Supporting your Study

This section details the steps to support your study from confirmation of registration to examination, and any changes you might need to make along the way.

Progression and Review

Throughout the research project, PGRs can expect to receive regular reviews to ensure that progress is satisfactory, appropriate support is in place, and concerns addressed in a timely fashion.

First Progress Review

6 months after first enrolment (12 months part time), PGRs shall meet with the Supervisory team for a formal review.

Programme Approval

Following admission to a research degree, PGRs will undergo an initial review to gain Programme Approval for their project.  (Within the first 3 months of full time study, or 6 months for part time).  

Annual Progress Review

Prior to annual re-enrolment PGRs will undergo a formal review of their progress conducted by the Supervisory team, to determine their eligibility to continue with their studies.

Supervisory Meetings

PGRs are expected to meet regularly with members of their team (either individually or jointly), with a minimum requirement of ten formally recorded meetings per academic year (pro rata for part time PGRs). 

A typical expectation is that most meetings would take place with the Lead Supervisor, with whole team meetings, or meetings to include external sponsors, once or twice annually.

A log or record of meetings should be kept by the PGR and shared with their Supervisors to ensure an accurate record of what work and actions have been agreed.

Confirmation of Registration

PGRs registered for the award of PhD are required to undergo a Confirmation of Registration review (sometimes referred to as Transfer or Upgrade) to confirm that they are demonstrating the potential to successfully complete the award, and to remain registered for PhD. This review must take place within 12-15 months full time, and 24-27 months part time.  The Review Panel consists of Assessors approved by Faculty Research Degrees Committee (FRDC).

Appointment of Assessors

The Review Panel will consist of the Lead Supervisor, at least 1 Co-Supervisor and an Independent Assessor who review the Confirmation Submission and conduct the oral assessment.  

Confirmation Submission & Oral Assessment

PGRs must submit evidence to demonstrate that their work has PhD potential; during the oral assessment they are expected to ‘defend’ their submission and plans for the project moving forward. Candidates are expected to submit:

  • Submission Document which is normally a draft of work which will ultimately contribute to the final thesis. The content and length of the submission should reflect the normal expectations for the Candidate’s area of research, as detailed in the School/Faculty PGR Handbook. 
  • Summary Report (typically no more than 1 side of A4) critically reflecting the Candidate’s progress to date, and plans from now to completion.
  • Research Training Report (typically no more than 1 side of A4) critically reflecting on research training undertaken and an updated Training Needs Analysis from now to completion. 
  • Preliminary Assessment

    Prior to the oral assessment, the Review Panel must prepare and submit preliminary reports based on their assessment of the PGR's submission. Reports are circulated between Assessors in advance.

    Assessment Outcome

    Following the oral assessment, the Review Panel shall jointly complete a final joint report and recommendation. The Lead Supervisor or Independent Assessor must submit a copy of the Preliminary Reports and Joint Assessment Panel Report to The Doctoral Academy.

    Viva Voce Examination

    In the final year of their studies, PGRs will submit and defend the thesis they have written. The entire examination process can take several months, and we advise Candidates to plan their time appropriately and attend the Preparing for Assessment and Viva Survivor workshops provided throughout the year.  If a PGR's thesis is submitted for examination, within four calendar weeks of the anniversary of the start date, the enrolment status will be amended to "submitted".  Later submission will incur the standard Thesis Pending (formerly called writing up fee). The Thesis Pending fee is an annual rate, and is not reduced should a PGR complete before the end of the applicable enrolment year (i.e. the rate cannot be adjusted pro-rata).  Please note, if a PGR is required to re-submit their thesis they will be required to re-enrol for a further year and will incur a re-submission fee.

    Thesis Pending

    When PGRs enter year 4 (full time) and year 5 (part time) their status will change to Thesis Pending (formerly writing up).  

    Pre-Submission Review

    When a PGR is preparing for their final submission, they must submit their 'final' draft thesis for review by the Supervisory team. This a formal requirement and a candidate cannot proceed to submission until this has taken place. The opinion of the Supervisory team is advisory and cannot be guarantee the final decision of the Examiners. Irrespective of the Supervisor's opinion, the decision to submit rests with the Candidate. 

    Pre-submission Review (Submission Planning) Form

    Thesis Submission and Online Examinations

    PGRs should submit their thesis for examination electronically as a single PDF document to, along with a completed Thesis Declaration Form.

    Thesis Declaration Form. 

    If a PGR's thesis is submitted for examination within four calendar weeks of the anniversary of the start date, the enrolment status will be amended to "submitted". Later submission will incur the standard annual writing up fee.

    Whilst we always prefer that viva voce examinations take place in person, we realise that this may not always be possible. In light of the current pandemic we have updated on our online guidance for candidates and examiners to ensure we support virtual vivas to take place wherever reasonably practical to do so. 

    PGR Guide to Online Viva Voce Examinations 

    Examiner Guide to Online Viva Voce Examinations

    Appointment of Examiners

    The examination of a Research Degree normally involves two stages: first, the submission and preliminary assessment of the thesis; and second, the defence of the thesis by the Candidate at a viva voce examination. The Lead Supervisor must demonstrate the proposed examination team has appropriate prior experience and expertise to examine the research degree.

    Appointment of Examiner Form

    External Examiner Information Sheet

    Preliminary Examination Reports

    Prior to the viva voce examination, the Examiners must prepare and submit preliminary reports based on their assessment of the thesis.

    Preliminary Report Form

    Preliminary Re-examination Report Form

    Outcome of Viva Voce Examination

    Following the viva voce examination, the Examiners shall jointly complete and submit a final joint report form, along with a list of any amendments required to the thesis (if applicable).

    Final Joint Report Form

    Re-examination Final Joint Report Form


    To be eligible to attend one of the University Graduation Ceremonies you must have fully completed your award AND have registered to attend the graduation by the deadline set by the Awards Team. 

    For information relating to graduation please visit the following sites:


    Degree certificates are produced by the Awards Team and are normally issued via post. Further information is available at: 

    Request a Change

    During the course of a Research Degree circumstances may change which affect a PGRs studies; the Doctoral Academy can facilitate these changes as below:

    Extension of Thesis Pending

    For information or guidance on the appropriate form or process please contact

    The University Health and wellbeing team can provide a range of support for PGRs, further details can be found: