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4th Year PhD Students

Most of our studentships cover a period of 3.5 years, and thus the 4th and final year is all about preparing for the submission of your thesis. Deadlines for each of the activities described below appear in the Postgraduate Timetable. Regardless of your funding situation, all students must submit their thesis before 4 years of registration are up unless they have reasons to temporarily withdraw.

Final Year Thesis Plan

To help us assess progress towards submission, students need to prepare a thesis plan and submit it via SkillsForge. Such a thesis plan is due at the start of your 4th year together with your annual progress report.

As with the progress reports and research plan, the thesis plan should be agreed with the supervisor and submitted via SkillsForge. Submission of the plan will be taken to mean agreement has been reached between student and supervisor.

Please submit this on time and inform us if there are any delays with either the submission of the plan to your feedback supervisor or the submission of your feedback by your feedback supervisor.

The reason for producing a plan are to demonstrate :

  • there is suficient material to write about
  • the student has thought about the structure of the thesis and the approximate length of each section
  • the timescale for finishing

The thesis plan should contain:

  • a list of chapter headings down to sub-section level (details may change in final version, but specific enough to assess)
  • a rough indication of the number of pages for each section (see note on thesis length)
  • the state of each section (e.g. % complete, in draft form, data awaiting analysis, experiments completed, experiments failed because …, more experiments needed, not thought about yet)
  • for the incomplete parts, especially experiments, an estimate of when they will be done should be included
  • a schedule of work, indicating a timetable for completing the thesis
  • expected submission date

The length of the thesis plan is not important compared to the information contained. It will probably be more than one side of A4 but less than 5.

Students who do not expect to submit before the end of their funded period will also need to consider how they will be supported and must remember that the thesis must have been submitted by the end of their registration period which is at most 4 years after your start date.

Final Year Progress Review

To make sure students remain on track to submit on time and are aware of the hard submission deadline after 4 years of registration, a final progress review is required before your end of registration. This needs to consider and discuss any changes/updates to the Thesis Plan you submitted at the start of the year and most importantly should offer a realistic timetable towards submission. It is not in your interest to be too optimistic here, please consider carefully whether you believe the timetable is achievable. After submission there may be an interview with the Director of Graduate Studies and/or Head of Department if there are concerns about your ability to submit on time.

As with progress reports and research plans, the final progress review should be agreed with your supervisor and discussed with your Feedback Supervisor. Please would you submit a copy of the review, together with the feedback received from your Feedback Supervisor to and the Director of Graduate Studies, a copy will be retained in your student file.

Thesis Writing and Submission

A PhD thesis should be presented within four years after the start of full-time research. Please see the full guidance on the thesis writing and submission page.

Final Deadline

The University of Warwick operates a hard final submission deadline for all full-time students which is 4 years after the starts of your registration, not including any periods where you were officially withdrawn. For most students, their expected submission date is sooner, usually 3.5 years in line with their funded period. You will have received a notification of these dates at the beginning of your course. During this final year, students are expected to be focussing on writing up. Please note that students no longer have the opportunity to request extensions. Further guidance on extensions for students enrolled on or after 1 August 2011