Progression examination

Each research degree student needs to complete a progression examination, comprising a written report and a viva, to demonstrate that suitable progress has been made since the start of their research degree.

Details of regulations, responsiblities, timescales and outcomes can be found in the Graduate School Handbook. The handbook also contains  explanations of the roles of persons/groups involved in the progression examination, such as the:

  • Director of Studies (DoS)
  • Independent examiners
  • Faculty Research Degrees Committee (FRDC)
  • Research Degrees Award Board (RDAB)
  • Graduate School office


The summary of procedures provided below must be completed by the deadlines specified to students in the Terms and Conditions accompanying their offer letter (or as otherwise confirmed by the FRDC).

These deadlines vary according to the award (eg MPhil, PhD) and mode of study (ie part-time, full-time).

The following summary should be considered alongside the information contained within the Graduate School Handbook.

Prior to the progression viva 

  • DoS: submit RD2a form to FRDC to approve the progression examination team (via the Graduate School office)
  • Graduate School office: notify student/DoS of the FRDC decision regarding the RD2a 
  • DoS: confirms date of viva (if different to that stated in RD2a) with the Graduate School office, arranges the viva exam
  • Graduate School office: available to assist with viva exam arrangements if required
  • Student: circulate report to the approved examiners, and notify the Graduate School office when this occurs
  • Examiners: submit preliminary report (RD2b) to FRDC via the Graduate School office

Following the progression viva

  • Examiners: provide student with oral feedback on their recommended outcome. Submit outcome report (RD2c) to the FRDC via the Graduate School office.
  • Faculty Research Degrees Committee (FRDC): considers outcome recommendations, reports pass or resubmission outcomes to the Research Degrees Award Board (RDAB), and makes recommendations to the Board regarding fail outcomes.
  • Graduate School Office: notifies the student of RDAB decision.

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