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2nd Year PhD Students

Deadlines for each of the activities described below appear in the Postgraduate Timetable.

Progress Report and Research Plan

The second year is probably the most important period of PhD training. By now the project should be well defined and student will have acquired the skills required to collect, or calculate, meaningful data. As part of the Department's monitoring programme, students are asked to produce a short progress report and research plan at this stage. It should consist of not more than 2 pages (500-1000 words) outlining progress to date and a plan of work for the 18 months of active research remaining before the thesis must be written, including appropriate intermidiate milestones and your progress in completing your Transferable Skills modules. If you have not yet completed your year 1 work, outline how and when you intend to complete any
outstanding tasks.

Remember to include any MPAGS modules (or approved alternatives) you have completed.

This plan should be agreed with the supervisor by Week 4 of the autumn term. Submission of the plan will be taken to mean agreement has been reached between student and supervisor. Please ascertain if your feedback supervisor is going to use the old style paper feedback form or the
online feedback form. Either route will be fine but only one is required. If the paper form is to be used then please download the relevant feedback form, which should be discussed with and completed by your feedback supervisor. This should then be submitted at the same time as the progress report and research plan using this submission form.

If your feedback supervisor is going to use the online form to submit your feedback (preferred route), please remind them where to find it: There is also a link in Susan Tatlock's email signature.

NOTE! If your feedback supervisor is going to use the online form, do not take or expect them to complete the paper form. This is extra work for the supervisor and unnecessary, as once the feedback is submitted you will receive an electronic report detailing the feedback for your records.

Where there are issues delaying progress or the plans are not satisfactory the Director of Graduates may require the student to also attend an interview.

Training Portfolio

You will need to continue updating your Training Portfolio, as set out in the first year regulations. This will be reviewed together with your research plans for the year.

You will again perform a Training Needs Analysis to identify your strengths and areas requiring further development, both in respect of the specific project and more general skill development.

Research Talk

Each student will give a talk on their research during their second year to an audience of researchers with knowledge of the student's field of study. These talks will normally be about 20 minutes long, with time for questions afterwards, and will usually be presented during research group seminars. Alternative arrangements will be made for students in small groups that don't run regular seminars.
The talks will be assessed by a member of staff, other than the supervisor, using the talk feedback form.

Poster Presentation

In the summer term, students get the chance to display the results of their research so far to the Department (academic & research staff, postgraduate students and final year undergraduates). The format is designed to simulate a conference poster session, where many students can expect to present their results to the world.

If you will not be able to attend the Poster Presentation, it is important we know and the reason. Please complete this online form to explain.

For 17/18 the date will be 15th May 2018. Please put this in your calendar.

  • Posters will be displayed on the Physics Concourse, mounted on the usual boards (poster board size is 1m x 2m, A0 portrait fits).
  • The poster boards will have been erected the day before, so please feel free to put up your poster as soon as you like on the morning of 15th May 2018. The deadline by which you are expected to have displayed your poster is 12 noon. You should ensure you are available on the concourse with your poster from 1pm onwards. This to ensure you are there not only for your feedback supervisor (unless you have arranged an earlier time) but for the judging panel who will decide the recipients of one 1st place prize and two 2nd place prizes. There will also be commendations. The prize winners will be announced and presented with their prizes by the Head of Department at around 3.45pm, when it is expected lots of your fellow students and academics will join you. Drinks and nibbles will follow.
  • Students should be prepared to use the poster in talking about their work with members of academic staff and other postgraduates, as well as being assessed by your feedback supervisor using the poster feedback form.

The poster should contain a brief introduction to the work and details of the research you have completed including data, discussion and conclusions. The aim is to produce something that will both convey the key elements of your work to a non-expert reader and serve as an aid for you during more in-depth discussions. Note that reusing a poster prepared for a conference is allowed, but it may not be optimised for explaining your work to those who are not specialists in your field. You should also be prepared to discuss the next stages of the research and may wish to include an outline of this on the poster.

Departmental Colloquia and Research Group Seminars

Physics Colloquia are open to the whole department are held each fortnight during full term, on Wednesday starting at 4:30pm in PLT. These aim to bring a wide variety of cutting edge research from high profile speakers to the attention of a general audience of physicists. The level is suitable for all staff, postgraduates and final year MPhys students.

Attendance at these colloquia is compulsory for all PhD students as part of their general training programme.

In addition, the various research groups have their own seminars and it is usual practise for PhD students to attend.