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The University of Southampton
Politics and International RelationsPart of Economic, Social and Political SciencePostgraduate study

Supervision & progress

Each student has a supervisory team. The principal supervisor is responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the student's progress.

The supervisory team consists of the supervisor and one or two other members of staff. The members are chosen, in consultation with the supervisor and student, as having interests and expertise relevant to the topic of the student's research. Where appropriate, they may be drawn from other parts of the University.

Supervision meetings
The frequency of supervision meetings is negotiated between students and their supervisory teams to fit students' individual needs. As the latter change over time, we do not demand a specific number of supervisory meetings, although meeting once a month during term-time is usually seen as a good practice. However, there may be times when weekly meetings are more appropriate and others when fewer meetings are needed. For this reason, we encourage students and their supervisors to discuss and agree on how to best carry out these meetings.

Monitoring of progress
Experience has shown that it is essential that any difficulties students are having should be identified and tackled before they become too serious. We aim, therefore, to monitor progress carefully. Progress is monitored through advisory groups which meet at least once a year. Each student and supervisor is expected to produce a short written report on progress by the end of the academic year. We hope in this way to avoid students getting into difficulties without the fact being recognised.

MPhil registration and upgrading to PhD
Economic, Social and Political Sciences' normal practice is to register all research students for the MPhil. Some students are aiming for an MPhil in any case; others are hoping to obtain a PhD. We expect MPhil students to upgrade to PhD within 18 months (or the equivalent for part-time students). Registrations will only be upgraded to PhD on the recommendation of the student's advisory board, and only after they have already produced work sufficient in quantity and quality to justify confidence in their ability to complete a satisfactory PhD.

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