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Half-time review

Purpose of the half-time review

All doctoral students admitted to research studies are to undergo a review of their project approximately halfway through their period of study. This is known as the half-time review.

The aim of the half-time review is for the supervisors and the doctoral student to determine whether the project is progressing and achieving the results expected in the individual study plan established at the time of admission to third cycle studies. The review also serves to check the achievement of targets with regard to general knowledge and skills examined via the portfolio.

Preparations for the half-time review


Once the supervisor and the doctoral student are in agreement that half the period of research studies has passed, the supervisor takes the initiative to implement a half-time review. The review takes the form of a public seminar, which is announced within the department in good time (there is no need to register the event with the faculty office). In addition to information about where and when the seminar will take place, an abstract in English should be sent to the Department. The abstract should include a maximum of 350 words preferably with the following headings:

  • Title
  • Background
  • Research question/Method
  • Preliminary results
  • Significance

The abstract and information on where and when the seminar will take place should be sent to the following persons at respective Department:

Dept of Experimental Medical Sciences

Katarina Branzen

Dept of Health Sciences

Magnus C Persson

Dept of Clinical Sciences, Lund

Olle Dahlbäck
Olle Dahlbäck

Dept of Clinical Sciences, Malmö

Björn Martinsson

Dept of Laboratory Medicine, Lund

Åsa Hansdotter

Dept of Translational Medicine

Björn Martinsson


Before the half-time review, the following compulsory courses need to have been successfully completed: Introductory course, Oral communication, Scientific communication, Research Ethics, Applied qualitative methodology, Applied statistics I and Applied statistics II (for detailed information on which statistical courses are mandatory depending on which year you have been admitted as a PhD student, please see the following page: Compulsory courses).

Appoint reviewers

The supervisor appoints two external reviewers (=outside their own research team) who are to be PhD-holding researchers not linked to the project. The reviewers must not have co-authored works with the supervisor and/or the doctoral student within the current project. One of the reviewers should have specialist expertise within the subject of the thesis project, while the other should have broader expertise within the subject in question. The Research Studies Board has decided that as of September 1st 2018, one of the reviewers should be Associate Professor (docent). The Board further recommends that the same Associate Professor acting as reviewer at the half-time seminar, is part of the thesis committee at the time of the thesis defence. 

Summary of the project

The doctoral student is to write a brief summary of the project. This summary is to be sent to the external reviewers at the latest two weeks before the half-time review and is to be distributed to those present at the seminar. If there is a complete manuscript/offprint available, the account is to be a 1–2 page description of the project with the manuscript/offprint attached. If no manuscript is available, the account should be longer, approximately 10–15 pages, in manuscript form.

Individual study plan

The doctoral student is also to send the original and at least one updated version of the study plan to the external reviewers for inspection.


In addition, the portfolio is to be sent to the external reviewers for assessment two weeks before the midway review. The Portfolio should be sent in the form of a display page from Mahara or in the form of a pdf file. Assessment of the portfolio means that the half-time reviewer reads and discusses the portfolio with the student and gives his/her input and suggestions for improvement. More information about the portfolio can be found on information Portfolio

The document “Guide portfolio content”, which is found on the portfolio web page, provides support for those assessing the portfolio.

At the seminar

At the seminar, the doctoral student presents the work completed so far and the plans for further project work up to the public defence of the thesis. The presentation is followed by a question and answer session in which the external reviewers discuss the results and the further planned work up to the degree, as well as checking the doctoral student’s expertise in the subject. The seminar concludes with a general discussion between the doctoral student, the audience, the supervisor and the external reviewers.

A time limit should be set on the question and answer session. All supervisors are to take part in the half-time review.

After this, a private discussion takes place between the doctoral student, the supervisors and the external reviewers, addressing both the research work and the doctoral student’s portfolio and general development. The doctoral student is also to get a chance to speak privately with the external reviewers. In cases where the midway review reveals that progress is unsatisfactory and/or that it has proved impossible to follow the individual study plan, it is up to the assistant head of department for third-cycle studies, in consultation with the doctoral student, the supervisor and the external reviewers, to discuss the further work towards the public defence of the thesis and, where appropriate, a revision of the study plan. It is the responsibility of the external reviewers, in these cases, to fill in the form (appendix 1) in the document Instructions and certificate and send to the Assistant Head of Department along with the certificate. 

 The half-time review can be replaced by a licentiate degree.

After the seminar

After the half-time review the portfolio, updated on the basis of the half-time reviewers’ recommendations, along with the certificate of completed half-time review should to be sent to the Assistant Head of Department for research studies. A signed certificate is then sent by the Assistant Head of Department to the Faculty Office for registration in LADOK.

A copy of the certificate from the half-time review together with the form Completed stage, doctoral student agreement

is sent to the salary administrator at the doctoral student’s department for salary adjustment.

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