For year one full-time students on the PhD programme, the APR meeting should comprise the differentiation interview, and take place approximately nine months after the student first enrols on the programme. (For late enrollers, who would not be expected to differentiate until the next academic year, a light touch APR meeting should be held, such as that arranged for year one part-time students, see below. Once differentiation has been completed at the appropriate time, these students should fit in with the normal cycle of APR meetings in subsequent years.) Students being considered for differentiation should normally submit a differentiation report, a research plan, and a training record for consideration by the progress review panel.
For full-time students in year two and beyond, APR meetings may comprise a student presentation on their research, followed by a question and answer session. Students should normally submit a training record, an updated research plan/completion timetable, and one or more of the following: a progress report, PowerPoint presentation, chapter outline, thesis overview, and thesis chapter(s). Schools may also consider a report from the supervisors. These types of meetings could also be used with the majority of students on Professional Doctorate programmes.
For part-time students, Schools may wish to implement the approach outlined above at the end of the second, fourth and sixth years. A lighter touch approach (e.g. reduced student submissions regarding progress, and brief progress review meetings) could be implemented at the end of the first, third, and fifth years.
For external students, and those who are studying away from the University, in accordance with Study Regulations for Research Degree Programmes, regulation 3.5, students are normally required to visit the University to take part in APR (including differentiation). However, in exceptional cases where this is not possible, it would be acceptable to host the meeting between the progress review panel and student via Skype or alternative videoconferencing or teleconferencing approaches.
For students who are on an approved leave of absence when the School is completing APR, a light touch approach could be implemented when the student has returned to studies and has had sufficient time to prepare the written submission, with advice from the supervisory team. It would be good practice for the student to submit a brief research progress report to date, and a research plan for the next period, which is discussed during a brief meeting with the progress review panel.
All students who may need to register in the next academic year in order to have a final version of the thesis approved prior to graduation must complete the APR process. For students who are very near submission (as acknowledged by the principal supervisor), or who have submitted their thesis but are awaiting a viva, a light touch approach would be appropriate. This is to act as a formal way of ‘keeping in touch’ in case there may be progress issues, whilst recognising that a full APR at this stage would not be appropriate. These students may benefit from submitting the outline of their thesis and one or more chapters for consideration by the panel.
For students who are completing corrections within a deadline which occurs in the next academic year, a very light touch approach would be appropriate. Students who have been asked to revise and resubmit their thesis for re-examination may benefit from submitting draft revised work to the progress review panel, and experiencing a mock viva regarding the corrections. For students who are completing corrections, the student submission may simply be a brief report on progress with the corrections, and the expected date of completion and submission of the corrections, and the APR panel meeting could be a very brief meeting to ensure that the student is on track and that there are no issues that would delay the completion.
Any students who are completing corrections within a deadline which occurs in the current academic year will not have to complete the APR process. These students would be expected to register in the next academic year in order to graduate only.
These examples are not prescriptive, but should be seen as guiding Schools in determining the most appropriate way of reviewing, documenting and verifying the progress of their research students.