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Degree Committee and Graduate Education

 

All supervisors are encouraged to provide regular feedback to their students.  Feedback is often provided on an informal basis (e.g. through discussion). However, formal reporting on postgraduate student progress is also required under University regulations and supervisors are expected to submit a termly supervision report on the progress of each of their postgraduate students. In addition, they are expected to submit a report at any time when in their opinion a student is not making satisfactory progress, and/or there is cause for concern (see: University Ordinances Chapter VI, Regulation 8).

Formal progress reports are accessible by the student and are therefore an opportunity to provide an overview of progress during the term (or since the last report). They are also a way of providing information to the student's Department, Degree Committee and College on the progress of each student.


Types of report

There are three types of postgraduate student report:

Student self-evaluation

The University invites postgraduate students to complete an online self-evaluation questionnaire each Michaelmas term.  The purpose of the questionnaire is to provide students with an opportunity for self-reflection, to report on their progress and to flag any particular concerns that they have.  Completion of a self-evaluation is voluntary.

If a student chooses to submit a self-evaluation, an email will be sent to both the Principal Supervisor (as registered in CamSiS) and to the student’s college notifying them that the report is ready to view. If the student indicates that they ‘need help’ an email will also be sent to the Faculty Postgraduate Office (who receive it on behalf of both the Department and Degree Committee) and the Student Registry.

Supervisors may add commentary to the self-evaluation instead of submitting a supervision report for the term (details below).  If commentary is not added to the self-evaluation, a supervision report must be submitted instead.

Termly supervision report

Supervisors are required to write a termly supervision report on each of their students. The purpose of the report is to provide constructive feedback to the student concerned, and to update the Department, Degree Committee and College on the student’s progress.  Termly supervision reports should be submitted within the prescribed reporting window (dates given below) and retrospective reports cannot be submitted. Principal supervisors will be notified by automated email when the window opens. Students are able to view reports in the system as and when they are submitted, and may provide their own comments in response.


Submitting or reviewing a report

Supervision reports are submitted via the Postgraduate Feedback and Reporting System (PFRS) which is a part of the Cambridge Student Information System (CamSIS).  The system is run by the University, who provide written guidance documents on how to use the online system.  These guides are available on open access via Moodle

Reporting windows

The University prescribes set reporting windows for all students and it is not possible to submit termly supervision reports outside these windows.  Details of dates for upcoming reporting windows are listed on the University website.  Supervisors will recieve automatic email reminders about upcoming deadlines.

Special attention required

If you have concerns about a student, please don’t just rely on the system to notify relevant parties.  Please also discuss your concerns with your Department’s Director of Postgraduate Education and/or Research Student Advisor / Postgraduate Welfare Officer(s) at the earliest opportunity.  Information on who they are, and other support resources available within the Faculty and across the University, can be found on the Support for Research Students page.


Further information for supervisors

New postgraduate supervisors

There is no automatic enrolment to the Postgraduate Feedback and Reporting System (PFRS) for new postgraduate supervisors and access must be requested via the Faculty Postgraduate Office. Access will normally be requested when you are first appointed as a postgraduate student supervisor (normally during the student admissions process). However, if you discover that you do not have access please contact the Postgraduate Office Administrator who is responsible for this process on behalf of the Degree Committee.

Changes to supervisory arrangements

The Degree Committee must approve changes to the formal supervisory arrangements for all postgraduate students, and all changes must be recorded in CamSIS. For this to happen the student must initiate the request in CamSiS by applying for a ‘Change of Supervisor’. This process must also be followed if a co-supervisor is to be added to the supervisory team.

Payment for postgraduate supervision

University Teaching Officers are expected to undertake postgraduate supervision as part of their normal duties.  For non-UTOs not already in receipt of payment for postgraduate supervision via other means, it is possible to claim payment from the Departments via the Degree Committee.  Payment is reliant upon submission of the relevant termly supervision reports in CamSiS.

If you are eligible to claim payment please complete and submit the following form to the Postgraduate Office Administrator.  Please only make one claim per year, before end of June (ie. before financial year end).


Further information and help

Please contact the Postgraduate Office Administrator if you have any queries about student self-evaluation, supervision reporting, or feedback on/difficulties with the online system.

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