Prospective PhD Students

PostGraduate Research

Information for Year 1 PhD Students

The most important thing for you to do during the first year is to make solid progress on your research with your supervisor.


To help you settle into the Department we hold an induction session for new PhD students at the start of the academic year and where necessary after that. An video Introduction the the PGR Development Programme helps introduce the training expected as part of your PhD. The Liverpool Doctoral College's induction web pages and their Postgraduate Researcher Week usually held twice a year in March and October provides many events for new and existing students. Here are the Departmental Induction Slides (2018-19).

The University and Departmental postgraduate research handbooks provide much useful information.

  • The University Postgraduate Research Handbook
  • The Departmental Postgraduate Research Handbook (October 2021)

    Supervisors and IPAP members

    You should have (at least) two supervisors. You supervisor should also propose two Independent Progress Assessment Panel (IPAP) members who will assess your progress over your PhD study. Here is a list of students, their supervisors and IPAP members.

    Liverpool Doctoral College

    Your PhD will be supported by Liverpool Doctoral College which provides a focus and oversees all doctoral training and development in the University.

    Training and Progress Monitoring Requirements

    The expected training and progress monitoring for the year includes completing your Annual Progression Requirements attending the Postgraduate Workshop and completing the following. Attendance at the Departmental seminar series and your research group seminars is expected/strongly encouraged. Seminar attendance helps develop transferable skills such as oral communication skills, presentation skills, persuading skills, analytical/logical thinking skills, critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, decision making skills, research skills.

  • Attend the Departmental and School Induction sessions (see the details above).
  • Attend the School Health and Safety Induction. Please sign up for one of the Health and Safety Team's two weekly induction sessions.
  • Sign up for (and attend) the workshop Taking ownership of your PhD. This is a one day workshop that will help you plan your own PhD, learn to make the most of the supervisory relationship and to recognise your own needs in professional development.
  • Attend the Doctoral Training School Seminars (organised by Darek Kowalski). This helps develop a range of transferable skills including communication and interpersonal skills, problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, team working skills, research skills, technological skills.

  • Compose a timetabled three year PhD project plan (not more than two pages in length) including the aims of the project. This should be accompanied by the following form which provides additional details of the supervision. Please send the plan electronically (or provide hard copies) directly to your supervisor, IPAP members and Alison before 15th January. The two IPAP members (or their substitutes) will fill out this feedback form. This should be returned to Alison who will collect them and forward them to the student. This helps develop transferable skills such as communication skills in particular writing skills, project management and planning skills.
  • Complete a Development Needs Analysis (DNA) in conjunction with your supervisors to help you and your supervisory team identify your training and development requirements. This will allow you to create your own programme of personal and professional development training alongside the core training. More details and the latest version of the form can be found on the Liverpool Doctoral College intranet site. Here are the development opportunities from the LDC This should be sent to Alison at the same time as the PhD plan (usually 15th January). Following that this should be updated each year and submitted with the End of Year Progress reports (see below). This helps develop transferable skills by analysing your current skill level and identifying development opportunities to improve weaker areas.

  • Carry out the Research Integrity: Engineering and Technology web module. This helps you understand the responsibilities you have as a researcher, the challenges this involves and strategies to deal with these. You may also want to look at Observatory for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT (ORBIT) website.

  • In April/May you should attend the Department of Computer Science Postgraduate Workshop. This helps develop transferable skills such as communication skills, in particular listening and presentation skills, interpersonal skills, and critical thinking skills.
  • By the end of May (for students who started in September/October), you must submit a first-year progress report of about ten pages including
  • the aims of the PhD project,
  • summary of any relevant background research,
  • a statement of any research results obtained so far,
  • and a research plan.
  • Any published or unpublished paper during the time period described by the report may be submitted along with the report. Please send your report directly to your two IPAP members with copies to your supervisor and Alison along with any attached papers. Sample year one progress reports from previous years for Latifa AlAbdulkarim and Argyrios Deligkas are available. Dates for students starting at other times can be found here. This helps develop transferable skills such as communication skills in particular writing skills, analytical/logical thinking skills, organisational, project management and planning skills. Along with the End of Year Report please update and re-submit your Development Needs Analysis. More details and the latest version of the form can be found on the Liverpool Doctoral College intranet site also some Development opportunities can also be found.
  • Following the submission of your report but before the end of June you will have a progress interview. Your supervisor will schedule the interview with with your IPAP (or their representative), to conduct the interview. Please let Alison know when this is scheduled. The panel will usually be your two IPAP members one of whom will chair the panel. Additionally your supervisor would normally come to the end of year progress interview. At the start of the progress interview, you will give a 20-25 minute presentation explaining the context of your research, what has been accomplished, and your research plan. At the progress interview, you will discuss your report, the research completed, your progress and future research plans. The completion of training and DNA may also be discussed during the interview. The members of the panel (i.e. usually the two IPAP members) will fill out this feedback form. This should be returned to Alison. (Alison will return pages 1-2 of this form to you, and the form will also be forwarded to the progress committee if progress is not satisfactory.) This helps develop transferable skills such as communication skills, in particular listening and presentation skills, interpersonal skills, the ability to learn and adapt and critical thinking skills.
  • In June, you will be asked to complete an Annual Progress Report (APR) via Spider/Tulip. This should be completed by all students regardless of start date. Your completed training, picked up by the system, is listed in a box on the report. Following this is a box entitled "any other training courses that are not mentioned above". If you have done all of the relevant things for your year but they are not listed in the box please give details. If you haven't completed the expected training, explain why and say when you will complete it otherwise your form will be returned to you. When you have completed this, it will be passed electronically to your supervisor, the DDPR, and the Research Student Administration. This helps develop transferable skills such as working to deadlines.
  • If the IPAP reports are positive we will recommend your PhD registration be continued. If your progress is deemed not to be satisfactory the Departmental Progress Committee will discuss and review your progress and may suggest some remedial measures or give you a chance to improve and repeating the End of Year Report and Interview. If this is still unsatisfactory your registration be changed to MPhil or terminated altogether.
  • Training Credits for Year 1.

    Successful completion of the training and progression tasks outlined above will result, where possible, in the following training credits being added to your profile on Liverpool Life. (You don't have to worry about how to add these credits - we add them for you.) This is an expected part of your PhD.
    • Departmental Training
      • Attend the Departmental Induction
      • Attend Postgraduate Workshop CSCR003
      • Attend Departmental Research Seminars
    • School Training
      • Attend the School Induction
      • Attend the School Health and Safety Induction
      • PhD Plan ECSR011
      • Doctoral Training School Seminars ECSR014
      • First-Year Report ECSR012
      • First-Year Viva and Presentation ECSR013
      • Research Integrity
    • University Training
      • Attend Taking Ownership of your PhD Workshop
      • Annual Progression Requirements PDRR001