Neglect of Academic Obligations by Research Students

Your supervisory team has an important role in monitoring your progress, checking that you are on course to complete your degree, and providing feedback through formal supervisory meetings and comments on your draft written and other work.

Normally any concerns your supervisory team might have will be relatively minor and can be addressed quite easily. Where there are more serious concerns, your Department may decide to initiate proceeding for neglect of academic obligations.

What Constitutes Neglect of Academic Obligations?

The initiation of proceedings for neglect of academic obligations is appropriate if the supervisory team or progress review panel has serious doubts about:

  • your progress


  • your ability to achieve the degree for which you are registered

"Academic obligations" may include maintaining progress in accordance with an agreed work plan, attendance at scheduled formal supervisory meetings and/or maintaining regular contact with your supervisory team, engaging and responding to the advice and guidance of the supervisory team, etc.

Initial Response of the Supervisory Team/Progress Review Panel

If your supervisory team and/or progress review panel consider that you are failing to meet your academic obligations, they will:

  • initiate a meeting with the you
  • explain your academic responsibilities and the reasons why your progress is considered to be unsatisfactory
  • ascertain whether there are any external factors affecting your progress

The initial measures taken following such a meeting should normally be supportive – for example:

  • a suspension of programme if there are personal or medical difficulties
  • reformulation of the research area/question(s)
  • transfer to a lower degree (where possible)

If you are required to improve your working practices, there should be a clear understanding as to what is expected and a specific date at which your performance will be re-assessed.

Further Measures

Should your progress then continue to be unsatisfactory or if you are unable to demonstrate the ability to perform at the required level, the Head of Department will either issue a formal warning or recommend that your registration should be terminated.

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