Milestones

Evidencing the DDP

Both at confirmation review stage and at the end of your PhD you will need to provide evidence that you have engaged with the Doctoral Development Programme. You should start documenting evidence from the start of your PhD and throughout your programme using the Evidencing the DDP workbook in PebblePad. See our PebblePad page for further help.

Confirmation Review at end of Year 1

The confirmation review is taken towards the end of year one and is based on satisfactory progress on the following:

  • the production of a mini-thesis,
  • appropriate engagement with the DDP as evidenced by your e-portfolio,
  • satisfactory performance by you at an interview with two examiners about your mini-thesis,
  • You must also have achieved your year one development needs and produced a clear and credible development plan for the succeeding two/three years.

Progress Monitoringmonitoring.jpg

Supervisor & Tutor Meetings

During your research degree you are required to have a number of formal, recorded meetings with your supervisor, normally one every 4-6 weeks (minimum 10 per annum) and with your personal tutor (two per annum). You will be expected to complete a form for each meeting and submit this to your Department. To help with this we have created an electronic form within PebblePad. Please use the form that is labelled with your department’s name and submit it to your department's gateway.

Monitoring during writing up

The normal period of registration for a full-time PhD is 3 years, which is the length of time covered by most funded studentships, and students are expected to complete their PhD within this time. This includes writing up and submission of your thesis. In exceptional cases, including those where funding is available for longer than 3 years, registration can be extended into a fourth year. The maximum period of registration in all cases is 4 years, and you will be expected to submit your thesis no later than the end of the fourth year. You will be expected to provide regular progress updates during your writing up period.

Progression Flow Chart


Thesis Submission

The viva examination, or thesis defence, is the final hurdle of your MPhil, MD or PhD programme. It is therefore crucial that you prepare yourself as you would for any other kind of examination. The purpose of the viva is to validate your thesis and show the examiners:

  • You did the work yourself
  • Have done the reading
  • You have a good knowledge of the field
  • To show you wrote the thesis yourself

Submission It is strongly recommended that you ask your supervisor to arrange for you to have a practice/mock viva well in advance of the real exam. This will help you prepare for answering questions on your thesis and give you a feeling of what a viva interview will feel like.

You should also ensure you are thoroughly familiar with the content of your thesis and prepare for questions, such as “what have been the significant contributions of your research?” or “what would you do differently if you were to repeat your PhD?”

Practice summarising your thesis out loud with a friend and speak to colleagues who have recently completed their degrees and been through the viva process.

Usually, your supervisor will approach potential examiners when you are nearing submission and complete the relevant “appointment of examiners form”.