Academic departments are expected to put in place procedures to deal with cases of unsatisfactory progress, in accordance with the Good Practice Guide on Monitoring Student Attendance and Progress. Departments may wish to base these on the guidelines below.
(a) Unsatisfactory progress should be dealt with as soon as possible after it becomes apparent that a student is encountering difficulties. Supervisors are advised to keep a record of contact with the student and the outcome of supervision meetings if they have concerns about progress being made.
(b) Initially, a student’s supervisor should discuss the situation with the student and explain why progress is unsatisfactory. If there is an explanation such as ill health or personal difficulties, the supervisor should discuss the possibility of requesting a suspension. It may also be appropriate to refer the student to support services within the University or the Students’ Union.
If there are no mitigating circumstances, the supervisor should attempt to identify the academic reasons for poor progress and agree with the student measures to improve progress and a plan of work to be done. A written record should be kept of any such discussion. The Director of Graduate Studies should be informed of a supervisor’s concerns at this point if s/he has not already been involved.
(c) If progress continues to be unsatisfactory by the time of the next deadline for review and there are no mitigating circumstances, the supervisor, Director of Graduate Studies and/or Chair of Department should discuss the situation with the student and set a further deadline for review of progress.
(d) Should the situation not improve the department will wish to consider whether the student should be advised to withdraw or whether the department should recommend that the student’s registration at the University be terminated (see University Regulation 36 in the University Calendar). A department may also wish to discuss with the student the possibility of submitting a thesis for the award of a lower degree.
(e) If a department decides to recommend the termination of a student’s registration as set out in Regulation 36 (Governing Student Registration, Attendance and Progress), the Director of Graduate Studies should seek advice from the Doctoral College. The student has a right to appear before the Continuation of Registration Committee and to appeal should the Committee uphold the recommendation requiring the student to withdraw. The department would also be represented before the Continuation of Registration Committee and at any appeal.
(f) If a student is suspected of cheating as defined by Regulation 11 other than in work submitted for an upgrade or annual review or in the a thesis submitted for examination, the Director of Graduate Studies and/or Chair of Department should discuss the allegations with the student. A written record should be kept of the discussion. In the event that there is a further allegation of cheating in such work, the department may wish to deal with the matter under the Disciplinary Regulations, or recommend that the student’s registration at the University be terminated on the grounds of unsatisfactory progress. In such cases the Department should seek advice from the Doctoral College. If the allegation is made about work submitted as part of the upgrade process, annual review or in a submitted thesis, Regulation 11 would apply.