Overview of panel purpose and composition
Supervision panels are intended to ensure RHD candidates receive ongoing support towards the successful completion of their thesis, by ensuring access to a wider range of academic staff for feedback and support. The supervision panel will play an important role at several stages in the candidate's candidature, meeting to discuss the research progress reports at the milestones identified in the table below.
The purpose of the supervision panel is:
- to improve candidate's experience by providing a wider range of academic staff committed to a candidate's progress
- to expand the feedback a candidate receives on the progress of their work
- to increase the breadth of ideas and insight to which candidates are exposed
- to ensure that the candidate has access to academic advice at all times, in particular in the absence of her/his main supervisor
- to provide advice to the candidate about opportunities during or after their degree (including conferences, exchange programs, tutoring, relevant workshops, grant opportunities and publishing)
- to improve completion patterns by providing candidates with structured planning of their research work
Supervision panels must consist of at least three members of staff:
- Two supervisors: the principal supervisor (who will be responsible for regular supervision) and the associate supervisor (who may take over regular supervision when the principal supervisor is absent for more than two months, and also read a full, final draft of the thesis before it is sent to examiners). In cases of co-supervision, both co-supervisors will form part of the panel
- A panel chair nominated by the RHD Coordinator: The Chair is intended to constitute an independent advisor, able to make suggestions to the student and supervisors about progress and expectations as to performance, based on relative comparisons with the RHD cohort generally. It is not expected that a Chair will have detailed substantive knowledge about a candidate’s field of research; nor is a Chair expected to ask detailed substantive questions about a candidate's topic, chapters, confirmation report etc.
- All panels will include representation of senior academic staff, including at least one panel member at Level D or E
As a minimum requirement, Advisory Committees must meet annually for both full-time and part-time PhD candidates as follows:
PhD panel meeting
Minimum written requirement
|Progress Report||N/A||12 months||5,000 words (max.)|
|Confirmation Report||9-12 months||18-24 months||8-10,000 words|
|Progress Report||N/A||36 months||As agreed by panel|
|24 months||48 months||20,000 words (non-inclusive of confirmation materials)|
|Progress Report||N/A||60 months||As agreed by the panel|
|Completion Report||36 months and each expected completion date||72 months and each expected completion date||If requiring extension: a 2,000-word report + 30,000 words of completed chapters|
Research based on travel can affect panel scheduling. Where possible, planning at the Confirmation stage should schedule trips to not clash with supervision panel meetings. If a panel meeting is to be delayed for more than one month due to travel, this decision should be clearly recorded by the panel chair on the candidate's file, and notified by the School Research Officer to the Graduate School.
Requirements for meetings
Panel members are required to have read the candidate's report prior to the meeting and discuss the candidate's work and issues flagged in the candidate's submission. The Panel is also required to discuss with the candidate the following:
- Human Research Ethics (if applicable)
- Any difficulties experienced by the candidate
- Timeline for completion
- Upcoming milestones or hurdle requirements
- Milestones set for the next period under review
- Publications, presentations, funding opportunities, tutoring and any relevant workshops or short courses that may assist the candidate
- Career objectives and developmental opportunities available to the candidate
Panel members who are not supervisors are not expected to read entire drafts or provide supervision outside of the Panel meeting
The supervision panel's comments and recommendations should be clearly documented, and the Chair should record what has been discussed and what milestones have been agreed upon. Copies of these notes should be placed on the candidate's student file, and a copy should be provided to the candidate.
Full-time PhD candidates
1. Meetings during the first year
It is expected that the principal and associate supervisors will hold one meeting with the candidate during the first 6 months of f/t candidature for the three parties to discuss the conception and planning of the project. At around 6 months of candidature, a full panel meeting is convened. The candidate submits a draft report (5,000 words) on their thesis topic, methodology and chapter-plan no less than two weeks before the scheduled meeting. The report is read by the panel and discussed with the candidate with a particular focus on any recommendations for work needed to be undertaken to succeed at confirmation. The chair files a brief report on the meeting and any recommendations made with the school Research Officer, to be attached to the candidate's file.
2. Confirmation meeting at the end of the first year
The candidate presents on their project at a research symposium or equivalent forum no less than 6 weeks before their confirmation meeting. The candidate submits 8-10 000 word confirmation report to their panel members no less than 2 weeks before their confirmation meeting; all three members of the supervision panel read the whole of the candidate's submission; the committee meets for up to 1 hour: up to 15 minutes verbal defense of the report by the candidate; up to 30 minutes discussion with the candidate; and up to 15 minutes for the committee to confer and communicate its decision to the candidate. Everyone fills in the confirmation report form. Subsequent to the meeting, the panel chair prepares a brief written report on the discussion and suggestions arising from it. This is sent to the candidate and placed on their student file.
3. Two year progress meeting
The candidate submits to their panel a 20,000-word draft of chapter-material no less than 2 weeks before their progress meeting. This material must be substantively different to work produced for confirmation. The panel meets with the candidate for up to 45 minutes to discuss the materials presented, the research progress and any identifiable obstacles to completion. The chair prepares a brief written report on the discussion, including any major recommendations made by the committee during the meeting.
4. Three year 'completion' meeting
The candidate presents a completion paper at a research symposium or equivalent forum prior to thesis submission, with the supervisors present and participating in the Q&A. The candidate prepares a 3,000-word report on their progress, problems, and any need for an extension and submits this along with 8,000-10,000 words of written material to their panel members no less than two weeks prior to their completion meeting. The report is discussed at the panel meeting and a record of this discussion prepared by the panel chair and placed on the candidate's student file.
The examinability of the thesis is determined outside the panel meetings by the principal and associate supervisors. In the event that either the principal or the associate supervisor believes that the thesis is not yet ready for examination and the candidate disagrees with them and wishes to proceed to examination against their advice, the thesis will also be read for examinability by the panel chair, and the whole committee's views will be reported to the Graduate School.
Part-time PhD candidates
1. Meetings during the first year
It is expected that the principal and associate supervisors will hold one meeting with the candidate during the first 12 months of f/t candidature for the three parties to discuss the conception and planning of the project. At around 12 months of candidature, a full panel meeting is convened. The candidate submits a draft report (5,000 words) on their thesis topic, methodology and chapter-plan no less than two weeks before the scheduled meeting. The report is read by the panel and discussed with the candidate with a particular focus on any recommendations for work needed to be undertaken to succeed at confirmation. The chair files a brief report on the meeting and any recommendations made with the school Research Officer, to be attached to the candidate's file.
2. Confirmation meeting at 18-24 months candidature
The same as for full-time candidates' confirmation meetings; see above, for details.
3. Three year progress meeting
The candidate submits a report on progress made since the Confirmation, which is discussed with the supervision panel, whose chair files a brief report on the meeting with the School Research officer, to be attached to the candidate's file.
4. Four year progress meeting
This is the equivalent of full-time candidates' 2 year progress meeting: see above, for details.
5. Five year progress meeting
The candidate submits to their panel members a brief progress report on work conducted since the four year progress meeting no less than two weeks before the scheduled meeting. The panel meets with the candidate to discuss their progress, any identifiable obstacles to completion and recommendations for the final stages of write-up. The chair prepares a brief report on the meeting and any recommendations made and sends this to the candidate and the School Research Officer, to be attached to the candidate's file.
6. Six year 'completion' meeting
The same as for full-time candidates' 3-year completion meeting: see above, for details.
Where extensions of candidature beyond three years but less than four years full time equivalent are required for completion, panel meetings will be convened at the discretion of the panel chair in consultation with the principal supervisor. Records of any meetings convened during this period will be recorded by the panel chair, communicated to the candidate and placed on their student file.
If a PhD candidate does not complete within 4 years of equivalent full-time study, that candidate will lapse and not receive further supervision from the school unless and until s/he has submitted a full draft of the thesis to the RHD coordinator and the latter has judged it capable of being brought to an examinable state within six months. In the latter case, the school will provide a maximum further six months supervision for the thesis. This will include at least one meeting of the supervision panel, including an additional senior staff member, to discuss the finalization of the thesis.