School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences


There are four ways a review should help your progess towards a PhD:
  • provide assessment of your progress, independent of your supervisors, taking into account the stage of your PhD;
  • help you to reflect on your work and receive constructive and independent feedback;
  • explore your career options and any additional training you would like;
  • give you the opportunity to comment on your supervision, your working arrangements, well-being, professional services, training, and facilities. 

Programme of reviews

In the course of your study for a PhD, you will take:

  • Starter Review: a few months after the start of your PhD
  • Three Progression Reviews: one for each year of your study
  • Thesis Readiness Review: before you finalise and submit your thesis

If you need extra support, the Director of Doctoral Studies may ask you to take an Interim Review in between the reviews above.

Format of review

The general format of each review is: 

  1. Contact the faculty who will be at your review and schedule an interview with them. Do this early!
  2. Prepare documents and ensure the appropriate faculty see the documents in good time before the planned interview.
  3. Attend the interview.
  4. Faculty complete a report on their findings.
  5. You 'submit' all the documents electronically (in your Box folder), by the deadline date and inform the School office.
  6. The Director of Doctoral Studies reads the review documents, and will contact you if there are any issues for you and your supervisor to discuss.

If you are working off campus you should not postpone a review; you should conduct it remotely.

Your independent reviewers

Reviews are carried out by independent faculty reviewers.  They will be familiar with your area of research and are likely to be members of your research group. You will probably keep the same main reviewer throughout your time at Sussex, for continuity.

Your first review (Starter Review) is carried out by your supervisors.  Your reviewers can attend if you wish. 

Both reviewers attend your Year 1 progression review.  In later reviews, only your main reviewer need be present.

The School Office will provide the names of your reviewers on your review timetable.

Timetable of reviews

The School Office will provide your timetable of review dates.  This is kept within a Box folder in your name.  Add the dates to your calendar/diary as soon as possible!

Your review dates may differ from other researchers.  Dates depend on when you started at Sussex and whether you took any intermissions (temporary withdrawal).  This ensures all researchers have the same number of working months between their reviews.

Starter Review.  This is deadlined for 3 working months after your Start date at Sussex.

Progression Reviews 1, 2 and 3.  These have deadlines that are 9, 21 and 33 working months after your start date.

Thesis Readiness Review.  This review has a deadline that is 2 working months before your funding end date, or 3 working months before your maximum date, whichever is earlier.

Part-time students: as you have a registration time of 6 years (as against 4 years for a full-time student), all the above periods are multiplied by 1.5.

Taking responsibility for your reviews

You should be aware that the School sees it as your responsiblity, as a doctoral researcher, to initiate, progress, and finalise your reviews according to your timetable. 

If you foresee difficulty keeping to the timetable, you should alert your supervisor and the Director of Doctoral studies, explaining your circumstances.

If you need to intermit (temporary withdrawal) from your studies, you should apply for the intermission as soon as practical.  Your reviews will then be post-dated. The School office will place a revised Timetable in your Box folder.

Re-registration for your PhD is required by the Registry each September. The Director of Doctoral Studies will not agree to your re-registration if you have not completed your latest Progression Review by September. This could affect your bursary payments if you hold a studentship from Sussex.

Further help and information

If you are concerned about any aspect of the Progression Review programme, check with your supervisor first. 


Questions about the academic content and purpose of the Progression Review, contact the Director of Doctoral Studies for MPS, Dr Miro Chlebik.

Questions about the administration of the Review, contact the Research Support Team in the School Office on

Questions about the Review process: consult the MPS Policy on Progression Reviews which has been agreed by the School Research Degrees Committee.