School of Population Health

Annual Progress Reviews

Annual Progress Reviews are an opportunity for candidates and their supervisors to:

  • take stock of how your research project has gone over the past year;
  • review all aspects of your candidature;
  • develop a plan of action for the following year.

An Annual Progress Review is designed to be a positive and productive experience.  See it as an opportunity not only to review and get feedback on the progress of your project but also to manage your research, plan your thesis and ensure that you make the most of your time at UNSW.

Your supervisors and a panel comprising of 2 academic staff members (not involved in your candidature) participate in the APR. The APR usually takes place at the same time each year with the same panel members where possible. The candidate provides an update on their research with discussion from the panel members and supervisors. At the end of the APR, recommendations will be made by the panel in regard to your candidature.

New Students – Confirmation Review

Newly enrolled Higher Degree Candidates are required to have a Confirmation Review. This confirms that you are able to proceed with the candidature of your research. Timelines are below:

  • Full-time candidates within the first 6-9 months of their candidature
  • Part-time candidates within the first 12-18 months of their candidature

At the confirmation review – candidates will be required to demonstrate that the following has been completed:

  • a well written and critical review of the research area (typically a literature review) has been drafted;
  • an established and feasible, detailed research proposal;
  • detailed timeline for completing the research and submission of thesis;
  • Evidence that the UNSW Research Integrity module has been completed

Continuing Students – Annual Progress Review

It is a condition of continual enrolment in your higher research degree that your performance is assessed by an Annual Progress Review. Candidates are required to provide any updates including how the research project is tracking, raise any issues, advise the panel if any articles/ draft chapters have been written or published and provide an update on the timeline of the project.

APR Timeline

8-10 weeks before APR HDR student support officer contacts candidate and supervisors to organise a mutually convenient day and time for the APR;
6-4 weeks before APR – A time and date is confirmed for the APR and all parties are emailed;
2 weeks before APR – Candidate completes the online APR form in GRIS and submits any documentation;
Day of the APR – APR takes place and panel makes recommendations;
Post-APR – The panel’s recommendations are entered in GRIS and approved by the Postgraduate Research Co-ordinator.



  • What do candidates need to do at the Annual Progress Review?
    Candidates usually do a 10 minute presentation on where they are up to in their research project outlining successes and any issues that may have arisen. This can be in the form of a powerpoint presentation or a seminar presentation. Candidates should also provide any publications that may been published related to their research and an updated timeline of their research project. These must be submitted on the APR form in GRIS (Graduate Research Information System) 14 days prior to your review to allow time for your supervisor to approve this and for panel members to review your documentation prior to the APR.
  • What happens if I am a distance student or live interstate or overseas?
    This is not a problem and students can participate in an APR via Skype or a GoToMeeting (video conference).
  • If a candidate cannot attend or participate in the APR what should they do?
    You must advise the HDR Student Support Officer as soon as possible and provide an alternative date and time. Please note all candidates must have an APR once a year as a condition of their enrolment. Failure to attend the APR may result in the Graduate Research School requiring candidates to show cause. Refer to the APR policy and procedure for further information.
  • Can candidates choose who is on the panel for the APR?
    The panel is comprised of academics whose research interests are similar to those of the candidate’s research. At the time of your induction in the school you should indicate on the induction form potential panellists for the APR in consultation with your supervisor.