First formal progress review

Progress reviews are different to supervision meetings and enable you to take stock of where you are in your research plan, your progress so far and what remains to be completed. 

For PhDs, the FFPR provides a good opportunity to consider the status of your research project ahead of the transfer assessment. After passing transfer you will have a progress review each year until you submit your thesis.

For Masters by Research, the FFPR is a chance to reflect on your progress towards thesis submission.  

The FFPR should be submitted by six months after your start date (full time) or by nine months (part time). The exact timing and procedures for the first formal progress review vary between individual faculties and schools; your Graduate School will provide you with more detailed guidance, usually by email.

You will submit your report through GRAD; there is a guide to the process under the GRAD guides section which shows you the different stages and how it will look on screen.

In your report, you should look back on the previous months of research and reflect on your progress. Focus on your training plan to identify skills that you would like to develop. Have you completed the training that you planned to do? How are you getting on with your literature search? Do you have any results yet? This can all be recorded in your FFPR. It is important that you include any issues which you feel have affected your progress. How did they affect your progress and how will you get back on track? What support do you need?

What to expect

You can access training and more information on the FFPR process via the ‘Your academic experience’ and ‘Your professional development’ pages of the Doctoral College Induction programme. It also includes important guidance about academic integrity and avoiding plagiarism, ethical review, data management and copyright. It is important that you have reviewed this material as you will be required to complete a statement of academic integrity when you submit your transfer report and your thesis for examination, and your engagement with the ethical review and data management processes are assessed as part of the FFPR, transfer process and Annual progress reviews. You can find more information about academic integrity, data management and research ethics on the Research Practice page of the For Students website.

You will be expected to have a data management plan in place by no later than the transfer stage. The Researcher@Library team can help support and you can find help and guidance on the Library Research Support pages including a number of courses to help you with research data management, referencing, writing and more.  Email the Library Research Data Management team if you need help and advice. The Library can also provide a Data Management Plan (DMP) template. 

Once you submit your FFPR through GRAD your supervisor will assess your overall progress, including progress against your training plan. They will also comment on your standard of English language, both your written and communication skills. Your supervisor will arrange a meeting with you to discuss your FFPR. This is intended to be a supportive meeting to help you with forward planning towards transfer. It is also an opportunity for you both to raise any issues with your progress and to work together to identify solutions.

For some faculties and schools, you may need to submit a piece of written work as part of this process as well. Make sure you follow the advice from your Graduate School about FFPR submission criteria.

For PGRs who started from Sept 2023 onwards, you are expected to review your PGR-Supervisor agreement with your supervisors as part of the FFPR process.  If you make any changes, please upload an updated copy of the agreement to GRAD. 


The FFPR is a formative exercise and not a formal assessment which must be ‘passed’. However, if there are significant concerns about your progress, your supervisor may start the Progress support procedure.