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Confirmation of enrolment for PhD and EngD students

Research students embarking on a PhD or EngD programme prior to 1 September 2016 are initially enrolled provisionally for that qualification. It is up to your Thesis Advisory Panel (TAP) to recommend whether or not your enrolment should be confirmed. The final decision on your enrolment lies with the Standing Committee on Assessment (SCA).

Students who embarked on their studies from 1 September 2016 onwards undergo formal progression (please see Policy on Research Degrees, Appendix 4 'Policy on PhD/EngD and MPhil Student Progression'). Please see your departmental handbook for details of your department's process and requirements.


  • Full-time PhD students should be considered for confirmation of enrolment within eighteen months, with a final decision on recommendation being made within two years.
  • Part-time PhD students should be considered for confirmation of enrolment within three years, with a final decision on recommendation being made within four years.
  • Full-time EngD students should be considered for confirmation of enrolment within two and a half years, with a final decision on recommendation being made within three years.

Confirmation of enrolment examination

Confirmation of enrolment is determined by a two-part examination, comprising a written submission and an oral examination. This is administered by a Confirmation Panel, made up of members of your TAP including your supervisor. The Confirmation Panel may also include other members of academic staff and/or the Chair of your departmental Graduate School Board.

Your written submission should be provided to the Confirmation Panel at least 10 days before your oral exam. It should include:

  • evidence that work on your project is underway;
  • evidence that appropriate research training has been undertaken;
  • a substantial piece of written work which will contribute to your final thesis;
  • a realistic plan for completion and submission of your final thesis.

Combined with your oral examination, this should demonstrate your ability to:

  • identify and articulate a hypothesis or research questions which have the potential to lead to an original contribution to knowledge;
  • identify, categorise, and critically engage with an appropriate amount of material already published in the area of your research;
  • articulate your methods and explain your research approach;
  • demonstrate your potential for writing a successful thesis.

If you pass

If the Confirmation Panel is satisfied that you have met the above criteria, then you will be recommended for confirmation of enrolment, pending a decision from the SCA. Once the confirmation has been approved, you will receive a confirmation of enrolment email.

If you fail

If you do not meet the above criteria you will be provided with clear and detailed written feedback on areas for improvement. You should then revise your written submission for re-examination. You may also be required to take a second oral examination.

If your Confirmation Panel is satisfied that you have addressed the problems with your first submission you will be recommended for confirmation.

If you fail your second attempt

If you are unsuccessful at the second examination you will be deemed to have failed confirmation of enrolment. 

You may appeal this decision on grounds of procedural irregularity as outlined in University Regulation 2.8. You may not appeal against the academic judgement of your Confirmation Panel.

Your Graduate School Board may recommend to the SCA that you submit a thesis for a lower award. If the SCA approves this recommendation, and you agree, you will be transferred to an alternative programme.

If you are not recommended for a lower award then your registration at the University will be terminated.