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Research degrees

The University of Leeds Postgraduate Research Student Lifecycle

Following York St John University's successful application for Research Degree Awarding Powers (RDAP), postgraduate researchers (PGRs) are now admitted on to York St John University research degree programmes only. Information on applications for research degrees at York St John University can be found on the York St John Research Student Lifecycle page.

A number of PGRs registered on University of Leeds research degree programmes before York St John University achieved RDAP continue to work towards a University of Leeds research degree award. The information below is specific to University of Leeds registered PGRs.

The Document Directory contains all regulatory documentation relevant to Research Degrees at York St John University, with a specific page for University of Leeds research degree programmes. Please refer to the Document Directory as you read the Quality Gateway.


 Key Documents

 The links below provide information on the process and requirements for research degrees:

Training and Development

PGRs should update their Training Development Needs Analysis (docx, 82.5 kb) in liaison with their supervisor for each review meeting. The TDNA is based on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) that describes the knowledge, behaviours and attributes of successful researchers. It is used to identify strengths and gaps in development, prioritise development needs and monitor progress. Training and development needs should be discussed with the supervisor and will be reviewed as part of the academic progress monitoring procedure.

Details of training and development courses and opportunities are outlined on the Research Events page.

Progress Monitoring

Progress Monitoring

Regular reviews of PGR academic progress are carried out throughout the candidature and a record of these is retained using the suite of review forms. Progress monitoring reviews must be held on an annual basis post-transfer stage:

 Full time PhD Part time PhD Full time MPhil Part time Mphil
Annual Review 24 and 36 months   36, 48, 60 and 72 months   18 and 30 months   18, 30, 42, 54 and 66 months

For each review meeting, the PGR must submit:

  • A piece of written work that presents an opportunity to assess academic progress without detracting from completion of the research and thesis writing. The content of the written work is to be agreed between the supervisor and the PGR in accordance with any School requirements and should be appropriate to the point the PGR has reached in their candidature;
  • A reflection on progress to date, which might include completed chapters / laboratory work and conference attendance;
  • A plan for completion of the research and the thesis within the remaining period of study (eg Gantt chart);
  • Completed Progress Report for Review;
  • Completed/updated Training and Development Needs Analysis and Training Plan.
  • Completed Supervision Log (on e:vision)

Review meetings are chaired by an independent assessor who is an academic, from a cognate discipline but outside the supervision team. The PGR, main supervisor (and co-supervisors if available) attend the meeting. Please find the Progress and Monitoring forms on the Document Directory.

Processing Review forms

  1. Progress Reports should be signed by the PGR, the supervisory team and provided to the review panel in advance of the meeting.
  2. TDNA/Training Plan and supervision log should be signed by the PGR, a supervisor and provided to the review panel in advance of the meeting.
  3. The Review Report should be completed and signed by the Chair of the panel and the main supervisor.
  4. The Chair of the Panel must provide the progress report, TDNA and review report to the School Research Lead for countersignature within ten working days of the meeting.
  5. The School Research Lead should provide the signed progress report and review report, with the TDNA/training plan and supervision log (within five working days of receipt) to Registry for consideration by RDSC.

Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Procedure

Where a supervisory team has concerns about the progress of a PGR the Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Procedure should be considered.  Its purpose is to investigate the concerns and identify whether the PGR may be able to continue their degree through to successful completion within the remaining period of study. Through using the UAPP a series of actions may be set to enable immediate improvement of academic performance.  The UAPP may take place at any stage in a research degree.

A supervisor must initially raise their concerns in writing with the PGR and if there is no improvement then the supervisor should formally bring the matter to the attention of the relevant School Research Lead.  The SRL will arrange an unsatisfactory academic progress meeting with the PGR to consider what action is required.  If it is agreed that the UAPP should be instigated an action plan and milestones will be set and a date for formal review will be arranged.

Full details of the Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Procedure, along with template forms and sample letters, are available in the Code of Practice for Research Degrees (docx, 1.3 MB) and Document Directory.

Suspensions and extensions

Where PGRs experience events or circumstances which disrupt their academic progress a suspension or extension may be requested.  Normally the PGR will complete a Postgraduate Researcher Suspension/Extension Request Form (docx, 31.5 kB) and submit it to their supervisor and the School Research Lead for authorisation.  The request will be considered by the RDSC sub group. 

Further details on suspensions and extensions can be found in the Suspensions and Extensions FAQs (docx, 26.1 kB).

Postgraduate Researchers Engaging in Teaching

Participation in teaching is normally limited to PGRs on a PhD route who have successfully completed the transfer process.

All PGRs engaged in teaching should be appropriately qualified and supported. To ensure this:

  • PGRs must not engage in teaching until they either have a recognised HE teaching qualification (e.g. Fellowship/Associate of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) or YSJU Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PCAP)) OR have attended the relevant ‘Academic Induction’.
  • Schools are responsible for ensuring that PGRs that they employ to teach have appropriate subject expertise AND are provided with an appropriate induction and development opportunities.

Thesis Submission and Examination

Thesis submission and examination information is available in full on the Leeds Thesis Submission and Examination pages.


Student expenses are managed by the Research Office and PGRs should contact for information on account limits and procedures.

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