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Progress Reviews

Monitoring your Progress

The University requires that student progress is reviewed annually for all post-graduate research students. Each year this process requires the student to submit written work, and the supervisor and the student to complete a Progress Review Form. Students in their first year of study will be assessed for their upgrade to full doctoral status, whilst students in Years 2, 3 and 4 will be assessed by the Departmental Graduate Progress Review Panel. In the current academic year, this Panel will sit during the Summer Term.

All part-time students who have been upgraded to full doctoral status will be reviewed on an annual basis in the same way as their full-time equivalents. Those at the MPhil stage will be assessed via their MPhil-PhD upgrade interview.

Completing this process annually is a requirement. Students who fail to submit their progress update forms when requested to do so, or who fail to attend a progress review interview without good reason, may be reported to the University’s Academic Office for inadequate engagement.

The Departmental Graduate Progress Review Panel takes place on dates that will be fixed in the calendar and notified to you well in advance. It is very important that you ensure you are available to attend the Panel meeting when requested.

For the academic year 2020/2021, the Annual Reviews will take place on the 10th and 11th May 2021. Booking for the reviews will open in early April 2021.

It is possible that both annual review and upgrades will be conducted online. If this is the case, students will be informed in advance.

Year One (Part-time Year Two)

All students reading for a PhD are initially registered for the degree of MPhil. Your progress is monitored over the first year (or first two years in the case of part-time students), during which it is expected you will complete the upgrade to doctoral registration (Confirmation of Status). Upgrade to PhD registration is normally expected to take place within the first 9-12 months of registration for full time students, and 18-24 months for part-time students.

It is the supervisor(s)' responsibility to arrange the upgrade panel within the time set out by the funding body or university regulations.

By Term 2 of the first year (for full-time or second year for part-time), students must begin the preparation of the written work that is required for the Upgrade Interview. Upgrade interviews will normally take place during the Summer Term, and it is a requirement that they be completed before the end of your first year of registration. If you started your research in January rather than October, your upgrade review will normally take place in September/October.

For the Upgrade, you should submit the following:

  • Draft chapter of 5,000 – 6,000 words in length;
  • 2,500 word Research Proposal, giving a synopsis of your research project, with
    • a) an appended chapter plan and timetable for completion of your thesis (max 1500 words) and
    • b) bibliography (not part of the word count) of relevant primary and secondary material
  • Completed History Ethics Review Form found on the following web page: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/students/useful 

Upgrade Preparation Advice

At the Upgrade interview you will be accompanied by your Supervisor, who is present as an observer. The two members of staff who have read the work you have submitted will conduct the interview. They will question you about what they have read, and may also ask you about the general framing of the project, your sources, and the prospects for satisfactory completion. As part of the interview process, they will speak with you alone regarding the conduct of your supervisions, and they will meet with your Supervisor alone to discuss any matters that s/he may wish to raise.

At the conclusion of the Upgrade Interview, your Assessors will draft a formal report making a recommendation. They may make one of four recommendations:

  1. that you be upgraded to PhD registration
  2. that you resubmit your work at a future date for a second Upgrade Interview, having made changes that they may advise in consultation with your supervisor
  3. that you continue with your project to completion as an MPhil
  4. that your registration as a research student should be discontinued, on the grounds that the planned project will not lead to a research degree.

It is our expectation that most students will be successful in their Upgrade interview at the first attempt.

If you are asked to resubmit your Upgrade, this may be with or without a further interview. A resubmission may feel disappointing, but it is important that any weaknesses in your project are resolved in order to allow you to move forward to completion of the doctorate. Many excellent theses have been successfully completed after a second Upgrade Interview. If asked to resubmit, the points to address will be clearly set out by the Assessors in their report. A second opportunity to upgrade should be held within six months of the initial upgrade meeting (or within one year for part-time students).

Failure to upgrade at the second attempt may lead to either: (i) proceeding to the degree of MPhil; or (ii) the student being required to withdraw their registration. Under University Regulations 13 and 16.3(1) students have the right to appeal against either of these decisions.

Year Two / Three

The progress of all students in Year 2 and 3 (and years 4-6 for part-time students) must be reviewed in the Summer Term, requiring an interview with the Departmental Graduate Progress Review Panel during May. In preparation for this interview, students are required to submit the following materials to their supervisor(s) no later than 10 working days in advance of the meeting, and cc'd to the pghistoryoffice@warwick.ac.uk e-mail address:

These submissions are to be read by the supervisor, who will then provide a short report (no more than 1 page) to the Panel prior to the Review meeting, covering the progress made by the student during the year and highlighting any causes or concern. This supervisors report should be submitted to the Director of PGR Studies, and cc'd to pghistoryoffice@warwick.ac.uk, at least one week prior to the meeting of the Departmental Graduate Progress Review Panel. This means that students should submit the required paperwork to their supervisors during April.

The Departmental Graduate Progress Review Panel will include the Director of PGR Studies, and other members of staff. The Departmental Graduate Progress Review Panel will question the student about their progress, paying particular attention to planning of the work ahead and to developing a clear strategy toward completion of the thesis. Following the Panel interview, the Director of PGR Studies will prepare a short report on each student, to be sent to the supervisor and the student. It is expected that student progress will be deemed satisfactory in the vast majority of cases.

Should the Panel consider student progress to be “unsatisfactory” at a Review in Year 2/3, then the Director of PGR Studies will meet subsequently with the supervisor and the student to devise a programme of ameliorative measures that can be put in place to assist the student in reaching an acceptable level of progress. These measures will be documented, and the student’s progress will be reviewed again after six months. If progress remains unsatisfactory after this second meeting, and after providing support and guidance and after a sustained period of poor performance, then the Director of PGR Studies will discuss the options with the student and supervisor, and may consider proposing that the student be permanently withdrawn via a Continuation of Registration Committee.

Year Four / Year 7 (part-time)

It is important to note that, although all MPhil/PhD students are now registered for four years, the University still expects them to submit within three years where possible. Any additional time required should be devoted solely to the process of ‘writing up’ their research. (Part-time students are normally expected to complete the thesis within six years, but may extend their writing up into a seventh year).

The progress of all students in Year 4, or 7 if part-time, must be reviewed in the Summer Term, requiring an interview with the Departmental Graduate Progress Review Panel during May. In preparation for this interview, students are required to submit the following materials to their supervisor(s) in advance:

  • An outline work plan to completion of the thesis, in 2 pages
  • A completed PGR Annual Review Report form found on the following page: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/students/useful
  • A chapter draft, or other piece of writing related to the thesis research, of between 5000 and 10000 words length (excluding bibliography). For year 3 this cannot be the same work submitted for review in year 2.

Supervisors are requested to comment on this plan, and to give a clear indication of the likelihood of successful completion of the thesis by September (or whenever it is due according to the student's registration), and to highlight any potential difficulties that might delay submission. Supervisors must supply this brief report to the Panel at least one week before the appointed meeting.

The Departmental Graduate Progress Review Panel will include the Director of PGR Studies, and other members of staff. The Departmental Graduate Progress Review Panel will question the student about their progress, paying particular attention to planning of the work ahead and to developing a clear strategy toward completion of the thesis. Following the Panel interview, the Director of PGR Studies will prepare a short report on each student, to be sent to the supervisor and the student. It is expected that student progress will be deemed satisfactory in the vast majority of cases.

Should the Panel consider student progress to be “unsatisfactory” at a Review in Year 4, then the Director of PGR Studies will meet subsequently with the supervisor and the student to devise a programme of ameliorative measures that can be put in place to assist the student in reaching an acceptable level of progress. These measures will be documented, and the student’s progress will be reviewed. If progress remains unsatisfactory after a second meeting, and after providing support and guidance and after a sustained period of poor performance, then the Director of PGR Studies will discuss the options with the student and supervisor, and may consider proposing that the student be permanently withdrawn via a Continuation of Registration Committee.

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