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Postgraduate research programmes

Research student journey

This timeline has been designed to give you an overview of the journey of a research student within the School.

The timings in the first column are based on the registration of a full time student and equivalent time periods for part time students are provided where possible.

As a research student in the Faculty it is important that you acquaint yourself with the College Regulations and everything outlined in the timeline below should be considered in the context of the Code.

You should also consult the Centre for Doctoral Studies web pages and the Research Programmes section of the Faculty Student Handbook as both contain additional information on aspects of studying for a MPhil or PhD in the School. 

At any stage of your studies, you may find that your circumstances have changed and that you need to transfer your status from part time to full time (or vice versa) or to request an interruption of studies. The College's Student Services has full details on how to approach change of registration statuses and the forms that you will need to complete to do so.

The Research Student Journey

Time Period Activity                                                       Additional Information                          
On arrival

Induction to the Faculty and the King's Research Culture including:

  • Student representation;
  • Researchers Society;
  • Research seminars;
  • Networking;
  • Becoming part of the Department, School & College;
  • Workspace and available resources.

Key documents

In relation to the postgraduate research student experience, regulations and expectations are available to view on the College's intranet pages.

The Centre for Doctoral Studies holds an induction event for new students in September.

The Faculty holds an induction event for new students in October. 

Within first few weeks  

The initial meeting between student and supervisor will take place and a Student-Supervisor Agreement will be drafted.

All students and supervisors are required to sign a Student-Supervisor Agreement at the outset of the research project confirming the initial frequency of meetings and outlining how any issues in the student-supervisor relationship can be resolved.

The Centre for Doctoral Studies offers guidance on the student/supervisor relationship

Any funding opportunities for tuition fees and living costs are identified by the student and note is made of deadlines and application requirements.

You should not start your programme of study without sufficient funds to pay your fees and living expenses, however circumstances can change.

If they do, there are resources available to support you. Information can be found in the Alternative Guide for PG Funding.

Students will identify their training needs in conjunction their supervisor.

The Centre for Doctoral Studies produces a book each year called the 'Researcher Development Programme' that provides information on a range of courses designed to support you in your career development.

The Centre also provides a training programme for research students.

Students will ensure they are aware of the support available for research work.

The Centre for Doctoral Studies provides information on the resources available to you to support your research.

3 months

Students are required to complete their first Individual Progress Report (IPR).

Progress reports provide a formal process by which the you are able to update your supervisor on where you are with your PhD research.

The reports are not designed to replace regular contact between you and your supervisor but rather to provide a written record of your progress against the goals and targets mutually agreed on by you and your supervisor.

During the first year of study it is College policy that both full and part time students will have their progress formally reviewed within 3 months of initial registration and again after a period of 9 months registration. 

Thereafter, the progress of all students is reviewed every 6 months.

NB: Some departments within the Faculty require students to complete their IPRs in January and June regardless of start date so you may be asked to undertake the exercise outside of the 3 and 6 month alloted timescales.

Gaining ethical approval

It is a mandatory requirement of the College that all research involving human participants undertaken by students must be ethically approved by an appropriate body.

Ethical approval applications should be made as early as possible to allow time to obtain ethical approval.

Research must not commence in any form until full ethical approval has been granted, so you are encouraged to consider this fact early on in the process of preparing.

It is important to stress that failure to gain ethical approval for research at the appropriate time may later prevent work being submitted for a PhD or being examined.

Further information and guidance on application procedures is available in the Faculty Student Handbook.

9 -18 months

Upgrade from MPhil to PhD registration

Full time students are expected to transfer from MPhil to PhD status after 9 months once they have commenced their studies. The final deadline for upgrading is 18 months.

Part time students are expected to upgrade after 18 months of commencing study. The final deadline for upgrading registration is at 36 months.

9-12 months

Teaching opportunities

For doctoral students who wish to pursue an academic career, many departments will offer the option of undertaking some teaching.

Teaching opportunities will also be available through the King's Summer School, King's Awards and via external collaborators such as the 'Brilliant Club' and 'Realising Opportunities' schemes.

If you are interested in teaching you can obtain advice and support from the King's Learning Institute, along with the opportunity to train for a qualification.


12 months

Apply for a small grant for research activity 

The Faculty offers grants for research activity known as  Small Grants for Research Students.

You can apply for funds at any stage of your studies when the competition is open (usually December, March and June) however most applications tend to come from research students in their second and third year of their studies.

Guidance and application instructions can be found in the Faculty Student Handbook.

15-25 months

Third Individual Progress Report

For part time students this is likely to take place between 24-43 months.

22-32 months

Fourth Individual Progress Report

For part time students this is likely to take place between 31-51 months.

28 months

Starting to think about the move to writing up status

If it happens, transferring to writing up status will normally take place after a period of approximately three years' full time registration (or part time equivalent), although exceptionally it can take place sooner if you have completed your data collection and research and will be ready to submit in one year.

Should the transfer to writing up status occur later than the three years' full time registration point (or part time equivalent) you will not be entitled to the full year usually permitted for writing up. In this instance, the required submission deadline will come before the end of the writing-up year and must always take precedence. 

Guidance and the Writing Up Notification Form is available on the Registry Services web pages.

29-39 months

Fifth Individual Progress Report

For part time students this is likely to take place between 38-58 months.

30 months

Preparations for the submission process begin

In order to enter for the examination of a research degree, you are required to submit an examination entry form at least four months before the end of your three years (or equivalent for part time students).

Once you submit you will not be charged any further fees even if your registration period crosses over into a new academic year.

Students whose thesis examiners require them to resubmit within either 12 or 18 months will be transferred to writing up status in order that their progress towards resubmission can be monitored.

Please note that you must have submitted the relevant paperwork in advance of completion of the 36 months as additional time for writing up will not be allowed if the submission process is not followed properly. 

The College's Examinations Office has produced some frequently asked questions on the submission process.

36 months

 Viva examination

When both examiners have been appointed, your thesis will be dispatched to them. Your supervisor will be asked to arrange the viva examinations, which should usually take place within 6 months of the thesis submission.

The viva examination should not be arranged prior to the dispatch of the thesis to the examiners.

The outcomes of the viva examinations can be viewed on the Examinations & Awards Office web pages.

The PhD Examination Decision form provides a list of assessment criteria used by examiners during the VIVA.

After 36 months


The dates and times of graduation ceremonies can be found on the Graduation Ceremonies web pages.

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