Policies

Progress and probation reviews

Progress review monitoring

9.109

Research students registered for the degree of PhD, MD, PsyD, or MPhil must successfully complete a regular formal review of their progress.

9.110

The progress of research students registered for other doctoral degree programmes shall be reviewed through their completion of the assessed components and other programme requirements.

Probation period and probation review

9.111

Research students registered for the degree of PhD or MPhil shall be registered on probation for the first year of the degree (full-time) or first two years of the degree (part-time). Research students registered for the degree of MD, PsyD, or DClinPsy shall be registered on probation for the first year of the degree.

9.112

Before the end of the specified probation period, the research student must be assessed and a decision made as to whether they have successfully completed the probation period and should be permitted to continue with the degree.

9.113

For research students registered for the degree of PhD, MD, PsyD, or MPhil the first formal progress review shall be used to decide whether the student has successfully completed probation. This review must take place before the end of the research student’s first year of registration (MD, PsyD, or fulltime PhD and MPhil) or before the end of the second year of registration (part-time PhD and MPhil).

9.114

An alternative but equivalent review format comprising an assessed training programme may be used for:

  1. research students registered for the degree of DClinPsy, or
  2. research students registered for the degree of PhD or MPhil and who are based in a Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership/Centre for Doctoral Training and where the use of an alternative review format has been approved by the Dean of the Doctoral College.

9.115

For the probation review the research student must prepare:

  1. a written report on their progress to date – this shall normally be of 5,000 to 10,000 words and may be accompanied by relevant supporting research outputs
  2. a work plan for completing the thesis over the remaining part of the specified maximum registration period
  3. a record of skills and career development training completed to date – where the Department has compulsory training requirements, this record must include evidence that these have been met
  4. written records of all formal supervisory meetings held to date
  5. The student is required to submit the probation report and any accompanying substantive work through a plagiarism checker.

9.116

The above are minimum requirements and the Department may require research students to produce additional materials as appropriate – for example, practical work, lab books, etc.

9.117

For the probation review the supervisory team must prepare written feedback – around 300 words – on the research student’s progress. This feedback must include:

  1. a discussion of the research student’s progress to date
  2. a discussion of the feasibility of the research student’s proposed work plan
  3. recommendations for further training that is required
  4. the supervisory team is responsible for reviewing the plagiarism check similarity report required at probation and submitting the report and an accompanying summary to the Probation Review Panel.

9.118

The probation review must be conducted by a probation review panel. A probation review panel must be appointed for every research student registered for the degree of PhD, MD, PsyD, or MPhil. The Head of Department or their nominee shall be responsible for the appointment of the probation review panel. The appointment of a probation review panel for research students registered at an associated institution shall be the responsibility of that institution.

9.119

Each probation review panel must comprise at least two members at least one of whom must be a member of the University’s academic staff. All members of each probation review panel must be one of the following:

  1. a member of the University’s academic staff
  2. a research fellow of the University
  3. a clinical or scientific member of staff of the University Hospitals of Leicester National Health Service Trust, holding an honorary position with the University.

Other honorary and emeritus staff of the University shall not be appointed as members of a probation review panel. The Head of Department or their nominee may, if appropriate, appoint an external adviser to assist the probation review panel.

9.120

Members of the probation review panel for a research student registered at an associated institution must be members of the academic staff of that institution.

9.121

Members of the research student’s supervisory team must not be members of the same student’s probation review panel.

9.122

Members of the probation review panel must not have or have had:

  1. a close personal or professional relationship with the research student or the research student’s immediate family, or
  2. a close personal or contractual relationship with any member of the supervisory team or any other member of the panel.

9.123

Members of the probation review panel must have expertise relevant to the student’s area of research. Each probation review panel must have appropriate experience of the supervision of research students. The members of each probation review panel shall normally between them have experience of successfully supervising at least three research students to completion. The approval of the Head of Department shall be required if it is proposed to appoint a probation review panel with less experience.

9.124

The probation review shall provide the research student with the opportunity to discuss their research, their findings so far, and their plans for completing the thesis. The research student must give a presentation and defence of their work. This shall normally take the form of an oral examination and/or a presentation followed by questions.

9.125

In advance of the probation review, the Department must provide the probation review panel with copies of the research student’s progress report and the written feedback of the supervisory team.

9.126

The probation review must be conducted in person and shall normally take the form of a meeting between the research student and the probation review panel. The research student may be required to give a separate presentation to the probation review panel, members of the Department, and others. The probation review panel may ask the research student questions on any relevant matters as needed to form an opinion on the student’s progress to date and their ability to complete the degree within the specified maximum registration period.

9.127

Members of the research student’s supervisory team may attend that student’s probation review meeting, including any separate presentation session, as observers. If members of the supervisory team are in attendance, the research student must be given the opportunity to discuss privately with the probation review panel any other relevant matters that they may wish to raise.

9.128

At the end of the probation review, the probation review panel must make a recommendation to the Head of Department or – in the case of research students registered for the degree of MD, to the MD Board of Studies – as to whether the research student should be permitted to continue with the degree. The panel shall recommend one of the following:

  1. that the research student has successfully completed probation for the degree for which they registered and should be permitted to continue as a registered student
  2. that the research student has not successfully completed probation for the degree for which they registered and should be required to remain on probation for that degree for a period of no more than six months and complete a further and final probation review before the end of that period
  3. that the research student has not successfully completed probation for the degree for which they registered but should be permitted to register for a lower award (research students registered for the degree of PhD)
  4. that the research student has not successfully completed probation and should have their registration terminated.

9.129

At the end of the probation review the probation review panel must prepare a brief written report indicating their recommendation and the reasons for making this. Copies of this report must be provided to the research student, the supervisory team, and the Doctoral College Office or, in the case of research students registered for the degree of MD, to the College Student Programmes Office.

9.130

If the probation review panel has recommended that the research student should remain on probation for a period of no more than six months, a further probation review must be held before the end of that period. At the end of that subsequent probation review, the probation review panel must make a recommendation to the Head of Department or – in the case of research students registered for the degree of MD, to the MD Board of Studies – as to whether the research student should be permitted to continue with the degree. The panel shall recommend one of the following:

  1. that the research student has successfully completed probation for the degree for which they registered and should be permitted to continue as a registered student
  2. that the research student has not successfully completed probation for the degree for which they registered but should be permitted to register for a lower award (research students registered for the degree of PhD)
  3. that the research student has not successfully completed probation and should have their registration terminated.

9.131

At the end of the subsequent probation review the probation review panel must prepare a brief written report indicating their recommendation and the reasons for making this. Copies of this report must be provided to the research student, the supervisory team, and the Doctoral College Office or, in the case of research students registered for the degree of MD, to the College Student Programmes Office.

9.132

Where an approved alternative review format is used:

  1. it must comprise a specified programme of training components
  2. assessment of the research student’s performance in each component and across the training programme as a whole shall be made with reference to specified minimum requirements
  3. a decision shall be made on the basis of the assessment of the research student’s performance as to whether the research student should be permitted to continue with the degree; this decision must be made by
    • a. he Board of Examiners (research students registered for the degree of DClinPsy), or
    • b. a panel of academic staff appointed for that purpose (research students based in a Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership/Centre for Doctoral Training)
  4. research students who have not successfully met the specified requirements shall normally have their registration terminated.

Subsequent progress reviews

9.133

Following the probation review, the progress of research students registered for the degree of PhD, MD, PsyD, or MPhil and whose degree is of more than one year in duration shall be monitored by a progress review panel. The progress of research students registered for the degree of DClinPsy shall be monitored by the DClinPsy Board of Examiners.

9.134

The progress review panel must comprise at least two members. Members of the research student’s supervisory team may be members of the same student’s progress review panel, but the progress review panel must include at least one member who is not also a member of the supervisory team – normally this shall be a member of the original probation review panel. The Head of Department or their nominee shall be responsible for the appointment of the progress review panel. The appointment of a progress review panel for research students registered at an associated institution shall be the responsibility of that institution.

9.135

Before the end of each year of their registration – excluding the final year – the research student must submit a written report on their progress to the progress review panel. This report shall normally be of at least 2,000 words and may be accompanied by relevant supporting research outputs.

9.136

The progress review panel must arrange regular progress review meetings with the research student. Progress review meetings must take place at least annually (MD, PsyD, or full-time PhD and MPhil) or every second year (part-time PhD or MPhil). Progress review meetings with campus based research students shall normally be conducted in person. Progress review meetings with distance learning research students may be conducted by any appropriate means of communication, but meetings in person should be used where possible.

9.137

Progress review meetings shall provide the research student with the opportunity to discuss their research, their findings so far, and their plans for completing the thesis. There is no requirement for the research student to give a presentation or defence of their work at subsequent progress reviews; however, the Department may require this as appropriate. Research students must be given appropriate notice if they shall be required to present or defend their work.

9.138

At the end of each progress review meeting the progress review panel must prepare a brief written report on the research student’s progress since the last progress review meeting. The report must make clear any concerns that the progress review panel has about the research student’s progress or ability to achieve the degree for which they are registered within the specified maximum registration period.

9.139

A copy of the progress review panel’s report must be provided to the research student and the Doctoral College Office or, in the case of research students registered for the degree of MD, to the College Student Programmes Office. If the progress review panel has serious doubts about the research student’s progress or ability to achieve the degree for which they are registered, a copy of the report must be provided to the Head of Department who may initiate proceedings for neglect of academic obligations as specified in 9.152 to 9.155.

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