PhD students' Second Year Report: Dissertation Schedule
All research students must submit a Dissertation Schedule at the end of their second year. This should be a single document, usually between 2000 and 4000 words.
This document is intended to be a useful check for the student to allow them to see where they are relative to their original plan and to produce a coherent schedule leading to a dissertation by the end of the third year. It is also intended to allow both the supervisor and the Computer Laboratory to check, formally, the student's progress. Throughout the second year report, the student should make appropriate cross-references to the first-year PhD Proposal.
The document should contain four parts:
- A report on progress made in relation to that described in the first-year PhD Proposal. This should include a indication of where the student is relative to their original timetable, discussion of any significant changes to the original ideas and their implications for the research as a whole.
- An outline of the dissertation. This can be most usefully done by providing a chapter-by-chapter outline. Each of the proposed chapters will have a title. The main chapters (those describing the actual research) will have a one or two paragraph summary of their content. For every chapter there will be a summary of what work has been completed and what work remains to be done during the third year (for example, "chapter written", "chapter drafted", "research complete but not written", "research in progress", "research not started").
- A timetable that schedules the remaining work and indicates when the draft and final versions of the dissertation will be produced.
- A list of any papers published (with URLs so that the assessors can read the papers), a list of any papers in press, submitted, or in preparation, and a list of any presentations given, whether or not the presentation is associated with a paper.
As with the first-year PhD Proposal, the student should submit three copies of the document to the Secretary of the Degree Committee by July 31 (or corresponding dates: Lent start - Oct. 30 or Easter start - Jan. 31), and also upload a PDF version, for assessment and discussion by two readers who will usually be independent of the supervisor except where a suitably qualified assessor cannot be found. The two readers will normally be the same as those for the first-year examination, and will be given a copy of the first-year report to cross-check against the second-year report.
The two readers will submit their joint report to the supervisor who will then copy the text into the relevant Cambridge Graduate Supervision Reporting System report; supervisors are invited to comment. The report will be submitted to the Degree Committee.
Supervisors and assessors should pay particular attention to the plan for the remaining research and timely completion of the dissertation, and may request a revised Schedule. The assessment should be completed by September 30 (or equivalent) and the Secretary of the Degree Committee notified of the outcome.
Where progress has been poor and it appears the chance of successful completion is low, the student should be given written notice of the danger, with copy to the Secretary, and warned that the lack of progress may lead to termination of funding.
Reports may be soft-bound in comb-binding or stapled.
Secretary of the Degree Committee
Submission of Part II dissertations
This year, for the first time, hardcopy (paper) copies of your dissertation do not have to be submitted, (although you may do this if you wish). All submission can be electronic. You will be required to submit the following:
- A PDF version of the dissertation (or two paper copies of the dissertation) by the 12 noon submission deadline
- Source code
- Supervisor's Report Form
Further details are given below.
Either a PDF version of the dissertation must be submitted electronically on Moodle by the 12 noon deadlineor 2 paper copies of the dissertation must be submitted to the Student Administrator by the 12 noon deadline.
The penalty for late submission is extremely severe.
Electronic submission of source code
In addition, all students are required to submit their source code electronically on Moodle by 5pm on the same day. Students who submitted paper copies must also submit a PDF version of their dissertation (which must be the same as the paper version) on Moodle by 5pm.
For this, you should use the
The Student Administrator will let you know when the Moodle upload site is live. It requires a login using your Raven password, is very easy to use and should be self-explanatory, but you are strongly advised to try some test uploads in advance of the deadline; you can delete and replace any file that you upload any time before the deadline.
As mentioned in the Briefing Document, the required format for the dissertation is PDF. If you are using the MCS you may find useful the Computing Service hints on using the MCS for producing PDF files.
You should upload your source code by means of the above site, in the form of a zip or tar.gz file.
The deadline for uploading the source code package is 17:00 on the day of the deadline for submission of the dissertation PDF or paper copies.
Note: Examiners can access the uploaded files on Moodle Part II Project upload page.
Supervisor's Report Form
Finally, a completed Supervisor's Report Form is needed from each student. Section A should be completed by the student, and Sections B and C by the Supervisor and Director of Studies. Please try to get this completed and submitted to Student Administration at the same time as the printed copies of the dissertation. If this is not possible, then the absolute deadline for submission of the form is 16:00 on the Wednesday following the main deadline.
Frequently asked questions
- Why am I being asked to submit an electronic copy of my dissertation?
- This is mainly to help the Examiners who may need to read the dissertation from outside Cambridge.
- Why am I being asked to submit my source code?
- The Examiners may need to refer to it for clarification of statements made in the dissertation, or they may wish to study it in advance of a viva voce examination.
- Who will have access to my dissertation and source code?
- While your work is being marked, access is restricted to those with a need-to-know: the Examiners and directly involved support staff. Afterwards, you can request to have your files deleted. Any files that you do not request we delete may be archived by the department eventually and looked up by members of the deparment; in particular project supervisors might be interested in refering to them in future. You are also welcome to replace any of your uploaded files with a corrected archival version.
- Does the submitted source code have to include all the extra stuff used to build the programs (e.g., makefiles, support files) or just the source code itself?
- Examiners need to have access to source code you have created or substantially modified and this would tend to include makefiles created by hand, but not automatically generated files, or files available elsewhere. The same consideration applies to other supporting files that embody important functions, but not to files containing just data. Given that files are created in all sorts of ways, such as binary files created using a GUI, it is hard to be more precise. Certainly, it is not expected that you provide everything needed to replicate fully a working instance of the work.
- What if the code is covered by NDA?
- Uploading the source code is the default, but we recognise that a very few students may have difficulties with this because of an NDA. In this case, please provide your source code on a CD, which will be returned to you or destroyed after the examination.
- What if the PDF of my dissertation is too big for uploading?
- Excessive PDF file size is often the result of inappropriate handling of included images. Please check whether their resolution, compression levels and file formats are all reasonable for A4 laser printing.