Major reviews for postgraduate research students

Major Review assessment for MPhil, PhD and MD Postgraduate Research Students

The purpose of the Major Review is to confirm the postgraduate research (PGR) student’s capability to satisfactorily complete a PhD or MD thesis. If the PGR student is registered for a PhD or MD they will need to complete a Major Review to confirm their registration for the award. PGR students registered and submitting for the award of MPhil, on advice from their First Supervisor, may submit for Major Review if they wish to apply to upgrade to a PhD registration.

You and your First Supervisor will be sent a reminder approximately three months before the deadline date for submission of the Major Review documentation from the DSAA Student Administration Services Research Degrees team using the generic email majorreview@port.ac.uk.

Deadline for Submission of the Major Review Documentation

A full-time PGR student will need to submit the required documentation within 12 months of study or submit within 24 months if they are a part-time PGR students.

  • PGRS registered in October must submit documentation by 30 September
  • PGRS registered in February must submit documentation by 31 January
  • PGRS registered in April must submit documentation by 31 March 

If exceptionally a non-standard start date has been approved or if the PGRS has had an approved period of interruption, an alternative deadline for submission of the Major Review may be applicable. This date will be confirmed by the Research Degrees team.

You and your supervisors are advised to read the relevant research regulations for the research programme as these will provide information about the structure and content of the review.

The review panel consists of one assessor nominated by the First Supervisor, one assessor nominated by the Faculty Research Degrees Committee and also the First Supervisor.

PGR students will need to submit the Major Review documents by email to majorreview@port.ac.uk and will receive confirmation by email to acknowledge receipt.

The First Supervisor will complete a Major Review First Supervisor’s Statement Form (UPR10) and email it to majorreview@port.ac.uk. Submission of the PGR student's document and the Major Review First Supervisor’s Statement Form (UPR10) will be logged and then sent by email to the approved assessors.

It is the responsibility of the First Supervisor to arrange the Major Review meeting, which will only take place once the necessary documentation has been sent to the review panel by DSAA Student Administration Services.

PGR students are expected to attend the Major Review meeting with the assessors and should be prepared to answer and ask any questions.

Outcomes of the Major Review

The outcome of the Major Review will be one of the following:

  • the PGR student has the capability to complete satisfactorily a PhD (or MD) thesis (including upgrade from MPhil to PhD);
  • the application is insufficient to determine this capability. 

You will be notified of the outcome of the Major Review at the end of the meeting and this will be formally confirmed in writing by the DSAA Student Administration Services.

If the panel makes the decision that the application is insufficient, you will be informed of the further work you will need to submit before the final review meeting. You will have two months to complete any further work, and once this has been submitted by email to majorreview@port.ac.uk a Final Review Meeting will be arranged by your First Supervisor. Full details of the Final Review Meeting can be found in the Research Degrees Operational Handbook.

Suggested Structure of the Major Review Document

For full details of how to structure your Major Review Document, please refer to the Research Degrees Operational Handbook, where you will also find a suggested template.

Research Degrees Operational Handbook

Major Review Guidance for Completion Style Thesis

If you will be producing a compilation style thesis, which you will need to have agreed with your supervisory team, please ensure you have read the Compilation Style Thesis Guidance and the Guidance for Major and Annual Review - Compilation Style Thesis, both of which can be found on Moodle.