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The first year review

The first year review requires a student to submit (3 weeks prior to the review date) a substantial piece of academic writing (a report/thesis of 10k words), which the student presents in a 30 minutes presentation to the department, and to which the student will receive more questions by a panel in a session which can last up to one hour. The rest of this website outlines what the report that formally justifies the outcome needs to contain.

What are the possible outcomes of a first year review

A review has 4 possible outcomes.
  1. Pass. The report, presentation, and hence the overall progress have been satisfactory. The student can continue with the PhD studies.
  2. Resubmit. The report, presentation, or overall progress have not been satisfactory, but the panel recognises that the student has the potential to catch up to the necessary standard within a reasonable amount of time. The student will be given detailed information (in writing) about what needs to improve. The student has to resubmit and re-present the work within 3 months time. If after these 3 months the students' work still is not up to the expected standard, the department will set, in this next review meeting, the `at-risk' procedure (see guidelines and procedures for postgraduate research students) in motion.
  3. Submit dissertation for MSc by Research. The report, presentation, and overall progress have been unsatisfactory and way below standard. Probably, the student had already had a chance to resubmit, but this hasn't led to any substantial improvement, and also the `at-risk' procedure has not helped.
  4. `At risk' status. If the student refuses to submit a report, or if the report has been not up to standards after resubmission, the `at risk' procedure or disciplinary actions are brought in.
The outcome will be justified in form of a written report explaining the decision. This report will be available for comment to the student, the report will be signed off by HoD (or a named proxy) on behalf of the department.

What the review report must contain

  1. Information about the panel: the details that must be included are name of the participants and their roles (reviewer, supervisor, second panel member, etc.), date of the review, and information about the student (including whether full time or part time).
  2. The following areas should all be briefly addressed:
    • Progress made by student over the first 12 months, including
      • an assessment of the quality of the first year report
      • other achievements of the student (papers, paper submissions, software developed, etc.)
      • other activities of the student (conferences/workshops/schools attended, etc.)
  3. Issues raised: anything that was raised during the review (by the reviewer, supervisors, or the student), including any actions that were agreed upon to address these issues
  4. Any mitigating circumstances
  5. Performance rating: Based on the above, an overall rating of the student's performance should be given: Very good --- Good --- Acceptable --- Unacceptable
  6. Overall recommendation The rating, together with any mitigating circumstances, should then lead to an overall recommendation: pass --- resubmit --- at risk --- Msc by research
The panel writes the report jointly; it is the reviewer's responsibility that the report is written within 10 days of the review, made available to the student for comments, and then uploaded to the review system. The review must be signed off by the HoD (or a named representative). This is done in the review system via a tick-box only visible to HoD (representative). General information regarding the rules and regulations for postgraduate research students can be found here.