Half-time review

A half-time review shall be carried out for every doctoral student who is aiming for a doctoral degree.

Purpose and timing

The purpose of the half-time review is:

  • to give the students a chance to obtain feedback on what has been done and what has been planned from experienced researchers independent of both project and supervisor 
  • to identify any areas in need of improvement 
  • to serve as an educational element
  • to inform the department of the students’ progress

Do not postpone the half-time review! It shall take place when the doctoral student is half-way through his/her studies. Some courses must be taken, see the general syllabus, but that is not necessarily a reason to postpone. There are no requirements regarding completed manuscripts or articles.

The half-time review is not an examination. The focus should be on progress, feedback and learning. 

What shall be done and when?

Appr. 2 months ahead of the half-time review:

  • Doctoral student writes a half-time report
  • Supervisor contacts suitable people to be members of the half-time committee
  • Literature review (part of the half-time report) through iThenticate, draft or completed
  • Doctoral student and supervisor discuss scientific writing and ethics

Appr. 5 weeks ahead of the half-time review:

  • Notification to the department, use form 5
  • Supervisor opens a new version of ISP (keep revision mode open until after seminar)

Minimum 2 weeks ahead of the half-time review:

  • Doctoral student sends the required documents to the half-time committee
  • Department advertises the half-time seminar


After the half-time review:

  • Doctoral student and supervisor follow-up issues raised at the seminar.
  • Revise the ISP if necessary
  • Upload to ISP system:
    • Half-time report written by the doctoral student
    • Half-time record (protokoll), (entire form 5 or only part 2)
  • Approve the ISP

(ISP = individual study plan)

Same information in a flow chart

Half-time report

Before the half-time review the doctoral student should compile a half-time report. Use this template (follow the instructions in the template). 

The half-time report consists of: 

  • a literature review of the research field
  • a status report of the doctoral education project 
  • a status report on the learning progress relative to the learning outcomes of the doctoral degree 
  • a plan for the remainder of the studies 
  • a text reflecting upon ethical considerations

Discussion about scientific writing (iThenticate) 

The doctoral student shall run their literature review, part of the half-time report, through the text matching software iThenticate in preparation for a discussion with their supervisor(s) on scientific writing. The discussion should cover issues such as reference management, plagiarism, self-plagiarism and copyright. Note that this must be done before notifying the department of the half-time review, see an overview of the routine above.

The literature review does not have to be finished; a draft will do fine. This a learning activity, not an examination, and there will be no consequences if plagiarism would be found. A text of low quality might even be a better basis for an interesting and educational discussion than a perfectly written text. 

The iThenticate report is not included in the documents sent to the half-time committee, but the doctoral student must be prepared to answer questions from the committee regarding scientific writing and plagiarism.  

The purpose is to increase the knowledge regarding scientific writing among doctoral students, and in the long term increase the quality of the doctoral theses. In addition, it gives doctoral students and supervisors useful experience in interpreting text matching reports.   

Half-time committee

The director of doctoral studies appoints a committee of three members after the proposal from the doctoral student and supervisor. 

The committee must comprise postdoctoral researchers who are independent of the project and who possess adequate subject knowledge. At least one member must belong to a different department to the student’s. It is an advantage if one of the members later sits on the examination board at the student’s thesis defence.  

  • To prepare itself by reading the half-time report and other documents that the student submits by no later than a fortnight before the scheduled seminar.
  • To take active part in the half-time seminar by asking relevant questions related to the intended learning outcomes and science, and to initiate discussions.  
  • To provide feedback and recommendations through discussion and by completing the record (part 2 of form 5) at the follow-up meeting.
  • To explain to the department any weaknesses and challenges that emerge at the half-time review. 

Information to half-time committee

Notification of half-time review 

The doctoral student notifies the department of an up-coming half-time review by filling in part 1 of Form 5, Half-time review. The form is submitted to the administrator of doctoral education at the department.

The notification consists of:

  • A proposal from the supervisor and supervisor on a suitable half-time committee. These should have been informed and given their consent before the notification is handed in. If any question, consult the director of doctoral studies at the department. 
  • Time and place for the half-time seminar.
  • Statements from the doctoral student and supervisor where they certify that they have had a discussion regarding scientific writing, see iThenticate below, and regarding ethics and ethical permits.
  • A Ladok transcript should be attached.  

Documents to be sent to the half-time committee

The doctoral student should send the following documents to the half-time committee by no later than two weeks before the scheduled half-time review:   

  • The half-time report
  • A pdf print-out of the individual study plan (ISP). (To include the latest registrations in Ladok, the ISP must be in revision mode)
  • The research plan
  • Copy of ethical permits (the decisions, not the applications)
  • Completed publications and manuscripts planned for inclusion in the thesis, if any
  • The document: Information to the half-time committee
  • Form 5: Both part 1 (completed) and part 2 (for preparing the committee on the aspects they are expected to comment)

Half-time review (seminar and follow-up meeting)

The half-time review comprises a seminar and an ensuing follow-up meeting. 


The half-time seminar consists of a presentation given by the doctoral student in English followed by a question and answer session involving the half-time committee and audience. The presentation is to summarise the results and planned continuation of the student’s doctoral studies in relation to his/her individual study plan. 

The half-time seminar is public and advertised internally. 

Follow-up meeting

  1. The half-time committee meets with the doctoral student, his/her supervisor(s) and, if present, his/her mentor. One of the members of the committee is appointed chairperson. 
  2. The following points are discussed with reference to the student’s individual study plan, the half-time report and the half-time seminar: 
    • Doctoral student:
      - Progress towards realising the intended outcomes of a doctoral degree 
      - Progress towards independence 
      - Overall performance at the half-time seminar 
    • Doctoral education project:
      - Progress and time plan
      - Plans for remaining education 
    • Supervision:
      - Scope and structure
      - Plans for remaining education 
    • Courses and other learning activities:
      - Plans for remaining education 
    • Ethical matters
  3. After the discussion, the student and his/her supervisor leave the room in turns for the committee to hold separate meetings with each to discuss their views on their collaboration, working conditions and communication. If the student so wishes, his/her mentor may also take part. 
  4. Afterwards, everyone reconvenes, at which point any issues raised during the preceding private meetings can be addressed. 
  5. Once the student, supervisor, mentor, etc. have departed, the committee goes through the comments and recommendations entered into the record form, paying particular attention to the last box – i.e. if there is any reason to recommend the department to carry out an additional or more detailed follow-up of the student. 

After the half-time review

The doctoral student and supervisor(s) should have a meeting booked after the half-time review to discuss issues raised at the seminar. At the same time, they should go through the individual study plan (see Checklist for annual follow-up) and discuss any need for revision. Unless the department inform otherwise, there is no need for another “annual follow-up” the alleged year. 

More information for logged in staff

There is more information for those of you working in the following groups

  • C1.Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology
  • C4.Department of Neuroscience
Log in with KI-ID