BGM PG Processes

The Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology requires all PG students to follow the procedures outlined below to ensure their research degrees comply with departmental, faculty and university regulations:

Please refer to the BGM Applications page for details.


Thesis  committee 

Each PG student needs to present their project proposal and progress reports (see below) to their thesis committee during May and November of each year. Each thesis committee will consist of at least three departmental academics, including the supervisor and co-supervisors. Supervisory teams of two or three departmental academics will require one additional departmental colleague, sole supervisors require two departmental colleagues. Supervisory teams of four or more academics do not require additional BGM representatives. In this context, postdoctoral fellows are not equivalent to full academics, while senior postdoctoral fellows are. Thesis committees represent the Department in all meetings and ensure that all rules are complied with in a fair and transparent manner. 


Project  proposal 

Within the first three months of embarking on an MSc or an PhD degree, students need to compile a detailed project proposal in which they outline the background and current knowledge of the research being undertaken. They should furthermore provide a flow diagram of the methodology to be used, anticipated results as well as a clear time-line and a proposed budget.


Project  proposal  meeting 

Within the first five months of the start of an MSc or a PhD degree, students need to present their project proposal to their thesis committee in the form of a presentation. The purpose of this meeting is for the thesis committee to agree whether the student has accumulated sufficient knowledge on the research project to be undertaken and is therefore ready to start on the practical part of the project. The thesis committee should further assess the scope and the achievability of the project especially in view of the timeframe allowed for the corresponding degree. The meeting must be minuted by the student involved and the minutes need to be signed by the student and every member of the committee. The minutes, together with the BGM Thesis Committee Meeting Report form, must be submitted to the Division of Research and Postgraduate Education with the progress code clearly indicated. This will be used for the first progress code to the faculty for this student. Deadline: 1 June.

Progress Report

Project  progress  meetings 

Each PG student must present their progress to their thesis committee every semester. The thesis committee assesses whether the student is on track with respect to the original proposal and time-line or whether this needs to be modified. Any changed need to be documented in the minutes and the timeline needs to be updated. Again the student must write the minutes and every thesis committee member needs to sign. The form creating the front page of this report must clearly indicate the progress code for that particular student. Deadline 1 June and 1 December. 

BGM Thesis Com Meeting Report

Seminar and  Research  Symposium  presentations 

Each PG student should present on their progress to the entire department once a year. First-year students will generally present their progress in the form of posters while second year and more senior students should do so in the form of an oral presentation. These presentations of around 15 minutes may be scheduled as part of the departmental seminar (Mondays, 14:30) or during the annual departmental Research Symposium.
It is compulsory for all PG students and supervisors to attend.


PhD defense 

All PhD students in the Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology need to present the outcome of their PhD before the completion of their degree. Mostly this is scheduled after the reports from the examiners have been received and corrections have been made to the thesis. The PhD defense consists of a 30 min presentation on aspects or highlights of the thesis followed by a 30 min Q&A session. Examiners where possible should attend in person or by skype or they should be requested to submit a set of searching questions to pose to the student during the defence. The purpose of the PhD defense is to assess the level of competence of the PhD student in their field and to ascertain that the student did complete all experiments as outlined in the thesis. In addition, it is an opportunity for the research group to showcase their graduate and their output and for the department to celebrate the completion of a PhD. 
It is compulsory for all PG students and supervisors to attend.


Published by Annel Smit

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