Research students: CPGS First Year Report and Thesis Proposal
All candidates for the Ph.D. Degree are admitted on a probationary basis. A student's status with the Board of Graduate Studies will be for the CPGS in Computer Science. At the end of the first academic year, a formal assessment of progress will be made and, in the Computer Laboratory, this takes the form of single document of no more than 10,000 words in length, exclusive of tables, bibliography and appendices.
The document will be made up of two sections: a First Year Report and a Thesis Proposal.
The Report section should cover the work done during the first year and should show that the student has made good use of their time to become familiar with background literature, identify a potential problem or topic to address, and do initial work on this by, for example, detailed analysis of an existing system, assembly of an investigative apparatus, conduct of a pilot experiment, etc.
The Proposal section should present the intended thesis topic in more detail, and show there is a viable route to a dissertation in two years' time. Thus it should say what the problem being addressed is, why it is important, what the proposed method of attacking it is, why this is new and interesting, and what are the major steps to completion through the next two years.
Both sections of the document should give sufficient information for the student's assessors to satisfy themselves that all is well.
- For students admitted in Michaelmas Term, three copies, soft-bound, by June 30
- For students admitted in Lent Term, three copies, soft-bound, by September 30
- For students admitted in Easter Term, three copies, soft-bound, by January 10
All submissions should be made to the Secretary of the Degree Committee in Room FS03 of the William Gates Building.
Students intending to take up internships during the vacations which begin on, before or shortly after the submission deadlines must submit their report/dissertation one month before departure to enable the examination process to be completed before the internship begins. No other extensions will be permitted unless otherwise authorized by the Secretary of the Degree Committee.
The student will be invited to discuss the documents with two assessors appointed by the student's principal supervisor. Neither of the assessors should be the student's principal supervisor though one may be the student's second advisor. Occasionally, the principal supervisor may be invited to clarify elements of the First Year Report and Thesis Proposal and to attend the viva as an observer.
Where the initial Report and/or Proposal is unsatisfactory, the supervisor must ask for a revised submission and arrange a further discussion. Where the Proposal is acceptable, it may still help the student to record suggested modifications in a final version of the Proposal. A copy of the revised document must be submitted to the Secretary of the Degree Committee.
The Report and Proposal documents are internal to the Laboratory. However, since they are the base for formal progress reports including registration for the Ph.D Degree and those made to funding bodies, assessors should endeavour to arrange a meeting where the documents should be assessed and discussed by the end of the student's first year at the latest. The Secretary of the Degree Committee should be informed of the result by the Assessors via a CPGS report and by the supervisor on the Cambridge Graduate Supervision Reporting System as soon as possible thereafter.
The report will be considered by the Degree Committee which will make its recommendations on the registration of the student to the Board of Graduate Studies.
In those cases where the student's progress is wholly inadequate, the supervisor should give them a written warning, by 15 September (or the appropriate corresponding date - 15 December or 15 March), that they are in danger of termination, with copy to the Secretary of the Degree Committee.
Writing within the word limit is important. It is part of the discipline of producing reports. When submitting reports/dissertation, students will be required to sign a Statement of Word Length to confirm that your work does not exceed the limit of length prescribed in Regulation 3 (above) for the CPGS examination.
Attention is drawn to the University's guidance concerning plagiarism. The University states that "Plagiarism is defined as submitting as one's own work that which derives in part or in its entirety from the work of others without due acknowledgement. It is both poor scholarship and a breach of academic integrity." The Faculty's guidance concerning plagiarism and good academic practice can be found at http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/teaching/exams/plagiarism.html.
Secretary of the Degree Committee