The University of Leeds Postgraduate Research Student Lifecycle

Following York St John University's successful application for Research Degree Awarding Powers (RDAP), research students 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 research students 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 research students.

The Document Directory contains all 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

Research Students should update their Training and Development Needs Analysis (TDNA) and Training Plan in liaison with their supervisor for each annual review. 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 Degree Training page and the Research Events page.


Progress Monitoring

Progress Monitoring

Regular reviews of research students’ academic progress are carried out throughout the candidature and a record of these is retained using the suite of review forms. Information relating to progress monitoring can be found in section 5 of the Postgraduate Research Student Protocol (PDF 0.3MB). 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 student 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 student in accordance with any School requirements and should be appropriate to the point the student 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 (DOC 25KB)

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

For more information on reviews, read the Postgraduate Research Student Protocol (PDF 0.3MB).

Processing Review forms

  1. Progress Reports should be signed by the student, 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 student, 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 research student the Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Procedure (DOC 0.1mB) should be considered.  Its purpose is to investigate the concerns and identify whether the student 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 student 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 student 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 (DOC 0.1mB), along with template forms and sample letters, are available in the Document Directory.


Suspensions and extensions

Where students experience events or circumstances which disrupt their academic progress a suspension or extension may be requested.  Normally the student will complete a Student Suspension Extension Request Form (DOCX 37KB) and submit it to their supervisor and the School Research Lead for authorisation.  The request will be considered by the RDSC sub group.  In the event that a student is unable to complete the form themselves, School staff should complete the School Suspension Extension Request Form (DOCX 25KB).  Further details on suspensions and extensions can be found in the Policy and Guidance on Suspensions Extensions (DOCX 80.2KB) and the Suspensions and Extensions FAQs (DOCX 29.6KB) 


Postgraduate Research Students Engaging in Teaching

Participation in teaching is normally limited to PhD students who have successfully completed the transfer process.

All postgraduate research students engaged in teaching should be appropriately qualified and supported. To ensure this:

  • Research students 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 ‘Academic Induction’, a three day induction event run at YSJU by Academic Development Directorate designed to help new teachers.
  • Schools are responsible for ensuring that postgraduate research students that they employ to teach have appropriate subject expertise AND are provided with an appropriate induction and development opportunities.

More information can be found in the Protocol for postgraduate students engaging in Teaching at York St John University.

Teaching Opportunities are advertised on the Opportunities for Research Students webpage.


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 Schools and students should contact the University Research Administrators for information on account limits and procedures. For more information on expenses, please read the Expenses Policy for postgraduate research students.


Other Useful Information

In the first instance, please consult the Research Student Handbook for other useful information related to research degrees. Topics covered include:

  • National and institutional context for research degrees
  • Management of research degrees at York St John
  • Research Degree Supervision
  • The Research Student Journey
  • Training and Development
  • Thesis Submission
  • Integrity, Ethics, Safeguarding Data, Copyright and Health & Safety
  • Support Services
  • Complaints and Appeals
  • Regulations, Codes, Policies and Procedures
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