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Feasibility, First Year, Second Year and Third Year Reports

Monitoring Your Work

Your Supervisor bears primary responsibility for guiding your research, but your progress is also monitored by the DGEC, via the written reports you hand in, and your supervisor's termly reports on CamSIS.

You will be sent a reminder 6 weeks before your reports are due, along with the guidelines, which can also be found below.

The Departmental Regulations aim to assist students and supervisors, to promote training and achievement, and to ensure that targets are met within the appropriate schedule.

The regulations are in addition to those laid down by the University and your College, and should be read in conjunction with the Code of Practice for Graduate Research Degrees.

 

Submitting Your Reports

Your reports and other required documentation should be sent via email as  pdf attachments to the Graduate Administrator, by the relevant deadline. You should only submit your report once it has been approved by your supervisor, so it is important that you plan ahead and find out from them when they would like to receive a first draft.

 

MPhil Students


 

Timetable for Reports


 

Start DateFeasibility Report DueProgress Report DueSubmit Thesis
October 2014 5 November 2014 4 March 2015 31 August 2015

Theses should be submitted to Debbie Watson in Room F34, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge by 12 noon either on or prior to the submission deadline
January 2015 5 February 2015 4 June 2015

4 December 2015

Theses should be submitted to Debbie Watson in Room F34, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge by 12 noon either on or prior to the submission deadline

April 2015 5 May 2015 4 September 2015

11 March 2016

Theses should be submitted to Debbie Watson in Room F34, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge by 12 noon either on or prior to the submission deadline

 

MPhil Feasibility Report (after 1 month)


After one month you and your Supervisor should have decided on a project that can be completed during a 1 year MPhil. The frontiers of research are unpredictable, but it is essential that your project has a hard core that is almost guaranteed to produce good results; if all else fails, this will be your MPhil! The risky bits are often the most interesting, and no project would be complete without them, but you have to protect yourself against the winds of chance.

The Feasibility Report is a brief (500 word) outline of your project. It should contain:

  • a short background to the project, your objectives and the programme for research.
  • requirements for the research: funding, space, equipment, animals, consumables, field facilities etc. These should be sorted out already or will be in the very near future.
  • a timetable and arrangements for any work to be done away from Cambridge.

Along with your report you must also submit:

  1. A disclaimer, signed by yourself and your supervisor, confirming that the necessary facilities, funding and support are available. Such facilities would include, for example, finance, access to materials, equipment and field facilities. (Please either scan and email the signed version, or submit a hard copy).
  2. Your choice of advisors:
  3. A completed Risk Assessment:

     

MPhil Progress Report (after 5 months)


Your report should be no more than 1000 words and should include:

  • an introduction.
  • an outline of your achievements to date.
  • a timetable for future research.
  • a plan for the completion of your dissertation.

 

Thesis Submission


MPhil students must submit a dissertation after 11 months (see further information on Thesis Examination and Submission).

 

PhD Students


 

 

Timetable for Reports


 

Start DateFeasibility Report DueFirst Year Report DueSecond Year Report DueThird Year Report Due
April 2015 10 June 2015 12 February 2016 12 March 2017 12 April 2018
January 2015 4 March 2015 7 November 2015 7 December 2016 7 January 2018
October 2014 9 December 2014 5 August 2015 5 September 2016 5 October 2017
April 2014 10 June 2014 12 February 2015 12 March 2016 12 April 2017
January 2014 4 March 2014 7 November 2014 7 December 2015 7 January 2017
October 2013 9 December 2013 5 August 2014 5 September 2015 5 October 2016
April 2013 10 June 2013 12 February 2014 12 March 2015  9 April 2016
January 2013 4 March 2013 7 November 2013 7 December 2014 4 January 2016
October 2012 3 December 2012 5 August 2013 5 September 2014  5 October 2015
April 2012 11 June 2012 12 February 2013 12 March 2014 13 April 2015
January 2012 5 March 2012 7 November 2012 7 November 2013 7 January 2015

 

 

PhD Feasibility Report (after 2 months)


 Your report must follow the following structure. Please ensure you provide the information requested and keep to the word limits.

  1. Title
  2. Significance (100 words)
    Summarise the questions you'll address and explain why they are important.
  3. Background (500 words)
    Describe the work from the literature and your laboratory leading up to this project.
  4. Research Plan (500-1000 words)
    What are your aims? Describe the observations and experiments you plan, giving a brief outline of your methodology.
  5. Resources and costs (500 words)
    Describe the resources you need to complete this project, include details of equipment, trips, collaborations (internal and external) and access to facilities. Explain how these will be obtained. Provide an estimate of the cost of your work. How will these costs be met? (Please note that the only funds available from the Department to support graduate student research costs (other than those associated with specific studentships) are a number of Trust Funds and some small funds administered by the DGEC. These each have a specific remit and eligibility requirements.)
  6. Training (500 words)
    Describe any specific training required and explain how this will be obtained. Identify transferable skills training that you plan to undertake (other than compulsory elements).

 

Along with your report you must also submit:

  1. A disclaimer, signed by yourself and your supervisor, confirming that the necessary facilities, funding and support are available. Such facilities would include, for example, finance, access to materials, equipment and field facilities. (Please either scan and email the signed version, or submit a hard copy).
  2. Your choice of advisors:
  3. A completed Risk Assessment:

 

First Year Report  (after 10 months)


The report should be as concise as possible: around 3000 words. Please do not exceed the limit, or you will be asked to shorten the report. The following sections should be included:

  1. Summary of not more than 500 words.
  2. Introduction to your research project. What questions are you tackling and why are they interesting? This usually takes the form of a brief literature survey, concluding with the outstanding questions that you will address in your project. Because of the nature of their project, some students may not have started their field work or experiments at this stage; much of their time will have been spent on an extensive literature survey, and this section should be lengthened accordingly.
  3. Outline of your research including a timetable, a description of methods and results obtained so far. If field work or experiments have not started yet, this section should demonstrate that you have carefully planned your work and thought of options to cover potential problems. If you already have masses of data, please be selective in its presentation!
  4. References

Please remember that this exercise is for your benefit as well as ours, so write it in a manner that will help your future work and the production of your thesis. In particular, the literature survey and the methods section may prove suitable for your thesis with only minor revision, so it is worth the effort.

Along with your report you must also submit:

 

Registration for the PhD

Please note that a satisfactory First Year Report, followed by a formal viva (oral examination) with both your advisors to discuss progress and future plans, is essential in order for the DGEC to recommend your registration for the degree of PhD.  Written feedback on the meeting will be given to you and your supervisor, who will then complete the appropriate CGSRS registration report.

A fuller explanation of this decision point and possible outcomes can be found in the document below.

 

 

Second Year Report (after 2 years)


The report should be as concise as possible: between 4000-5000 words. Please do not exceed the limit, or you will be asked to shorten the report. The following sections should be included:

  1. Summary of not more than 500 words.
  2. Introduction: an outline of your project and the progress achieved in the first year.
  3. Progress in your second year: introduction, methods, results and conclusions.
  4. Outline of work to be done in your third year, with a timetable.
  5. Outline of the chapters for your thesis. (This is to demonstrate that you are thinking about the final result.)
  6. References


Along with your report you must also submit:

 

Third Year "Timetable to Submission" Report (after 3 years)


Writing up can be a daunting task, and it is crucial that students submit within their 4 year deadline. To help you organise your writing-up stage, we require students at the end of their third year to prepare a timetable of how they will complete and submit their thesis.

This plan, which you should prepare with the input and approval of your supervisor, will be scrutinised by your advisors, who will provide feedback on its feasibility.

We don't expect a large amount of text, a simple Gantt chart detailing your expected monthly achievements, together with a brief explanatory paragraph will be sufficient.

The key aim is to demonstrate that you have a plan of when each chapter will be completed, with a clear idea of where the data will come from (they ideally should all have been collected by now) and what analysis is still required.

Along with your report you must also submit:

 

Thesis Submission


Graduate students and the Department are both under great pressure to ensure that students finish their courses on schedule. The absolute limit for ALL PhD students is 4 years.

Students who do not submit within 4 years will be taken off the register unless there are exceptional circumstances (be aware that de-registration can have important implications with respect to visas and tax).

See further information on Thesis Examination and Submission.