Still from Kings 2010 Animation Capstone VideoPurpose

The faculty conducts an annual review of progress for each graduate student. The Review of Progress Committee (RPC) meets in the Spring of each year to assess the progress of graduate students in the Ph.D. program. This is also a good time for each student to review their own progress to see if personal goals are being met and to plan for the next year. Additionally, this is a good time for an open discussion between student and advisor about progress, goals, and expectations.

The review of progress process complements the role of the faculty advisor for each student. The faculty advisor helps the student prepare a plan of study both in coursework and in research. The Review of Progress Committee assesses whether or not the student is progressing in a timely manner through the milestones of the program: Quals, the General Examination, and the Dissertation defense. Ultimately, it is the student's responsibility to make the progress necessary to achieve their goals in the graduate program.

Students should be aware that there is no ideal schedule for progress through the program. There is a great deal of variation depending on the student's background, the particular course of study, and personal circumstances. The RPC is sensitive to this variation. Students with an RA, TA, or Fellowship are required to be full-time in the PhD program. Students are also required to make satisfactory progress to remain in the program. Progress is expected to be consistent with a full-time focus on research and education work.

The Review of Progress Process

  1. Each Ph.D. student fills in the CSE Review Of Progress Form which includes a self-assessment of progress and a brief plan for the next year.
  2. Each student then meets with their advisor or temporary advisor before the end of April, to discuss the progress made during the previous year and the plans for the future. The faculty advisor should ask the student to fill out the self assessment form before the meeting as a basis for the discussion.
  3. The faculty advisor will then provide their assessment of the student's progress to the RPC by the end of the review period.  Faculty Advisors: Go to the 'Advisees' tab in the CSE Review Of Progress Tool to submit these individual reports.
  4. The RPC will meet shortly thereafter to review student self-assessments and faculty reviews. Feedback from the RPC should be provided to each student before the beginning of summer quarter.

Process Overview & Resources

On April 1, 2020, Luke Zettlemoyer (Chair of the Review of Progress Committee) and Elise Dorough (Director of Graduate Students Services) hosted an information session about the review of progress process. Both the recording and the slides are available.

How To Change Your Advisor(s)

Review of Progress is a great time to make sure your advisor(s) are correct in the department database. The Allen School assigns what we call a temporary advisor to all new Ph.D. students. The temporary advisor has administrative, advising/research advising, and mentoring roles. As much as possible, we try to match students to faculty who share their research interests. Temporary advisors often become permanent advisors at some point within the first few years of the program. That being said, this designation is identified as “temporary” on purpose in order to allow for flexibility.

To formally change a listed advisor, please complete this Advisor Change Form. The Graduate Advising Team will confirm the request, and make the change in the advising database.

Unsatisfactory Performance and Progress

The RPC, in consultation with the student's advisor(s), may issue an internal departmental warning based on the following:

1. Academic Performance and Progress

All students are expected by the UW Graduate School to maintain of a minimum GPA of 3.0 cumulatively and for every quarter of coursework. Computation is based only on courses numbered 400-599; courses graded I, S/NS, and CR/NC are excluded, as are the 600-800 series.

Note that part of the Ph.D. Qualfying Evalution covers coursework. Most students who demonstrate academic excellence by their course grades will have a grade of at least 3.4 in most of the quals courses. However, there is no simple formula that the faculty applies to the grades (e.g., minimum grade at least 3.4, average grade at least 3.4, etc.). Prequals students who do not earn satisfactory grades in quals courses may be reviewed by the RPC.

Progress to Milestones
The RPC expects that students and their advisors will work together to ensure the student makes timely progress towards the Ph.D.

Qualifying Evaluation*: Within 1.75 years of study.
General Exam*: Within 3 years of study or 1.25 years after quals (whichever is later).
Final Exam/Dissertation Submission: Within 5 years of study. The maximum allowed by the UW Graduate School is 10 years of study.

*The Qualifying Evaluation and General Exam deadlines can be extended via petition.

2. Research Performance and Progress

In general, the RPC uses the Annual Review of Progress assessment form and the Review of Progress faculty meeting to assess overall research capability, performance, and progress. Included in this assessment is performance during informal coursework and seminars, activity in group meetings, student engagement with their advisor, and more.

Next Steps

Students who receive an internal department warning letter are expected to correct the deficiences within the timeline established jointly by the RPC and the student's advisor(s). Students on departmental warning status will be reviewed by the RPC at the end of each quarter. If the student does not correct the deficiences stated in the letter, the RPC may recommend that the student be placed on on Probation with the UW Graduate School. This is the first in a series of steps that may forcibly remove a student from our graduate program.

Please see the UW Gradute School's Memo 16: Unsatisfactory Performance and Progress for more details.