The University requires us to have a procedure for monitoring your progress, to identify any problems, to suggest solutions and to make decisions about your registration. Please note carefully the following points:
- Monitoring is compulsory for all research students. Any student who does not follow the College procedure may find their registration terminated.
- You will only be allowed to proceed in your degree and to continue your registration if you receive satisfactory reports on your progress.
- Progress monitoring provides an opportunity for you to reflect on your own progress and to raise any problems that you feel may be affecting your work.
University policy on monitoring states that the purposes of monitoring are:
- to assess student progress in order to give feedback to the student and to assist in making formal decisions about registration.
- to monitor the nature and frequency of research supervision and other facilities offered to postgraduate research students.
- to assist the University in ensuring parity of provision and treatment for students across the University.
- to identify problems either in a student's programme of study or in the student-supervisor relationship.
- to identify weak students who may be asked to de-register.
For those students who initially registered for an MPhil and are wishing to gain a PhD need to transfer their registration. The process by which you transfer from MPhil registration to PhD is most commonly known as an “Upgrade”. You are expected to make your application for upgrade no later than after 18 months of full-time registration, or 36 months of part-time registration, with the time of the upgrade to be at the end of your second year, of fourth year for part-time students.
You are able to apply to upgrade via MyPGR, and must upload the documents listed below to support your application
- A statement of aims and objectives;
- A statement of how you expect the final thesis to "form a distinct contribution to knowledge of the subject";
- A contents page for the thesis, with a paragraph of information on each chapter (including number of words submitted already and planned chapter word length);
- Submission of one or more substantial pieces of written work (as defined by the College) in good presentational order, where one piece of written work comprises the literature review. The submission must also include a substantial research-based draft chapter;
- A draft timetable for completion of the thesis within yort period of study.
In some cases you may be required to submit extra documents by your College, or give a presentation of your work and so it is always advisable to discuss the upgrade with your supervisor first, before applying through MyPGR.
Your upgrade request will be considered by your College Upgrade Committee, which will consist of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College (or their nominee) and at least one other member of staff from the University. The purpose of the committee is to viva your work thus far, and make a decision on your upgrade. A member of your supervisory team, normally your lead supervisor, is able to attend your viva upgrade but they are not able to be a member of the Committee and therefore cannot make a decision on the outcome.
In accordance with the Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement procedure, it is required that all students are to be in attendance during academic terms, to attend all key contact points, to submit work when required and to fulfil the academic requirements of their programme of study as stipulated by the college. Unsatisfactory progress is usually identified when a student has not met these requirements, and in addition for International Tier 4 students where the monitoring of attendance is concerned in line with current Home Office guidance, as mentioned in the Student Attendance section of this handbook.
There are four stages for dealing with unsatisfactory progress, as detailed below
Stage 1 - Warning(s)
It is important the concerns are picked up as early as possible, and this would normally be done by a member of your supervisory team or in the formal review process AMR. The formal process of a warning is required to be done in writing, informing you as the student of the concerns that have been raised, required improvements and the steps which may be taken by the College should improvements not be made. You will be invited to explain if there were any circumstances, which were unavoidable, which prevented you from performing satisfactorily where you could not reasonably have informed the College any earlier.
Stage 2 – Final Warning
If concerns about unsatisfactory progress are not satisfactorily address following on from an initial warning, or if there are further concerns within 12 months of the initial warning, you are at risk of a final warning. Final warnings are issued by the Associate Dean or the Director of PGR Students at your College. You will be provided with the opportunity to have a meeting to explain if there are any circumstances, which were unavoidable, and which prevented you from complying with the terms of your initial warning, or which led to further unsatisfactory progress.
Stage 3 – Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College’s Action
If your progress remains unsatisfactory following issue of a final warning, or if there are further concerns within 12 months of the of the final warning, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College, or the Associate Dean of College or the Director of Postgraduate Research, will write to you to invite you to a meeting to let inform you that you will be reported to the Dean of the Faculty.
Following this meeting there can be a number of outcomes as listed below
- Referral back to stage 2 with a warning letter to be reissued with clear expectations laid out which, unmet, may result in referral to Stage 3 again
- Held at Stage 3 where any further concerns about progress or engagement which arise within 12 months of the meeting with the PVC will result in you being referred to Stage 4
- Recommendation made to the Dean of faculty to repeat part or the entire programme of study, or the requirement to be withdrawn from the programme and/or University.
Stage 4 – Dean of Faculty’s Action
At this stage the Dean of Faculty will either confirm or reject the College’s recommendation. If the College’s recommendation is confirmed, the Dean of Faculty will write to the student, copied to the College and the PGR Administration Office. If the College’s recommendation is rejected, the Dean of Faculty will confirm this to the College and recommend a course of action.
At all stages Colleges should direct students towards Student Support Services to address any problems that you may have that has contributed towards the concerns of your performance or attendance.
You may also contact the Guild or FXU for students on the Cornwall campuses, for advice should you wish to discuss your warning with someone outside of the College
It is possible to appeal against any decision made on Unsatisfactory Progress and you are recommended to look at the Procedures Relating to Student Academic Appeals.