Examples of existing good practice: Upgrading
Whilst upgrade requirements will vary across the University, there are a number of examples of good practice, e.g.
Upgrade panel: Primary supervisor, PGR Tutor and an internal examiner (PGR Tutor sits on upgrade panel for all students to maintain consistency).
- Student must attempt upgrade in one of two time periods (a primary slot and a back up slot);
- Student submits a report that fits the requirements of the relevant professional body’s model format; this includes a Gantt chart indicating the plan for research and thesis;
- Student delivers a 20 minute presentation to the upgrade panel which is followed by an informal question and answer session – all PGR students are welcome to attend this. This colloquium is followed by a more formal closed viva attended only by the student, supervisors and panel.
Upgrade panel: A sub-group of 2 members of the Committee for Postgraduate Affairs
- Student submits a substantial piece of research to the supervisor (usually 5-8,000 words), which may be a chapter of the thesis or work towards a chapter; other work, such as a research paper delivered to a departmental seminar, may form part of the upgrade submission;
- In addition, a description of the research project must be provided, broken down into chapters, with a timetable for completion;
- The primary supervisor puts forward the work for upgrade, to be assessed by two members of the Committee for Post-graduate Affairs;
- The upgrade panel conducts an upgrade interview with the student (the primary supervisor is also present).
Upgrade panel: Two examiners (one internal and one external) whom the primary supervisor has nominated, and whom the department´s PGR lead has approved. If records of supervisor-student meetings have indicated problems, then the PGR lead will join the panel.
- Student submits a mini-thesis at approximately nine months (the literature review forms the basis for the mini-thesis);
- The student defends their mini-thesis at an interview conducted by the panel;
- If the examiners have reservations about whether or not to upgrade a student then the case is referred to a sub-group comprised of the PGR lead and the Chair of the Graduate Research Committee. On a case by case basis the sub-group will decide what action(s) the student needs to undertake in order to pass the upgrade (e.g. rewriting of a paragraph, substantial rewrite) and then feeds this back to the student and supervisors.