The PhD Journey - key milestones
During your research journey, there are a number of key milestones which you will be expected to achieve within specific timeframes. This table provides you of an overview of what is expected of you.
|Process||When (full time)||When (part time)|
|Re-enrolment||Around mid-September, annually||Electronically, every summer|
|Initial Assessment||Within four months of first registration||Within ten months of first registration|
|Annual report||First week in May, annually||First week in May, annually|
|Between eight and twelve months of first registration||Between twelve and twenty-four months of first registration|
|Final Assessment||Within thirty months of first registration||Within sixty months (PhD) or thirty-six months (MPhil) of first registration|
|Intention to Submit||Three months before proposed submission date||Three months before proposed submission date|
|Within thirty-six months (PhD) or twenty-four months (MPhil) of first registration||Within seventy-two months (PhD) or forty-eight months (MPhil) of first registration|
Registration and re-enrolment
Annual Reports Process
The Doctoral College will initiate the online reporting procedure for all research students in April each year. Both you and your supervisory team will be asked to complete a confidential annual report detailing a summary of your progress to date. You should be aware that the report you submit will not be shared with your supervisors.
Your supervisors will also be asked to provide a recommendation (RS4 form) on whether or not you should progress to the next academic year. If reports are not submitted they will be pursued by the Faculty and Doctoral College and progress to the next academic year may be delayed.
The Faculty will receive and consider all reports at the faculty progress board. If the Research Director is also a member of your supervisory team, then your report will be considered by the Associate Dean of the Faculty to ensure confidentiality. The annual re-registration process will not normally be permitted until the Doctoral College has received your Annual Report.
Confirmation of Registration Status
To help prepare for your final submission and examination, your Faculty will make arrangements for a final assessment of progress within thirty months (full-time) and sixty months (part-time) of initial registration. The format of this assessment is at the discretion of your Faculty and may include presentation at a seminar or conference.
Submission of thesis
Following advice from your supervisory team, you should plan to submit the RS11 a minimum of three months prior to your expected thesis submission date. This enables the Doctoral College and the Faculty to begin making examination arrangements. n.b. submitting the RS11 form does not commit you to an exact submission date.
Comprehensive guidance on the presentation of your thesis is available and should be consulted prior to submission. Extensive guidance on submitting your thesis is also available. Along with your submitted thesis, you are required to complete and return to the Doctoral College the student consent form (RS11b), stating which supervisor, if any, you wish to attend the oral examination. You may only select one supervisor to accompany you into your oral examination and you should note that the supervisor will not be permitted to contribute to the examination.
In addition, you must submit the RS17, the reassignment of student Intellectual Property Rights. It is your responsibility to obtain the signature of the IP Manager (Research and Impact) before submitting this form. Failure to submit this form will prevent the degree from being conferred by Senate and you will be unable to graduate.
Appointment of Examiners
On receipt of your intention to submit form, the Doctoral College will contact the Faculty requesting the initiation of the process of appointing examiners. One External Examiner (two for researchers who have been full-time members of staff for two or more years, or equivalent for part-time staff members) who should have previously examined at an appropriate level, one Internal Examiner and a Chairman are required. The criteria for appointing examiners can be found at the end of the form RS12.
An oral examination is required to be held no less than four weeks from the date on which the Board of Examiners receives your thesis, and normally within three months of receipt of the submission. The examination will normally be held at your home campus. Where the examination is to be held on another campus, your written consent must be provided prior to arranging the examination.
The Doctoral College will formally write to you detailing the date, time and venue of the oral examination once a date has been arranged by the Chair of the supervisory team. The Doctoral College will also provide you with a copy of the Turnitin report, detailing similarity matches from your thesis.
Following the examination, you will be informed of the recommended outcome. A letter of official confirmation will follow from the Doctoral College after approval by the Board of the Faculty within two weeks of the date of the oral examination. Details of the possible examination outcomes can be found under the regulations for each degree programme.
Final submission of thesis and Graduation
Full guidelines are available on the submission of the final thesis post examination.
If you are awarded a degree without any required corrections you should submit one bound copy of your thesis to the Doctoral College within six weeks of the notification of the outcome of your examination. If you are awarded a degree subject to corrections you should make the necessary amendments to the thesis (within three months or six months, depending on the outcome) as directed by the Examiners and have these amendments approved by the Internal Examiner prior to arranging final binding and submission. You should submit your final bound copy in accordance with the Guidelines for Presentation of Theses.
Additionally, those awarded the degree of PhD should complete and submit the Ulster eTheses Deposit Agreement, along with the electronic version of your thesis in PDF on a CD.
You may, if you wish, request two year hold on your thesis: this is done through the Ulster eThesis Deposit Agreement.
In accordance with the requirements of the University Code of Practice for Professional Integrity in the Conduct of Research each researcher must deposit all raw data and samples with their Supervisor Team prior to final presentation of the thesis. A statement confirming that the supervisory team is content that all appropriate materials have been deposited must be presented to the Doctoral College at the time of submission (RS16 Data and Sample Deposit form).
On submission of final thesis and all relevant forms, you will be eligible for Graduation, provided you are not recorded on the University’s system as a ‘debtor’. You will be contacted by Registry regarding attendance at graduation and ticket allocation electronically via your University email account and it is therefore imperative that, following submission, you continue to check this account.