Computer Laboratory

PhD students' Second Year Report: Dissertation Schedule

All research students must submit a Dissertation Schedule at the end of their second year. This should be a single document, usually between 2000 and 4000 words.

This document is intended to be a useful check for the student to allow them to see where they are relative to their original plan and to produce a coherent schedule leading to a dissertation by the end of the third year. It is also intended to allow both the supervisor and the Computer Laboratory to check, formally, the student's progress. Throughout the second year report, the student should make appropriate cross-references to the first-year PhD Proposal.

The document should contain four parts:

  1. A report on progress made in relation to that described in the first-year PhD Proposal. This should include a indication of where the student is relative to their original timetable, discussion of any significant changes to the original ideas and their implications for the research as a whole.
  2. An outline of the dissertation. This can be most usefully done by providing a chapter-by-chapter outline. Each of the proposed chapters will have a title. The main chapters (those describing the actual research) will have a one or two paragraph summary of their content. For every chapter there will be a summary of what work has been completed and what work remains to be done during the third year (for example, "chapter written", "chapter drafted", "research complete but not written", "research in progress", "research not started").
  3. A timetable that schedules the remaining work and indicates when the draft and final versions of the dissertation will be produced.
  4. A list of any papers published (with URLs so that the assessors can read the papers), a list of any papers in press, submitted, or in preparation, and a list of any presentations given, whether or not the presentation is associated with a paper.

As with the first-year PhD Proposal, the student should submit three copies of the document to the Secretary of the Degree Committee by July 31 (or corresponding dates: Lent start - Oct. 30 or Easter start - Jan. 31) for assessment and discussion by two readers who will usually be independent of the supervisor except where a suitably qualified assessor cannot be found. The two readers will normally be the same as those for the first-year examination, and will be given a copy of the first-year report to cross-check against the second-year report.

The two readers will submit their joint report to the supervisor who will then copy the text into the relevant Cambridge Graduate Supervision Reporting System report; supervisors are invited to comment. The report will be submitted to the Degree Committee.

Supervisors and assessors should pay particular attention to the plan for the remaining research and timely completion of the dissertation, and may request a revised Schedule. The assessment should be completed by September 30 (or equivalent) and the Secretary of the Degree Committee notified of the outcome.

Where progress has been poor and it appears the chance of successful completion is low, the student should be given written notice of the danger, with copy to the Secretary, and warned that the lack of progress may lead to termination of funding.

Reports may be soft-bound in comb-binding or stapled.

Secretary of the Degree Committee
September 2013