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The University of Southampton
Doctoral CollegePostgraduate Research Handbook

Progress Monitoring

Students who enrolled on their doctoral studies before 1 August 2016

Transfer/Upgrade from MPhil to PhD

For research students who registered prior to 1 August 2016, the ‘Confirmation of PhD status’ procedure will be referred to as ‘upgrade from MPhil to PhD registration’ or ‘transfer from MPhil to PhD registration’. Research students who registered before 1 August 2016 will follow the timings for upgrade/transfer from MPhil to PhD registration that applied at the time of their admission, and paragraph 64 of the Code of Practice for Research Degree Candidature and Supervision provides a summary of these timings depending on year of entry. 

For other progression requirements, research students who registered before 1 August 2016 will follow the timings and procedures as determined by their Faculty which applied at the time of their admission. Research students should refer back to their Faculty for further information.

The student must meet the criteria set, and provide the supporting evidence, as detailed in paragraphs 73-75 of the Code of Practice for Research Degree Candidature and Supervision. Generic guidelines for the format of submission, and criteria to be used to define the outcomes from Confirmation of PhD status/Transfer/Upgrade from MPhil to PhD, are detailed in the Quality Handbook. However, the precise requirements can vary by Faculty, and by discipline.

Students should be aware that the Panel may recommend that a student is transferred to an MPhil programme if the criteria are not met. With regards to the transfer of programme, the University will comply with its obligations under the relevant immigration legislation which may be updated from time to time.

A student who is concerned about their entitlement to remain in the UK following a failure to progress should seek urgent advice from the Visa and Immigration Student Advice Service. Full details can be found in paragraphs 70-79 of the Code of Practice for Research Degree Candidature and Supervision.    

Note that ALL upgrade/confirmation panels must consist of at least two independent assessors and no members of the supervisory team, regardless of year of entry.

Students who enrolled on their doctoral studies after 1 August 2016

As stated in paragraph 64 of the Code of Practice for Research Degree Candidature and Supervision, if you enrolled on your doctoral studies after 1 August 2016, you will be required to undertake Progression Reviews during your studies within the timescales shown in the Table in Submission Timings - Standard PhD Programmes below.

The second Progression Review is known as Confirmation of Doctoral Candidature and must be successfully completed before you may submit your thesis for examination. 

The ‘decision’ time windows refer to periods in which progression decisions must be made. These timings may be adjusted on a pro-rata basis for students registered on non-standard research programmes where other duties are a formal part of the programme; these timings are shown in the Tables B, C and D below.

Your assessment in each Progression Review will be based on a piece of submitted work, followed by a Viva with a Progression Review Panel. You will be required to provide all the relevant material by a submission deadline stated in PGR Tracker (or equivalent system). 

Two attempts at each review are permitted. The second attempt at the Progression Review will involve a repeat viva. However, if the assessors deem that the Report is sufficient to progress, the repeat Viva will be cancelled.

Failure to meet the criteria for a successful progression review will lead to a termination of candidature in line with the Procedures for Circumstances that may lead to Withdrawal or Termination. Interim Progression Reviews will take place for part-time students who have not undergone a Progression Review in the previous 12 months of candidature. Exceptional Progression Reviews may be scheduled, on the stipulation of your Faculty Director of the Graduate School, if significant academic concerns have been raised about your candidature. 

Confirmation of PhD Status

If you enrolled on the degree of PhD after 1 August 2016, you must successfully meet the requirements of a Confirmation panel to submit for a PhD. The Second Progression Review will form the Confirmation. 

Submission Timings - Standard PhD Programmes

Progression Review submission and decision windows for standard programmes

*The submission deadline for second attempts will be set in the action plan following your first attempt. 

 Standard ProgrammesFull Time  Part Time  
  Student Submission First Attempt Decision Second Attempt Decision* Student Submission First Attempt Decision Second Attempt Decision*
First Progression Review Months 7 - 9 Months 8 - 10 Before the end of month 12 Months 17 - 20 Months 18 - 21 Before the end of month 24
Second Progression Review (Confirmation) Months 17-20 Months 18-21 Before the end of month 24 Months 29-41 Months 30-42 Before the end of month 48
Third Progression Review Months 29-32 Months 30-33 Before the end of month 36 Months 60-65 Months 61-66 Before the end of month 72

Submission Timings - iPhD Programmes

Progression Review submission and decision windows for iPhD programmes

*The submission deadline for second attempts will be set in the action plan following your first attempt. 

iPhD Programmes Full Time  Part Time  
  Student Submission First Attempt Decision Second Attempt Decision* Student Submission First Attempt Decision Second Attempt Decision*
First Progression Review Months 19-21 Months 20-22 Before the end of month 24 Months 38-41 Months 39-42 Before the end of month 45
Second Progression Review (Confirmation) Months 29-32 Months 30-33 Before the end of month 36 Months 49-59 Months 50-60 Before the end of month 65
Third Progression Review Months 41-44 Months 42-45 Before the end of month 48 Months 75-80 Months 76-81 Before the end of month 86

Submission Timings - EngD Programmes

Progression Review submission and decision windows for EngD programmes

*The submission deadline for second attempts will be set in the action plan following your first attempt. 

 EngD ProgrammesFull Time  
  Student Submission  First Attempt Decision Second Attempt Decision*
First Progression Review Months 19-21 Months 20-22 Before the end of month 24
Second Progression Review (Confirmation) Months 29-32 Months 30-33 Before the end of month 36
Third Progression Review Months 41-44 Months 42-45 Before the end of month 48

Submission Timings - Mayflower Programmes

Progression Review submission and decision windows for Mayflower programmes

*The submission deadline for second attempts will be set in the action plan following your first attempt.

Mayflower Programmes Full Time  
  Student Submission First Attempt Decision Second Attempt Decision*
First Progression Review Months 7-9 Months 8-10 Before the end of month 12
Second Progression Review (Confirmation) Months 23-26 Months 24-27 Before the end of month 30
Third Progression Review Months 35-38 Months 36-39 Before the end of month 42

Faculty and School Information on Progression Milestones

Generic guidelines for the format of submission and criteria to be used to define the outcomes from Progression Reviews are detailed in the Quality Handbook. However, the precise requirements can vary by Faculty, and by discipline. 

Further information about Progression Reviews are detailed in paragraphs 64-69 of the Code of Practice for Research Degree Candidature and Supervision.

Details of Faculty and School specific requirements can be found via your Faculty below:

Chemistry

Progression Milestones for Chemistry

Social Sciences

Progression Milestones for Education, Maths and Economic, Social and Political Science, Southampton Business School and Southampton Law School.

External Requirements

If your studies are funded partly or fully by an external organisation, there may be a requirement for you or your supervisor to complete additional reports for your sponsor.  These reports do not form part of the University’s progression processes.  As part of the annual enrolment process, all students give their consent for the University to provide appropriate information on request to third parties, such as sponsoring organisations.

Supervisors must not return these completed forms to the sponsor directly.  They must communicate such reports to the sponsor via the Faculty Graduate School Office so that they can be scrutinised by the Doctoral Programme Director/Faculty Director of the Graduate School and recorded on file.

If you are funded in whole or in part by a UKRI research council, you will need to comply with the UKRI grant terms and conditions. These include an expectation that you should submit your thesis within the funding period.  You should discuss this with your supervisor throughout your study to ensure that you are in a position to meet this expectation.

Unsatisfactory Progress

Your supervisor should inform you of unsatisfactory progress as soon as it becomes apparent. Your supervisor should discuss this with you and put in place steps to resolve the issue. If there is continued unsatisfactory progress, the Faculty will follow the procedures as laid out in the Procedures for Circumstances that may lead to Withdrawal or Termination.

Termination of Candidature

There are several circumstances where a Faculty may recommend termination of candidature. The Procedures for Circumstances that may lead to Withdrawal or Termination outline procedures for:

  • Termination as a result of a recommendation from a Progression Review (including from an Upgrade/Transfer or Confirmation Panel)
  • Termination outside of a Progression Review (Exceptional Progression Review) due to significant academic concerns (including Interim Progression Reviews)
  • Termination as a result of failure to undertake the expected responsibilities of a PGR student
  • Termination as a result of failing to comply with progression review deadlines
  • Termination (deemed withdrawn) due to lack of contact
  • Termination (deemed withdrawn) as a result of failure to submit a thesis by the end of the maximum period of candidature.

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