School of Engineering and Informatics (for staff and students)

Postgraduate Research Student Annual Review

Deadline: 20/07/2018.


Why do we have the Annual Review?

Your Annual Review is a valuable opportunity for you to receive independent feedback on your progress, and for you to comment on the supervision, services, and facilities available to you. Please note that you, the student, are responsible for ensuring your Annual Review and Interview are started and completed on time.

You will not be able to re-register for the new academic year until you have completed your Annual Review and Interview. If you delay, you might not be able to re-register on time in October. The university may impose a late registration fee of £50 on students who re-register late. It can take several weeks to complete the Review, so please do not postpone starting on it.

What's goes in to the Annual Review?

The Annual Review consists of a Student's Report (the content varies dependant on your year of study), three online questionnaires and an interview with your thesis committee. Once all the parts are complete you will submit all the documentation via Study Direct.

Diagram showing the various parts of the annual review process.

All research students are expected to complete an Annual Review once a year. There are very few exemptions to the process.

The Annual Review is for:

MPhil and PhD Students

Full-time and part-time Students

Students who started in January (this later start will be taken into consideration during the Review)

Students who are on continuation, extension, distance learners, or those writing up

Students who are provisionally registered

Students who believe they are going to submit their thesis soon or before September must still complete an Annual Review as their submission may be delayed. Remember, you must be registered in order to submit your thesis.

Students who have applied for a Research Exam but have not yet submitted their thesis must still complete an Annual Review as their submission may be delayed. Remember, you must be registered in order to submit your thesis.


May Starters. Your full Annual Review will be in December, in the meantime you will need to submit an Interim Apprisal:

You have intermitted (Temporarily Withdrawn) from University, or you are about to do so. When you return from Intermission you will be expected to undertake an Annual Review if your last Review was more than a year ago.

You have formally submitted your thesis.

The School Director of Doctoral Studies has specifically exempted you. If you wish to apply for special consideration, you or your supervisor should contact Professor Peter Cheng

The Annual Review can be broken down into five separate steps.  Follow the headings below for more details of each step.

Before your Interview you will need to prepare the following documentation:

1) You must complete a Student's Report of your research work to date. Visit the 'How to prepare the Student's Report' below for further information on how to complete the report.

2) Complete Part A: Student's Questionnaire Form online by following the link:

3) After you complete Part A online you will see instructions on how to save your form as a PDF.

4) Send your supervisor the PDF of Part A, your Student's Report, and your Audit / Training Needs Analysis document.

5) Also send your supervisor the following link for them to complete Part B: Supervisor's Questionnaire Form:

6) Once complete your supervisor should send you a PDF copy of Part B.

It is your responsibility as the Student to arrange an Interview with your Thesis Committee and supply all those present with the correct documentation.  Contact your main Supervisor and work with them to schedule an Interview with the correct attendees.

You will also need to:

1)  Email all members of your Annual Review Thesis Committee copies of Part A, Part B, your Student's Report, and your Audit / Training Needs Analysis document.

2) Inform your 'Lead Interviewer' that they will need to complete an online report after the meeting. Send them the following link in advance so that they know what is expected of them in advance:

3) Prepare a 10 minute verbal summary that includes a desciption of your research question, the progress you have made in your research, comment on your progress this year, and explain your plans for the next few months and years until you submit.  Expect the interview to last approximately 60 to 90 minutes. 

4) Agree a date, time and place for your interview making sure all the attendees are informed and have the correct documentation. You will need to arrange the venue yourself.

5) Ask your 'Lead Interviewer' to complete Part C: Interviewer's Report Form using the link above and request that they send you a PDF copy of the completed form.

Who is my Thesis Committee and who is the 'Lead Interviewer'?

Please note, this is different depending on if you are an Engineering & Design student or an Informatics student.


Your thesis committee is assigned by the Department, please check the Enginnering and Design Thesis Committee List. If you can't find your name on the list, or if you think the information is incorrect please contact Luke Scott. Your 'Lead Interviewer' will be shown on this list. Your main supervisor may attend as an observer.


Your Thesis Committee consists of two academics, one of whom will be your 2nd supervisor (and will act as the 'Lead Interviewer'). The second committee member will be nominated by your main and second supervisors.Your main supervisor may attend as an observer.

* Make sure you have PDFs for Part's A, B, and C. Your supervisor and interviewers should have sent you parts B and C.

* Upload all your documentation to the PGR Student Study Direct Site where you will find the Annual Review 'Assignment' upload page. You should now have your Student's Report (and poster if applicable), your Skills Audit / Training Needs Anaylsis (first year only), Part A, Part B, and Part C. Check the document checklist below if you're unsure.

* Before you upload your completed documents it's worth checking out steps four and five just in case you've missed something out.

You may realise that you need to change the way you study, e.g. changing from full to part time, or moving to your writing up phase.  If you do need to change your registration then you will need to complete additional documentation and add it to your Annual Review papers.  If your documentation is incomplete then it may delay your registration and the University may impose a late registration fee.

For further information see about Registration Changes.

Please note there are important changes to research degree regulations coming into effect this coming 2016/17 term. Please click here to read further.

Document Checklist: 

* Part A: Student's Questionnaire Form (Step 1)
* Part B: Supervisor's Questionnaire Form (Step 1)
* Student's Report + Supporting Documents (Step 1)
* Part C: Interviewer's Report Form (Step 2)
* First Year Student's only: Skills Audit / Training Needs Anaylsis (In your first few months of starting your degree course you should have had a skills audit / training needs analysis with your supervisor.)

* [Optional] Change of Registration Documents (Step 4 or see Registration Changes

To Submit your Annual Review please upload your documents to Study Direct:

PGR Study Direct Site:

These guidelines to help you prepare your Student's Report. If you are unsure of the requirements please discuss them with your supervisor.

The Student's Report is made of 3 parts...

Part 1.

Two page summary of activities to date, focussing in particular on the period since the last review.  Discuss to what extent you met your plan for the year.  To include: statement of research topic/question; research activities; publications and presentations (internal or external); courses and training (formal and informal), etc.  You must provide suficient detail of the tasks completed so the interviewers are able to make an assessment of your progress.  You will not be fully registered unless you provide sufficient evidence of your progress.

Part 2.

Student's plan: Two page summary of plans for (a) the coming year to include a month-by-month timetable, (b) remainder of the degree including a quarter-by-quarter timetable, e.g., include a Gantt chart or similar. The plan should briefly describe the activities with consideration of potential problems and risks of not completing the activities.  Discuss the plans with your supervisor.

Part 3. 

One of three different options depending on your year:

Year 1

10,000 word literature review and detailed research proposal.  (2nd year p/t could be a revision of the report from year 1 or next option - discuss this with your supervisor)

Year 2

Poster presentation.  Conference style. Present at Postgraduate poster session.  Thesis committee members are encouraged to attend poster session. Annual review will consider poster during the usual meeting.  The poster may be an actual conference poster not more than 6 months old, or a (draft) poster for an upcoming conference.

Later years...

Two sections are required:

1)  A published/submitted paper or complete thesis chapter.

2)  A two page outline of your thesis structure

You are also welcome to present a poster at the PG Poster Session; although not compulsory it would allow you to gather useful input for your research.

* Once handed in, your documents will require further processing so it is important not to leave anything to the last minute.

* The Director of Doctoral Studies will look at all the papers you have handed in and will make a decision on your re-registration. Providing the Director of Doctoral Studies approves your re-registration, and providing you have completed the review on time, you will be able to re-register online from early September.

* The Research Student Administration Office (part of the Academic Registry) will send you information confirming your re-registration status.

* Please note that the Director of Doctoral Studies may not sign off the re-registration of students whose progression information is incomplete. Not submitting complete documents will delay your re-registration.

If you are not sure what you need to hand in, then have a look at the checklist under the 'Submission and Document Checklist' heading above. Parts A, B, and C are now all online.

Answers to common queries and problems can be found under the Annual review FAQ heading.

If you have read through the web pages and the FAQ page and are still unsure of what to do or have any other concerns please contact Luke Scott

If you feel you require special consideration or have concerns about the Annual Review procedure itself please contact Professor Peter Cheng

Online Questionnaires

Part A - Student's Questionnaire [requires ITS login]
Part B - Supervisor's Questionnaire [requires ITS login]
Part C - Interviewer's Report [requires ITS login]


Uploading your finished review

To Submit your Annual Review please upload your documents to Study Direct:

PGR Study Direct Site:


Sample Annual Review Documents

Parts A, B, and C of the Annual Review are now filled in as online survey forms. Below are SAMPLES only and are provided for your information in preparing your review. DO NOT USE these versions, complete the online versions only.





Thesis Committee List (Engineering only)

Engineering and Design Thesis Committee List [requires student ITS login]


Change of Registration Documents

Find guidance on the most common forms of Registration Change on the Registration Changes page. All official forms are on the Research Student Administration Pages.

Official Policies and Guidance

For the most up to date University handbook for Doctoral Researchers visit:

The Research Student Administration Office offers information about the key stages of your research degree, as well as explaining the process of submitting your thesis and the examination process.


Frequently Asked Questions for the Postgraduate Research Annual Review

Please click on a heading below for answers to these frequently asked questions.

Parts A, B, and C are completed online although you can find PDF samples of the questions in the documents section above.

The Annual Review is a formal assessment of progress for all postgraduate research students, the outcome of which determines whether you are allowed to re-register as a student. If you reach an unsatisfactory review your registration may be discontinued.

Please see the timetable which sets out the timings for the Annual Review and Interim Appraisal.

Please read the section Does this apply to me? in the section above.

After the deadline date we will need to process your re-registration within the School. This is clearing the academic conditions, so if you are getting the response ‘academic conditions not met’, this is what’s happening. We then forward our recommendation to the Universities central Administration who also take some time to process each re-registration. In all, this can take a couple of weeks. If you are getting a message about financial reasons please contact Student Accounts centrally.

Pre-submission status (previously known as continuation) is a type of registration. It means that you have completed your research work and you are currently writing up your thesis. The fees are considerably lower but you will have limited access to University resources. You must discuss it with your Main Supervisor first. This does not automatically extend your end date and any change to this needs to be applied for separately (see Extension next).

Extension: When you start at the University an End Date is calculated for you based on your degree and mode of attendance (you can check the date on your Sussex Direct page). You have until this date to submit your thesis. In exceptional circumstances you may need to extend this period of time, you will need to formally apply for an extension.

Further information on pre-submission and extension, and how to apply.

You should be working with your supervisor to arrange your committee meeting. If you are unable to contact your supervisor after numerous attempts please contact Luke Scott.

Generally you should follow the process in the School of your Main Supervisor. You can check with your second supervisor’s School to see what their policy is. If you have a 50/50 split or are unsure, contact Luke Scott.

If possible, yes please.

Your ‘maximum date’ OR ‘end date’ is the latest date by which you can submit your Thesis. To find it: log on to your Study Pages on Sussex Direct. Under the Course tab you will find your start date and end date.

A PhD should take between 3 – 3 ½ years full-time, and 4 – 5 years part-time.

In the first few months of starting your degree course you should have completed a skills audit / training needs analysis with your supervisor. A copy of the audit should be uploaded as part of your Annual Review documentation (if you are a first year). Please contact Luke Scott if you have not completed a skills audit.

Whilst considering your training needs you might also want to refer to your training record. Your training record can be can found within the personal menu of Sussex Direct. This will list what centrally run courses you have attended at Sussex and may assist you when you come to write your CV and applications for employment.

Contact your second Supervisor to discuss the issues. If you have further concerns please contact the Director of Doctoral Studies, Peter Cheng.

School of Engineering and Informatics (for staff and students)

School Office:
School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Sussex, Chichester 1 Room 002, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QJ
T 01273 (67) 8195

School Office opening hours: Monday - Friday 09.00 - 17.00
School Office location [PDF 1.74MB]