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Under University regulations, all principal supervisors are required to submit termly progress/supervision reports for their postgraduate students via the Postgraduate Feedback and Reporting System (PFRS). Reports are used to monitor student progress, identify where support may be needed, and record academic engagement to fulfil immigration requirements.

Students on most postgraduate programmes (Doctoral, MPhil, MRes, MSc, MLitt, MEd, MMus and CPGS) are also encouraged to submit a self-evaluation report in Michaelmas term (but this is not mandatory).  

Supervisors receive email reminders when to submit a report each term. For Michaelmas term if their student submits a self-evaluation report, supervisors will receive an email notifying them of this and will be expected to respond with comments. If the student has indicated that he or she is experiencing difficulties or is in need of support, it might be appropriate to arrange a meeting with the student to discuss these. 

The dates when windows for reporting open and close and the deadlines for others to comment on reports can be found below. Outside of these times it is not possible to submit termly reports

Term Reporting window opens Reporting window closes Deadline for comments
Easter Term 2021 21 May 2021 30th September 2021 1st November 2021
Michaelmas Term 2021 (student self-evaluation) 9th November 2021 4th January 2022 4th February 2022
Michaelmas Term 2021 9th November 2021 4th January 2022 4th February 2022
Lent Term 2022 13th February 2022 16th April 2022 17th May 2022
Easter Term 2022 21st May 2022 30th September 2022 1st November 2022

Problems with the system, including receiving a notification for the wrong student(s) should be reported to recordsandexams@admin.cam.ac.uk

Guidance on completing reports and submitting responses

Guidance on submitting, viewing and commenting on supervision reports can be found here. Some key points and Frequently Asked Questions can be found below:

  • It is not possible to submit reports retrospectively.
  • It is not possible to submit reports outside the reporting windows (see dates above).
  • Due to technical limitations, it is only possible for principal supervisors to submit reports. However, other supervisors can comment on the reports submitted by the principal supervisor.
  • Submitted reports are immediately available to the student, supervisor(s), advisor, College Postgraduate Tutor and relevant administrators in the Department, Degree Committee, College and Student Registry.
  • Supervisors are asked to confirm whether in their view the student’s progress has been satisfactory or unsatisfactory and to submit sufficiently detailed comments to support this assessment.
  • If you have concerns about the student’s progress or engagement, it is important that these are detailed in the report and the concerns are addressed. Your reports may be referred to at a later stage if the student does not progress satisfactorily and consideration is given to withdrawing them from their studies. As students who do not succeed often complain that they were not made aware of progress concerns these reports are an effective way of providing appropriate feedback and formally recording that it has been given.
  • Bear in mind students will see their reports assoon as you submit them, so feedback should be provided constructively so that the report might be used for the student's benefit and not cause unnecessary distress. It is best practice to discuss your concerns with the student (and if appropriate their College Postgraduate Tutor) in advance of submitting the report, so that your concerns do not come as a surprise to the student.
  • If the student is a doctoral student who is approaching the end of their third year, you are asked in particular to comment on progress made in/towards writing up and to indicate, if possible, the likelihood of timely submission of the thesis for examination.
  • Whilst the system allows for parties to comment on any reports submitted, the system and reports submitted constitute the University's formal progress monitoring system. It is not therefore expected that long and involved conversations take place via the system or that the reports replace face-to-face conversations, particularly if there are concerns about a student's progress.
  • It is also possible to enter notes about students on the 'Student Details' page of 'CamSIS for Academics' - these notes can be shared with other parties but do not replace the requirement to submit termly reports. Information about this can be found on p.38 of the 'CamSIS for Academics - printable guide'.

Frequently asked questions

Do I have to submit a report? 

Yes. Principal Supervisors should submit a termly report for each of their students. For Michaelmas term, responding to your student’s self-evaluation report (if submitted) and reporting progress there will constitute the termly report. If you have already commented on a student's self-evaluation you may still receive an email asking you to submit your termly report. Although you do not need to provide further comments, it is helpful if you do submit a supervision report for Michaelmas term - you can simply write 'see comments on self-evaluation'.

Degree Committees are responsible for monitoring submission of progress reports and taking action in cases of non-submission. 

What if my student is intermitting?

If your student is intermitting for the full term covered by the report which is due, you must still submit a report. Please select 'satisfactory' as the rating and write in your comments that the student is intermitting. You are not required to write anything further. Please do not select 'unsatisfactory' as the rating.

If your student is intermitting for only part of the term, you should complete a report for the period in which they were studying.

Do I have to comment on my student’s self-evaluation report?

Yes. If your student has submitted a termly report it is helpful if you address any points they have raised. 

Is the Self-Evaluation report mandatory for students?

No. It is not mandatory but we strongly encourage students to complete it.

My student has indicated that they need help – what do I do?

This will depend on the nature of the help sought.  If it is something within your remit (such as access to a piece of equipment) then you should endeavour to resolve the problem.  If the help sought is more pastoral in nature, it may be appropriate for the College Tutor to step in.  You should ensure that the matters raised in the student’s report are considered and your response to the report reflects any action you have taken.  Depending on the nature of the help sought it might also be appropriate to meet with the student, and if appropriate their College Tutor.

Why can’t I submit a report?

If you cannot submit a report for one of your students the most common reasons are:

  1. The student’s record is not correct in CamSIS. If you cannot see the student in CamSIS, you should contact your Degree Committee.

  2. You are listed in CamSIS as a ‘Cambridge’ or ‘Other’ Supervisor. Due to limitations in the system development it is only possible for Principal Supervisors to submit reports. Other supervisors can comment on the reports submitted by the Principal Supervisor.

  3. Sometimes it may be necessary to set your browser to 'allow pop-ups from CamSIS'.Instructions on how to do this can be found here.

  4. The reporting window for the term may be closed (see below). 

I have missed the deadline for submitting my report(s) - can I still submit?

No. It is not possible to submit a report when the reporting window has closed. You are advised to email your report directly to the student, ideally with the Department, Degree Committee and College copied in. If you do not have contact details for all parties, you should just copy in the Department who can forward to others if necessary. 

I have received an email about a student but I don’t think the student is assigned to me – what should I do?

Please contact us at recordsandexams@admin.cam.ac.uk so we can investigate further.

How quickly am I expected to respond to the student’s report?

It is appreciated that this will be just one of many things you have on your to-do list this term. However, we would ask that you try to prioritise these reports so that problems can be addressed quickly.

Who can see reports?

All reports are immediately available to the Student, Supervisor and Postgraduate Tutor and administrators in the Department, Degree Committee and Student Registry. The Education Quality and Police Office may also review the Student Self-Evaluation reports anonymously to help to identify response rates, as well as any common trends or themes amongst student’s responses that warrant further consideration or action.

The University will use the reports to monitor a research student's engagement for visa compliance purposes. Engagement for visa compliance if not the same as academic performance; supervisors should continue to give an honest and constructive assessment of their student's performance. A report that a student has stopped engaging with studies, or an absent report, would not automatically have implications for a student's visa.

Is the Student Self-Evaluation the same as the Student Barometer Survey?

No. Student surveys give students an opportunity to provide general feedback about their experience at Cambridge.