to work closely with your supervisor to address the assessors’ required corrections. You are only permitted one resubmission opportunity.

Upon examining the resubmission, your assessors may decide:

  • You are allowed to progress.
  • You complete further work and submit for the award of MA/MSc by Research (progression monitoring 1 only).
  • You complete further work and submit for the award of MPhil (progression monitoring 2 only).
  • You are not allowed to proceed and will be withdrawn from your research degree.

Your assessors may recommend that you undertake formal academic English training. For PGRs whose first language is not English you can make an appointment with the Academic English Centre.

 

Appealing the outcome

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your progression assessment, you may wish to submit an assessment appeal. Please see our Assessment Appeal Regulation and Procedure for further details.

 

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