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Instruction for writing the progress report

What is a progress report.

In the progress report, the doctoral student should describe the current stage of the PhD project, progress that has been made during the past year and future plans including schedule. She/he should also present any changes e.g. in his/her financing status (new grant applied or obtained etc.), in student status (part-time, full-time doctoral training) and/or supervision arrangements.

Each doctoral student has to provide a progress report of the PhD project once a year until defence. This rule applies to all doctoral students regardless of where their funding comes from. Once the date of the defence and the name of the opponent have been decided there is no requirement for further follow-up group meetings and progress reports.

Where the progress report is used?

Please note that it is essential to submit an annual report at least 1 month before your contract of employment with JyU ends as the progress of your PhD project affects extension of your employment contract. Doctoral student will initially be given a one year employment contract or a personal grant. After the first evaluation and providing satisfactory progress is demonstrated, the contract can be extended for a further 3 years (maximum). Furthermore, the head of the department will not sign the employment contract if the progress report is not submitted by the deadline. The progress report is also used as a basis for decision about awarding short-term doctoral programme's doctoral student positions. It should be also noted that the doctoral programme will not grant a travelling allowance if the applicant has not submitted her/his accepted progress report annually to the doctoral programme by the deadline.

When is the deadline?

The progress reports are submitted to the doctoral programme once a year . The first report is submitted by the end of April regardless of when a doctoral student has started her/his PhD studies and then 12 month intervals after that. Exception : Those whose contract of employment with the JyU is ending, submit their progress report at least one month before the contract ends. The doctoral student is responsible for informing the doctoral programme about a different submission schedule.

What is the reporting period?

The first reporting period starts on the date that your doctoral study rights were granted. The end date of the reporting period is the date when the progress report is submitted to the follow-up group.

The form of the progress report and submission

You can download the template for the progress report here . The report has to contain information on the goals set for the past year and whether the doctoral student accomplished them (for example, as an list of aims). The report is written in English.

The doctoral student submits the progress report to all members of the follow-up group at least 2 weeks prior to the follow-up group meeting. The progress report must be accepted by the supervisor(s) before submission.

After the follow-up group meeting, the student updates the progress report to include: the date and place of the meeting, who were present and what was discussed (see instructions in the progress report template ). The follow-up group meeting should be documented so that it is possible to return to it as a basis for preparing for the next meeting. Please note that the progress report should include a clear statement of the feasibility of the plan and evaluation of the progress of the PhD project . Before submitting the progress report to the doctoral programme, it should be proved by the follow-up group and supervisor(s). Note: no signatures are required but it should be indicated in the updated report that the report has been proved by the follow-up group. The updated reports are submitted to the doctoral programme via   the online form . Please do not send the report via an email. Name your report: Surname First name.

The process of reporting step by step (student's tasks)

What is an unsatisfactory progress report?

A report can be unsatisfactory for several reasons. For example:

After being informed that your report was unsatisfactory, you will be asked to submit a revised progress report, by following the same process as the first version of the report.


More information from doctoral-studies-science[at] .

Writing a progress/status report

By michael ernst, january, 2010.

Writing a weekly report about your research progress can make your research more successful, less frustrating, and more visible to others, among other benefits.

One good format is to write your report in four parts:

The report need not be onerous. It can be a few paragraphs or a page, so it shouldn't take you long to write. Minimize details that are not relevant to your audience, such as classwork and the like, in order to keep the report focused; you will spend less time writing it, and make it more likely to be read.

Writing the progress report has many benefits.

Writing the report will make you more productive, because it will force you to think about your work in a manner concretely enough to write down. Any time that you spend organizing your thoughts will more than pay itself back in better understanding and improved productivity. When a project is complete, it is all too easy to forget some of your contributions. You can look back over your progress reports to remember what was difficult, and to think about how to work more productively in the future. You may be able to re-use some of the text when writing up your results.

Writing the report will make your meetings more productive. When you have a weekly research meeting, the report should be sent 24 hours in advance, to help everyone prepare. (Two hours is not an acceptable alternative: it does not let everyone — both you and others — mull over the ideas.) Don't delay your report because you want to wait until you have better results to report. Instead, send the report on schedule, and if you get more results in the next 24 hours, you can discuss those at the meeting.

Writing the report will give you feedback from a new point of view. The report enables others outside your research project to know what you are doing. Those people may respond with ideas or suggestions, which can help get you unstuck or give you additional avenues to explore. It also keeps you on their radar screen and reminds them of your work, which a good thing if you don't meet with them frequently. (For PhD students, a periodic report to the members of your thesis committee can pay big dividends.)

Writing the report helps explain (to yourself especially, but also to others) how you spent your time — even if there isn't as much progress as you would have preferred, you can see that you did work hard, and how to be more efficient or effective in the future.

If your meetings are more frequent than weekly, then the progress report should also be more frequent. If your meetings are less frequent, it's a good idea to still send a progress report each week.

Important tip: Throughout the day, maintain a log of what you have done. This can be a simple text file. You can update it when you start and end a task, or at regular intervals throughout the day. It takes only a moment to maintain the log, and it makes writing the report easy. By contrast, without a log you might forget what you have done during the week, and writing the report could take a long time.

Back to Advice compiled by Michael Ernst .

Sample Progress Report


The following short progress report, written by a student in geology, provides an excellent example of how concrete and affirmative a progress report can be. Note the specificity even in the title, and how sections such as "Remaining Questions" and "Expected Results" demonstrate that the writer, even though he is two months away from the completion of his thesis, is thinking about the work in a professional manner.

Progress Report

"Stratigraphic Architecture of Deep-Ramp Carbonates: Implications for Deposition of Volcanic Ashes, Salona and Coburn Formations, Central Pennsylvania" by John Lerner


The Late Middle Ordovician-age Salona and Coburn formations of central Pennsylvania show cyclic patterns on a scale of tens of meters.  Little research has been done on sequence stratigraphy of deep-water mixed carbonate/siliciclastic systems, and a depositional model for this environment is necessary to understand the timing and processes of deposition. The stratigraphic position of the bentonites at the base of the larger cycles is significant because it indicates that they accumulated during a time of non-deposition in a deep water environment.

To date, I have described five lithofacies present in the Salona and Coburn formations. Two lithofacies are interpreted as storm deposits and make up the limestone component of the thinly-bedded couplets. Some trends were observed in the raw data; however, because of the "noisy" nature of the data, a plot of the five-point moving average of bed thickness was created to define the cycles better.


Two key tasks are to be completed in the coming weeks. With the results of these tests and the field observations, I will create a model for deposition of a deep-ramp mixed carbonate/siliciclastic system in a foreland basin environment. The model will include depositional processes, stratigraphic architecture, and tectonic setting.


Questions remain regarding the depositional processes responsible for the featureless micrite at the base of the Salona Formation. . . . How rapid was the transition? What record (if any?) remains of the transition?  Were bentonites not deposited, or were they selectively removed at certain locations by erosive storm processes?


I expect to find that the large-scale cycles represent parasequences. Flooding surfaces are marked by bentonites and shales, with bentonites removed in some locations. If the cycles are true parasequences, the implication is that eustatic sea level changes and not tectonic influences controlled the depositional changes over the interval.


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