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Postgraduate Research Handbook

Annual Reviews

The University's "Policy on the Progress and Review of Postgraduate Research Students (September 2015)" details the minimum requirements in relation to progress, review and attendance monitoring of postgraduate research students at the University of Manchester.

All students are required to undergo a formal review of progress in Month 9 of each academic year, which for most students will be June. This review will determine whether you may progress to the next year of study.

* 2016-17 Annual Reviews *

The "Annual Review - Guidance for Students & Review Panels" documents for 2016-17 is provided below, along with the Bitesize guide:

2016-17 Annual Review - Guidance for Students and Review Panels (MPhil & PhD)

2016-17 Annual Review - Guidance for Students and Panels (DBA)

Bitesize Summary of Guidance

Annual Review Expectations sessions - Slides

Annual Review Expectations 2016-17 (Students)

Annual Review Expectations 2016-17 (Staff)

First Year Review

The First Year Review evaluates a student’s academic progress over the first year and confirms whether the student has achieved an appropriate standard to continue into the second year of study. 

The First Year Review possesses certain characteristics which the panel should consider:

1. Completion of prescribed taught assessment from the Research Training Programme will be a formal condition of progression.  Results will be ratified by an Exam Board and passed to the Chair of the Review Panel in advance of the Review taking place.

2. Written Work and Presentation by the student.

3. Any additional academic matters (for example, evidence of academic malpractice, attendance of workshops and RTP core courses, attendance and participation at Research Seminars in your Subject Area Group, attendance and participation at the AMBS Doctoral Conference, late submission of assessments, unauthorised absence etc). By considering the full range of work undertaken by students during the first year (or part-time equivalent), the Review Panel should come to the conclusion whether the student has made progress in their research which is consistent to a standard expected after 9 months (or part-time equivalent) on the Programme.

Annual Review Panel Membership

The review is undertaken by a Review Panel, which includes your supervisory team and at least one other senior academic as the Chair (also known as Independent Reviewer).  The Chair may be from your subject area or from outside.  Their role is to provide a view independent from the supervisory team and will therefore not be involved in supervising your work between Panels.

Researcher Development Training

Successful completion of agreed researcher development training will also be fully considered as part of the Annual Review process for students in all years of study.

The Written Work, Timeline and Presentation

A written piece of work must be submitted for consideration, as a minimum, for every Annual Review.  The work must be submitted to your supervisory team before the review so that you can be given feedback and support to revise the work accordingly before it is submitted for consideration by the Panel.

A timeline for completion should also be completed.  The purpose of the timeline is to act as a guide to students in terms of planning for completion and so that you can readily see how far you have already progressed in terms of work completed, but also visualise what remains to be done.  It also provides a clear illustration to those assessing your progress what has actually been achieved, when the majority of the review might be focused mainly on a current project/piece of research. 

The Written Report will be required by a certain deadline (normally by mid-May) when it should be uploaded to the Annual Review Form in eProg, along with Part A which must be fully completed by you. The Review Panel will then access your work within eProg itself and complete the rest of the Annual Review prior to and after the Review meeting has taken place.

Details of specific requirements will be sent to you by your Doctoral Programme Administrator early in Semester 2.  Please note that each academic division of the School will specify the contents and maximum length of the report. These requirements may change so you should not rely on what other students tell you but should refer to the guidance provided by your Administrator.

Student eProg Guidance for Annual Reviews

This guide has been prepared to assist with the Annual Review form in eProg.

Attending the Review

You must be in attendance in the School for your Review.  This cannot be held via Skype unless you have a justified argument and subsequent formal permission either as a cohort (eg DBA) or individual for your review to be held off-campus.

Responsibilities

Your responsibility in terms of the Annual Review is:

- to attend the Annual Review Meeting, unless you have mitigating reasons to not be in attendance;

- to submit the work required on time; to engage with the process;

- to complete your sections of the Annual Review form before the Annual Review meeting in a timely manner allowing the panel enough time to consider all inputs on the form.

You should also ensure you are available following the Annual Review meeting to discuss the outcome with either supervisors or the PGR Director and/or Divisional Coordinator.

It is a requirement of registration that all students successfully progress via the Annual Review process each year. You will not be permitted to re-register until the Doctoral Programmes Office has received confirmation from the review panel that your academic progress is satisfactory.


After the Review: Initial Recommendations

The Review Panel will write a report on the review using the Annual Review Form in eProg.  They will outline their judgement and give details of any further action required by you – for instance, you may be asked to re-submit a written report or undertake further work, with or without a further presentation.  They will record one of the following initial recommendations regarding your future study:

CONTINUATION - The student has met the required doctoral standards and the recommendation is made for the student to continue registration on the doctoral degree.

RESUBMIT (remedial work) – the student has almost met the required doctoral standards but further work must be done to continue registration. Following the first attempt at a formal review, students will normally be given one opportunity to resubmit work for a further review and will normally be given up to 10 weeks after the first panel meeting to complete the remedial work and submit it to the panel for consideration. The resubmission and review of the submitted work should, where possible, take place before the end of the student’s current year of study. The outcome of ‘RESUBMIT’ should be based on the quantity and quality of the revisions that would be necessary to achieve the standard required in the time available. Following the review of the remedial work the outcome ‘RESUBMIT (remedial work)’ must not be recommended. The outcome must be either, ‘Continuation’, ‘Transfer’ or ‘Withdrawal’.

TRANSFER - The student has not met the required doctoral standards and a recommendation is made for the student to be transferred from the doctoral degree to MPhil.

WITHDRAWAL – The student has not met the required standard for doctoral degrees or MPhil and the recommendation is made for the student’s registration to be terminated. 

If the Initial Recommendation is CONTINUATION, you do not need to undertake further work. This result will be confirmed as the Final Recommendation and you can continue with your studies.

If the initial recommendation is RESUBMIT (remedial work), the work required will be specified by the Review Panel. This will give you the opportunity to show that you can reach the required standard for PhD or MPhil work. This additional work must be submitted within 10 weeks (usually by mid-September) and will be considered by the Panel.  If the panel has any major reservations about your progress, you should be asked to make a further presentation to the panel.

If the initial recommendation, however, is WITHDRAWAL (not permitting progression to the next year of study), the PGR Director will consider the panel's comments and overall recommendation, and will ratify the decision to end the candidate's registration. 

Final Recommendation

The panel will then make one of the following final recommendations: CONTINUATION, TRANSFER or WITHDRAWAL.

All doctoral students will continue to undergo formal Annual Reviews normally each year in June until the thesis has been submitted for examination. 

Appealing the Outcome of an Annual Review

If you are not satisfied that the reviews were undertaken and recommendations were made in accordance with University regulations, you may submit a formal appeal. We advise that you discuss this in the first instance with your supervisor, PGR Director and/or the Doctoral Programmes Office.