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Panel review

The Purpose of the Panel

The Faculty of Humanities at The University of Manchester requires that the progress of all PGRs is monitored on a regular basis. The Panel Review, sometimes also referred to as the Annual Review, End of Year Review, the First Year Review or the Progression Panel, is the University's formal monitoring process to assess a doctoral candidate's progress. The aim of the panel is to evaluate the candidate's academic progress over the last year and make recommendations as to whether they are deemed to continue with the research (or upgrade). Panel Reviews will continue into the second and third year of research as well as into a possible fourth 'submission pending' or 'writing up' year.

Policies and Procedures

Each of the seven schools within the Faculty of Humanities has separate policies and procedures for PGRs undertaking progression and panel reviews. **Please refer to your Postgraduate Handbook for all the necessary policies that affect those registered as a PGR in your school and discipline**

As a general guideline, a full-time PGR in the Humanities will have one six month appraisal followed by an annual review panel which normally takes place towards the end of the academic year (within the 9th and 12th month of research). For those following a part-time programme of research, the panel will take place at the equivalent time (usually within the latter half of the second year). PGRs are strongly encouraged to check with their School for up-to-date policies and procedures and please note that these guidelines may vary according to individual circumstances. It is important to keep the University notified of any changes in contact details - letters are usually sent out to notify PGRs of forthcoming review panels. All registered candidates are expected to anticipate that their panel is coming up and prepare for it accordingly - eProg can help with this.

The timing of the Review Panel is deliberate - there must be sufficient time for the panel to convene before the end of the academic year in order to allow sufficient time to assess whether a student is suitable to continue/transfer/upgrade to the following academic year.

Research Competencies and Expertise

The skills and competencies that doctoral candidates need to get through the panel review are similar to those needed for the Viva.  Preparing for the panel review is excellent long-term preparation for a Viva and should be seen as such.

Assessing Your Progress to-date

Reflective practice is crucial to reviewing progress. The guidelines below will help to reflect on progress:

  • Assess your progress and achievements with the thesis so far, list all of the evidence you have collected to demonstrate this (outputs):
  • What are your strengths?  How have you developed as a researcher since embarking on your thesis?
  • What are your weaknesses?  (What do you need to work on before the panel?)
  • What opportunities are there to make good progress before the panel?  Are you on track?