Guidance and Forms for Postgraduate Researchers and Staff

The guidance and forms below describe the processes surrounding each milestone in a Keele postgraduate researcher's degree. There are also sections which cover procedures for changing registration status as well as withdrawing or transferring from the institution.

PGR Milestones

Below are milestones documents for MPhil, PhD routes (full-time and part-time) and Professional Doctorates. Each document serves as a point of reference for postgraduate researchers progressing through the various stages of their degrees, which includes moving past the other milestones charted on the PGR Guidance and Forms web page.



MPhil Milestones (PDF, 172KB)
PhD Milestones (PDF, 240KB)

Professional Doctorate Milestones - HUMSS (PDF, 175KB)

Professional Doctorate Milestones - FMHS (PDF, 179KB)


The research degree supervisor relationship is fundamental in all research degree arrangements. The University recognises that the task of supervising a postgraduate researcher(s) is both rewarding and demanding. 'Introduction to Postgraduate Research Supervision' is a detailed but accessible source of guidance on the processes which surround the task of supervising a student, from their initial registration to completion of their degree. 

The roles and responsibilities of both postgraduate researchers and supervisors are set out in the Code of Practice on Postgraduate Research Degrees (Section 7).

The following forms relate to PGR supervision at Keele:

Supervisor Appointment Form (Word, 66KB)
Change in Supervision Form (Word, 69KB)

Reporting Concerns with PGR Experience (Student and Supervisor)

During the period of registration, the postgraduate researcher and/or their supervisor might develop concerns about the PGR experience. This is an area which could encompass a broad range of issues, including (but not limited to):

  • Difficulties the postgraduate researcher has encountered with the research environment and/or facilities in their School/Faculty;
  • Personal difficulties the postgraduate researcher has experienced with fellow postgraduate researchers and/or other members of academic staff in the School/Faculty;
  • Difficulties the postgraduate researcher and supervisor (or another member of the supervisory team) have experienced with the supervisory relationship. 

The two forms include guidance on submitting such concerns, and allow postgraduate researchers and supervisors to raise concerns for the Faculty PGR Director to consider and arrange a way forward.

PGR Concern Review Form (Student) (Word, 71KB)
PGR Concern Review Form (Supervisor) (Word, 70KB)

Progress Reviews

The regular review of a postgraduate researcher's progress is an essential mechanism for maximising the likelihood of them completing the programme within their registration period, and ensuring that they receive appropriate support to make improvements in cases where progress is unsatisfactory. There are two regular progress review processes which postgraduate researchers must undergo: Progress Reviews (PR) 1,2 and 3 and Interim Progress Reviews (IPR). 


For (i) postgraduate researchers on MPhil, PhD, DM, and Professional Doctorate programmes and (ii) supervisors and supervisory teams:

Progress Review Handbook (PDF, 400KB)

Progress Review (PR)

Progress Review 1 Report Form (Word, 77KB)

Progress Review 2 Report Form (Word, 71KB)

Progress Review 3 Report Form (Word, 72KB) - includes continuation status request and fee waiver option‌

Interim Progress Review (IPR) - Now available on Skillsforge

Amendments to PGR Student Status

Please uses the forms below. Detailed guidance in progress, and will be included in the PGR Handbook.

Status Change



Change of Status               


  • Voluntary transfer from PhD to MPhil
  • Transfer from FT to PT
  • Transfer to Continuation status 
Change of Status Application Form (Word, 287KB)

Academic (time) Extension                        

  • Can also be used for Covid-19 related extensions.
Extension Request Form (Word, 67KB)

Leave of Absence

  Leave of Absence Form (Word, 280KB)

The University's Covid-19 funding extension support scheme has now closed.

Postgraduate researchers who began their studies before January 2021 can still request a continuation fee waiver or reimbursement, as follows:

Continuation fee waivers:

You can apply during Progress Review 3 or by a change of status request, whichever is most appropriate given where you are in your programme. The forms are above in the 'amendments to mode of attendance' section. 

Continuation fee reimbursements:

You can apply for reimbursement by contacting, stating the reason for the reimbursement i.e financial concerns or covid-19 delays. 

Additional funding support:

Postgraduate researchers can apply for the KPA Bursary which has recently expanded its remit for funding and University Hardship funds. The Income office also remain happy to discuss flexible payment plans and further information is available via the PGR FAQ webpage.

All postgraduate researchers at Keele must maintain a Personal Development and Learning Plan (PDLP). The PDLP serves as a record of academic details such as the supervisory team, progress through the milestones of the degree (including formal progress reviews), and registration changes. It also includes a section on learning needs and skills development objectives, where postgraduate researchers log ongoing research training and skills acquisition as well as training and development completed prior to the degree. 

ePDLP Student Handbook (PDF, 504KB)

ePDLP Supervisor Guide (PDF, 416KB)

Postgraduate Research Placements and Visiting PG Researchers

Please use the forms below. Guidance for research placements and visiting postgraduate researchers will be included in the PGR Handbook.

Area Guidance Form

Research Placement

  Research Student Placement Form (Word, 60KB)

Visiting Student

  Visiting Student Application Form (Word,63KB)

Postgraduate Research Partnerships

1. Collaborative Provision

(i) Split-Site PhD

A split-site PhD is a research degree which leads to a Keele award and involves postgraduate researchers being registered for a research degree at Keele whilst spending a significant period of their research away from the University, at another approved institution, which can, but does not have to be, overseas.
The University has devised a process for considering proposals for split-site PhDs between Keele and other organisations. For full information on this process, please see the relevant sections of the Collaborative Provision Code of Practice.

Submission of a Postgraduate Research Thesis for Examination

Information on how and where to submit alongside guidance on layout and presentation can be found in the Exams Handbook. The forms you will need to submit are accessible below, including an optional Covid-19 Impact Statement Form.

Academic Honesty Declaration Form (Word, 65KB)
Thesis Submission Form (Word, 66KB)
 Covid impact statement form (word, 298KB)

Nomination of the Examination Panel

After submitting their thesis, each postgraduate researcher at Keele must have a viva voce (Latin: 'by the living voice') examination, which is an oral defence of their thesis and the research which underpins it.

In most circumstances, the oral examination will involve two examiners (one internal and one external to Keele) and Independent Chair, who presides over the examination and manages its procedural conduct.

The Lead Supervisor, in consultation with their postgraduate researcher, must nominate the examination panel using the form and guidance document below. The Faculty PGR Committee will first consider the form before referring it to the Research Degrees Committee for final approval. Lead Supervisors should submit their form to the PGR Administrator in their Faculty three months before their student's intended submission date.

Exam Panel and Thesis Title Approval Form (Word, 311KB)
Independent Chair Approval Form (Word, 60KB)

Forms for PGR Examiners and Chairs

We ask for the Pre-Viva Examiner's Report and the accompanying coversheet to be returned to us by email at within two months of the thesis being sent or no later than one week prior to the viva (whichever is sooner). The reports will then be exchanged between the examiners and the independent chair will be copied in. Further information and guidance on the PGR Exams Process can be found in the PGR Examinations Handbook.

Forms for examiners –

Pre-Viva Examiners Report Form (Word, 66KB)
Post-Viva Examiners Joint Report Form (Word, 69KB)
Resubmission - Examiners Preliminary Report Form (Word, 65KB)
Resubmission - Examiners Joint Report Form (Word, 67KB)
External Examiner Expenses Form (PDF, 2.9MB)
Adjudicators Report Form (Word, 67KB)

Oral examination by video link

The current default is that vivas will take place via video link. We ask that the examiners, Chair and postgraduate researcher confirm whether they have suitable IT set ups on the Exam Panel Nomination Form (above). If conducting a viva at home will be difficult for anyone involved, arrangements will be made by the faculty to offer a space on Campus. 

If an in-person viva is preferred, the KDA should be notified on and building specific arrangements should be made by the Chair/ Faculty PGR administrator to find a suitable room. In this instance, all parties must be aware that arrangements may have to be changed at short notice and be flexible about this.

Hybrid vivas are not permitted at this point in time as there are a number of challenges to them, and we do not have good enough evidence or good practice to recommend a situation where one party could be at a disadvantage for such a key part of a postgraduate researcher's degree. 



Submission of a Postgraduate Research Thesis for Deposit in the Library

For guidance on how to deposit your thesis in the library, alongside details on how to present it, please refer to the PGR Exams Handbook. The forms you will require are set out below:

Academic Honesty Declaration Form (Word, 65KB)
Thesis Deposit Agreement (Word, 30KB)

PhD By Publication

The guidance below covers the format and other requirements for a PhD by Publication. For information on eligibility for a PhD by Publication, please see Regulation C10


Guidance on PhDs by Publication (PDF, 200KB)


PhD by Publication Pre-Admission Form (Word, 62 KB)

Voluntary Withdrawal and Institutional Transfer

If you wish to withdraw permanently from your PGR studies at Keele, the following steps should be taken. Please note that withdrawal should be considered carefully, as it cannot be reversed.   

Postgraduate researchers who wish to withdraw from their studies voluntarily should first speak to their Lead Supervisor, another member of their supervisory team (if preferred), their PGR Lead/Director and must speak to the relevant Student Support and Experience Officer (SESO). The purpose of this discussion is to understand the reasons for withdrawing and (where appropriate) to propose alternative solutions such as a Leave of Absence, Change of Status, or Extension request. The forms can all be found here, and guidance can be found in the KDA handbook.  

In addition, postgraduate researchers may also be referred to student services for financial advice and health and wellbeing support via the Faculty Student Support and Experience Officers (SESO).  

Please note: 

  • Professional doctorate researchers still in the taught phase of their studies can withdraw via eVision. Once they have passed progression, they will need to withdraw as per the guidelines above.  
  • Funded postgraduate researchers should contact their funding provider before formally withdrawing from their studies, as this may have financial implications.  
  • International postgraduate researchers should contact Immigration Compliance and notify them of their intention to withdraw, as this may have visa implications.  

Once postgraduate researchers have discussed their withdrawal with a relevant member of staff, they must email Student Records ( with a formal statement to say that they wish to withdraw, the date from which they wish to end their studies, and their reason for withdrawal. Postgraduate researchers should also copy in their supervisor to the email, as they will need to confirm they a have been made aware of the postgraduate researcher’s decision in writing.  

Student Records will formally withdraw the postgraduate researcher on the date requested, copying in the PGR Director, Supervisor and PGR Administrator.  

Where postgraduate researchers have decided to withdraw from their studies for a particular reason such as personal circumstances and decide to restart studies at a later date, they would need to reapply, as withdrawals are permanent. In some instances, it may be possible to enrol with a record of prior learning. If a temporary withdrawal is required, then a Leave of Absence would be a more appropriate option. 

For further guidance, contact the KDA ( 

Travel and Expenses

During the degree, the postgraduate researcher and/or supervisor may identify external training that would be of benefit and each Faculty has funding to support travel and expenses associated with these activities. 

To apply for this funding, postgraduate researchers should complete the relevant training fund request form using the Key Travel website to determine the costs associated with your request, and the funding required. Once complete, the form should be submitted to the faculty PGR Administrator, for PGR Committee support.

Medicine and Health Sciences

Form: FMHS PGR Training Fund Application Form (Jan-24)


Natural Sciences

Form: FNS PGR Training Fund Application Form (Jan-24)


Humanities and Social Sciences

Form: HUMSS PGR Training Fund Application Form


Postgraduate researchers will be notified of the outcome by their PGR Administrator who will then provide guidance on how to book travel etc.

Funded postgraduate researchers (UKRI and other external research grants)

Funded postgraduate researchers may also have additional funding that can be used to support external training travel and expenses.

The application process for external funding varies and postgraduate researchers are asked to liaise with their PGR Administrator in the first instance.