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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental SciencePostgraduate study

Supervision & progress

Geography and Environmental Science offers the support students need in order to achieve research work of the highest calibre.


As a postgraduate we will expect you to take a high level of responsibility for your own progress. However, you will be working within a well-considered, accountable supervisory structure. This should help you to identify and manage any issues - academic or otherwise - that may arise during your research work.

You will almost certainly have already met your supervisor as part of the recruitment process. As an expert in your chosen area of research, he or she will provide the primary source of guidance on academic content and methods. At least once a year each supervisor is required to provide a report on the progress of each research student under his/her supervision.


You will be allocated a second member of academic staff as your advisor, who is likely to be an expert in a related area. This provides you with an opportunity for you to discuss your work with another qualified person. The advisor also plays a role in monitoring your progress and acts as an independent assessor and examiner for your various reports, most notably the transfer report. You should plan to meet your advisor regularly and develop a comfortable working relationship with them.

Key reporting stages

Through your postgraduate study, there are a number of formal stages of reporting. You will be enrolled onto a PhD programme when you start.

Twelve months after registration, you will be required to submit your first progression review report. You will also have a face-to-face examination with your supervisor and another member of academic staff. This is designed to demonstrate that you have established a strong base for your postgraduate research.

Between 17 and 20 months, you should produce a second progress (confirmation) report. This makes the case to the examiners that you have made sufficient progress with the project and you are likely to produce a thesis to PhD standard in the remaining period. Once you pass this milestone your PhD registration will be ‘confirmed’ and you will be permitted to continue your registration and submit your final PhD thesis. If you do not achieve confirmation status, you may be eligible to re-enrol for an MPhil award.

More information on key reporting stages can be found on the Faculty Graduate School Website.

Final assessment for PhD award

Your final assessment is through a combination of your thesis and a viva voce.

Photo of Stephen Evans
The University has an excellent reputation amongst fellow graduates and employers and my university qualifications, and in particular my MA qualification, were absolutely essential to me securing a full-time job once I finished my studies.
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