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Successfully completing a research degree at the University of Edinburgh involves planning and execution of an individual research project, under supervision, leading to production of a thesis within a certain period of time.  For a full-time PhD, three years is the "prescribed period", with up to one additional year to produce and polish the thesis.

Although the course of research study is largely driven by the curiosity, creativity and inclinations of each individual student, experience has shown that additional structure, with periodic milestones and progress checks, is required in order to achieve this goal.  Research does not always proceed as planned and adjustment of topic, scale of ambition, approach, tasks, and methods along the way is practically inevitable.

A series of milestones and reviews have been chosen to ensure that progress is steady and that problems are detected in time to take corrective action. The School also hosts recommended research related workshops and courses. Most of these are half-day or full-day courses run by the Institute for Academic Development specifically for Informatics students.  Some of these are very strongly recommended at specific stages, while others are merely recommended.  None of them are compulsory, on the grounds that the formal requirements for our research degrees do not include a coursework component. Nevertheless, the expectation is that the very strongly recommended courses will be attended by all research students, including those registered with the Neuroinformatics Doctoral Training Centre, CDT in Data Science, CDT in Pervasive Parallelism and the CDT in Robotics & Autonomous Systems.

First Year

Second Year

Third Year

Subsequent Years


Role of Independent Member of the PhD Review Panel

A description of the role of the Independent member of the PGR Review Panel can be found here: Independent Member Role.