Department of Engineering

First Year Report

First Year Report

This webpage is due to be archived. Please visit for 2019/20 information.

All students following the PhD course in Engineering are required to submit a First Year Report (FYR).  This is an important part of your first year and will determine if you will be registered for the PhD Degree and be allowed to continue your course.

You can start thinking about our FYR from the start of your course. Your supervisor will ask you to review the current literature in your area of research so you can start writing your literature survey in your first term. Sessions on writing your First Year Report are offered under our Department of Engineering Training Programme, in Lent and Easter Terms. You are advised to attend one of these sessions.

Your report should be 10,000 – 15,000 words. Although this is not a strict word limit, it should not be necessary for your report to exceed 15,000 words.

Yours report should include the following:

  • Literature Survey
  • Clear statement of the Research Objectives
  • Description of the methods that will be used
  • Progress to date
  • Programme of further research to be carried out for the PhD degree, including realistic estimates of timing and dates.

There is no standard format for the report but the following guidelines should be followed:

  • The report must be written in English
  • Printed on A4 paper in portrait format
  • Double-printed is acceptable
  • One-and-a-half spaced type
  • Minimum font size 11pt and 10pt for any footnotes. Easily readable fonts should be used, for example Arial, Times New Roman.


Students who have completed and been examined for an MPhil or MRes before starting a PhD in the same subject often have concerns about self-plagiarism when it comes to writing their first year probationary report, if the PhD project is a continuation of the MPhil/MRes work.

If previously examined MPhil/MRes research forms part of the background work for the PhD project, the student should state in the report Introduction the extent to which (s)he has drawn on that work. It is recognised that the phrasing and content of the Introduction of the report is likely to be very similar to the MPhil/MRes introduction and this is acceptable. However, it must be entirely updated for submission as part of the first year report. The 'Results and Discussion' section should only include original work which has been conducted in the probationary year. Where it is absolutely essential to include parts (e.g. tables, diagrams etc.) of the work previously examined, these must be clearly identified in the text. The assessors should be in no doubt as to what work the student has completed in their probationary year towards their PhD research and it is this that will be assessed.