Agreeing the Research Area/Question(s)

Agreeing the research area/questions to be addressed by the thesis and developing a viable plan for completing the research and submitting the thesis are important early milestones in a research degree programme.
Supervisor Responsibilities

Supervisors should ensure that research students are aware of the importance of agreeing early on the research area/question(s) and a research plan for completing the thesis.

Where there is not a pre-defined research project, supervisors should emphasise to research students that:

  • they should normally have agreed their research area/question(s) with the supervisory team within

- six months of initial registration (MD, PsyD, or full-time PhD or MPhil)


- twelve months of initial registration (part-time PhD or MPhil)

  • they must have agreed their research area/question(s) and research plan with the supervisory team by the time that they undertake the probation review

There are no specific requirements for the format of the work plan but this should include sufficient detail to show that the research student has a feasible plan for completing their degree within the relevant maximum registration period.

Delays or Problems

If there is a likelihood that the research student will not have agreed their research area/question(s) and research plan by the time that they undertake the probation review, the supervisory team should as soon as possible consult the advice on neglect of academic obligations.

Where there are personal problems affecting the research student's progress, they should normally be advised to suspend their programme.

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