UCL Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology


Supervision, training and progress


Part of the process of deciding whether an applicant can be accepted for a research degree is ensuring that there is a member of staff who can provide adequate supervision for the proposed field of study. All students have at least a principal and subsidiary supervisor who are responsible for their supervision, and all supervisors and students receive guidance notes detailing their responsibilities.

Research Log

Throughout the course of their studies, all students are required to maintain a Research Log, which:

  • records key supervisory meetings
  • prompts the student, in consultation with their supervisors, to carry out a self-audit of relevant generic, academic and project-related skills, and
  • maintains a comprehensive account of the student’s research training and experience.


All MPhil/PhD students are expected to undertake 10 days of generic skills training each year over their three year programme, which is logged and audited electronically. This will include, for example, courses on research design and statistics, ethical and legal issues, presentation skills, thesis production and career planning.

Progress monitoring

Within the first 6-8 months of registration, the student and supervisor are each asked to complete an initial questionnaire, as well as a Scientific Progress Report (including providing a projected timeplan of the project). These are looked over by the ICTM Graduate Tutor. This is to ensure that both the student and supervisor are happy with the supervision arrangements and progress, and also to ensure that the project is going according to plan.

Upgrade from MPhil to PhD

All students initially register for the MPhil degree. Within the first 9-18 months (depending on whether the student is completing their degree full-time or part-time), the student will apply for an upgrade to PhD. This involves preparing a written report, giving an oral presentatin and passing an oral examination (the Upgrade Viva).

Annual monitoring

At the end of each year after the upgrade to PhD, the Institute undertakes a formal review of each student based on named but confidential questionnaires sent to both the student and their supervisors and an agreed progress report. Each student then has a one-to-one chat with the ICTM Graduate Tutor, who has special responsibility for monitoring student progress and reports to the Institute’s Teaching and Research Committee.

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