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Doctoral College

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Progression Milestones

Progression Milestones are key stages of your candidature. They comprise of One Month Plan, First Review, The Report (interim thesis) and Formal Progress Review.

This page will guide you through each Milestone.

This is a guide and does not link to PGR Tracker.

Academic Needs Analysis

The one-month plan is typically a one-page outline of your research topic, explaining why it is an interesting/challenging problem and the methods and techniques you are planning to use, particularly in your first year of research. A GANTT chart should also be attached outlining the project planning for the first year.

The writing of the research plan should be a joint effort between you and your supervisory team and the focus of early meetings. If the project initially only has one supervisor, a co-supervisor(s) should also be appointed during the writing up of the one month research plan. The research plan (in pdf format) should be submitted via PGR Tracker, accompanied by your Academic Needs Analysis, to the Graduate School Office (within one month of your start date). This will be approved by the supervisory team and the Graduate School.

iPhD students will also be expected to submit a one-month plan by the end of month 13 (i.e. at the start of the research component of their programme).

First Review

First Review – Milestone 1 (MPhil, PhD, iPhD and EngD)

The first major milestone is the First Review. For this review, you will be required to produce a progress report, which will be followed by a short viva examination.

Timings

A pdf copy of your report and an updated training record should be submitted via PGR Tracker to the Graduate School Office according to the following timings:

 

 First Attempt

 

Second Attempt

 

 

Deadline for report submission

Progress review meeting to be held

Deadline for report submission

Progress review meeting to be held

 Full-time MPhil/PhD

By end of month 9

By end of month 10

By end of month 11

By end of month 12

Part-time MPhil/PhD

By end of month 18

By end of month 20

By end of month 22

By end of month 23

 iPhD/EngD

By end of month 21

By end of month 22

By end of month 23

By end of month 24

The First Review Report

The First Review report typically consists of a substantive initial literature review, a clear delineation of the research problem, a description of the approaches taken so far, preliminary results, analysis and discussion, together with a clear plan of future work. Around 5000 words is given as a target length, although supervisory discretion may be employed (and often a longer document will be required).
You should check whether it is necessary for you to produce hard copies of your report for the panel (usually it is).

The Review Meeting

The review must be organised by the main/coordinating supervisor within one month of the report submission. The panel for the review will consist of at least three academics: the supervisory team, plus at least one independent assessor usually from within the Faculty. During the meeting, the review panel will discuss the report you have produced. Also you may be asked to prepare a 10-15 minute presentation of your work to start the review meeting. The review will provide you with the opportunity to practise answering technical questions on your research and defending your work in readiness for your final viva voce examination.

The assessment questions can be found on the SESG8003: FEE Graduate School site. You will also have the chance to read the examination form and make your own comments via PGR Tracker. If the outcome of the review is unsatisfactory you will normally be given a month to revise your report. The review panel will explain the reasons that the review was unsatisfactory and your supervisory team will give you guidance for the revision required.

Please note that successful and timely completion of your First Review is a condition for progressing to the next year of study. If you choose to withdraw from the programme at this point, having successfully completed the equivalent of 60 credits in a combination of taught courses and the nine-month progress report, you will be eligible for the award of a Postgraduate Certificate.

Upgrade Review

Upgrade Review Milestone 2 (PhD, iPhD and EngD)

Please note that students registered on the EngD programme are required to follow the requirements for the Upgrade Review.

For this review, you will be required to produce a more substantial report than the first progression review report. You may be asked to prepare a 10-15 minute presentation of your work to start the viva examination, and during the viva the review panel will discuss the report you have produced. You will be provided with a further opportunity to practise answering technical questions on your research and defending your work in readiness for your final viva.

A pdf copy of your report should be submitted, along with a review of your academic needs analysis to the Graduate School via PGR tracker at least one month before the date of the review meeting. You are encouraged to draft this report with support from your supervisory team. Drafts and thesis outlines should be given to the supervisory team before the submission deadline (~ 2 months) to give time for this process. Please check if the panel requires a hard copy of your report!

Students who commenced their studies prior to 1 August 2015

 Deadline for submission 
 Full-time PhD 18 - 22 months
 Part-time PhD 36 - 44 months
 iPhD/EngD 30 - 34 months 

Timings

Students who commenced their studies between 1 August 2015 – 31 July 2016 
 First Attempt  Second Attempt 
  Deadline for report submission Progress review meeting to be held  Deadline for report submission  Progress review meeting to be held 
Full-time PhD  By end of month 18 By end of month 21 By end of month 23 By end of month 24
Part-time PhD By end of month 36 By end of month 42 By end of month 47 By end of month 48
iPhD/EngD By end of month 30 By end of month 33 By end of month 35 By end of month 36

The Report (interim-thesis)

The report should consist of around 10,000 words (40 pages of text plus figures) although in some subjects, longer interim-theses may be appropriate, and this should be discussed with the supervisory team.

Typically the report will include an introduction to the research project (including a description of your research problem and the research objectives), a substantial literature review, a description of the methodology you have employed and your results, critical analysis and discussion of your research findings to date, and a clear, well-developed plan of your future work (including fieldwork and data analysis if applicable). It is recommended that the report includes a detailed contents page where the chapter headings to be used in the final thesis submission are used to structure the document.

You should now be able to show mastery of the general literature in the field, and that a significant body of research work has been completed. Evidence of paper publication/submission will be very clear indicators that this has been achieved. In addition a clear plan (including a GANTT chart) indicating future work to complete the doctoral thesis will be required.

The Viva Voce

The main/co-ordinating supervisor is responsible for arranging the time and location of the viva. The panel for the review will consist of at least two independent assessors usually from within the Faculty, one independent assessor will act as the Chair. Your supervisors can be present at the review meeting but will not play an active role in the examination. However, you can request the opportunity to meet the panel without a supervisor being present; this request should be made through the Faculty Graduate School Office.

As well as the interim thesis and viva, the review will require confirmation that you have attended all the required training (the review of your academic needs analysis will be helpful with this) and your publication strategy (papers in preparation, papers submitted, papers in press or published) will also be discussed.

Once the viva has taken place the examination form is completed by the panel and submitted via PGR Tracker. You will receive written feedback on the process and have the opportunity to write your own comments via PGR Tracker. Timely completion of this form is important to enable you to continue your registration on the degree programme.

 

The Recommendation of the Panel

The criteria for confirmation and guidance regarding recommendations from the panel can be found in the University’s Code of Practice, paragraph 70 – 79.

If the outcome is reassess, you will normally be given up to three months from the date of the viva to re-submit your report.

Post Upgrade Review

Post Upgrade Review – Milestone 3 (PhD, iPhD and EngD)

The third milestone is the Post-upgrade Review. The objectives of this review are to assess the progress towards the final thesis submission and that the candidate has had sufficient practice in defending their work in readiness for their PhD/EngD viva.

 Deadline for completion
Full-time MPhil/PhD  By month 31
Part-time MPhil/PhD  By month 60
iPhD/EngD  By month 43

Requirements

Typically a successful major presentation of your work (for example at an international conference) and/or submission (or even better, publication) of conference or journal papers will form convincing evidence that you are making suitable progress. Having refereed journal or conference papers accepted prior to the viva is a very strong signal to the external examiner that you have satisfied one of the main requirements for award of a PhD (i.e. making an original contribution in the field). A journal publication is much stronger evidence of this than conference papers, although conference publications are also valuable in gaining recognition for your group in your field. If you already have conference papers published, that is useful, but choosing an area to prepare for journal publication will be very good preparation for a discussion chapter in the thesis, and at this stage in your studies you should be starting the writing up process of both journal paper(s) and your thesis.You should submit a thesis plan, list of publications (and evidence of the aforementioned documents) and an updated post-graduate training record to the Graduate School Office via PGR Tracker. Your supervisory team will then complete the review form on PGR Tracker.

Formal Progress Review Report

If none of the aforementioned events have occurred it may well trigger an additional formal review with your supervisory team and your independent reviewer(s)/assessor(s) where a substantial write-up will need to be assessed at a further formal progress review meeting, to ensure you are on track to complete your degree in time. The additional review will provide a further opportunity to practice defending your work in readiness for your viva. Your supervisory team will provide guidance on the format of the review report that is required. Normally a short report outlining progress since the upgrade review will be required. The report should include a thesis plan including a detailed contents page. This plan should indicate which parts of the research have been completed, and what work remains to be finished. This should enable your review panel to propose a target date for thesis submission and/or a target date to change to nominal registration. Your supervisory team will inform you if they deem it necessary to hold an additional review meeting, at which point you should upload your Post-upgrade Review Progress Report to PGR Tracker.

Normally transfer to nominal registration will not be approved until your Post-Upgrade Review has been completed.

 

 


 

 

Thesis Submission

Intention to submit

You must inform your Faculty Graduate School Office of your intention to submit no later than two months before your date of submission. This should be done using the form on PGR Tracker; or if your Faculty does not use PGR Tracker, manually using the ‘Intention to submit’ form in the Quality Handbook, handed into your Faculty Graduate School Office. Information on decision and notification to submit can be found in paragraphs 84-85 in the Code of Practice for Research Candidature and Supervision.

Production and submission of the thesis

The requirements for the production of the thesis, and procedures for submission are set out in the Producing your thesis – a guide for research students and the Submitting your thesis – a guide for research students, both of which are available from the Quality Handbook. You should read this guidance carefully well in advance of preparing the final version of your thesis. Additional guidance for students submitting their thesis in an alternative format can be found in paragraphs 8-10 of the Code of Practice for Research Candidature and Supervision.

Thesis templates are available in Microsoft Word (PC and Mac) and LaTeX that match the required University specifications. Templates are available on the Library website.

Further information on thesis submission including: declaration of authorship; academic integrity; and thesis written in a language other than English, can be found in the Code of Practice for Research Candidature and Supervision, paragraphs 86-89.

Thesis Submission

You will retain access to library and computing facilities until your thesis has been examined and, where appropriate, any revisions requested by the examiners have been made.

You can find useful information to assist you in preparing your thesis on the Library’s Theses webpages, which should be read in conjunction with the University’s Guidance for Completion of Research Degree available on the Quality Handbook. You are advised to read these well in advance. It covers help on the electronic submission of your thesis and supporting materials, including copyright, intellectual property rights, restrictions, file formats, and research data. Thesis templates using Microsoft Word (PC and Mac) and LaTeX are also accessible here. Support in using the Word PC and Mac templates is provided by iSolutions.

Please note that this page and does not link to PGR Tracker, this is for information only.

Viva Voce Examination

Once you have given notice of intention to submit, at least two examiners (one internal and one external to the University) will be appointed and arrangements made for your examination. The following information on the examination can be found in paragraphs 90–104 of the Code of Practice for Research Candidature and Supervision: nomination of examiners; the role of the main supervisor in the examination process; the viva voce examination itself; the recommendations of the examiners; and consideration of the examiners’ recommendations.

Submission after a successful recommendation of an award

Information on the procedure for submission of your thesis after successful recommendation of an award can be found in the University’s Guidance for Completion of Research Degree.

Graduation

Congratulations on your successful candidature! We look forward to seeing you at Graduation.

Full information can be found on the Graduation webpage.

Alumni

Postgraduate research students are provided with Microsoft Office 365 alumni email addresses. Once you are awarded your username@southampton.ac.uk becomes username@southamptonalumni.ac.uk and any emails sent to your existing Southampton University email address will appear within your new account. Your alumni email account can be accessed via www.outlook.com/southamptonalumni.ac.uk.  
 

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