The progression exam

Under the spotlight

Under the spotlight

This week I ran a workshop for our research students entitled “The Progression exam”. This is a formal milestone in the research degree journey that pretty much every doctoral candidate at any university will have to overcome. Some call it a “transfer” exam, others a “progression viva” but whatever the nomenclature they all have an aim similar to the following: –

a formal test of progress in the early stages to ensure a suitable basis for continuation on the programme has been established

I have run this workshop numerous times in the past and there have been one or two changes in how progression at UWE is now monitored.

Whenever I run a workshop on this topic or the related “Writing up” or “The Final Viva” workshops I always try to do two things:-

1) Provide knowledge about the process

2) Reduce anxiety by reassuring doctoral candidates

Recently at UWE we established a Graduate School at UWE with a new (and hopefully improved) web presence that puts all the information about research degrees in one place. We have created sections that relate to the major milestones including the progression exam.

Disclaimer: One should read my post in conjunction with the latest rules governing PG Research study.

Those rules are set out in section K of the UWE Academic Regulations here.

The slides that I used in the workshop are below:

Recent changes

From October 2013, all new research degree candidates will be subject to a slightly amended progression exam process where the option of re-submission (a time limited referral step) is now available to the examiners. Full details about this are on the  Graduate School website. Other recent changes are summarised below.

  1. When a progression report has been submitted, a viva will automatically follow
  2. Two independent examiners are appointed for a progression exam, one of whom will be designated the Principal Reviewer
  3. The Principal Reviewer may be used in subsequent progress review stages including the final viva voce examination if this is appropriate

Any queries about how the progression exam is arranged, the paperwork etc can be found by contacting the team in the Graduate School Office

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