What is ‘at risk’?
As a graduate researcher, you are expected to progress well throughout your candidature towards a successful timely submission of your thesis.
If your advisory committee (includes your supervisors) identifies that you may not be able to meet your project milestones and goals, your progress is considered to be ‘at risk’ of making unsatisfactory progress.
When can ‘at risk’ be recommended?
‘At risk’ can occur at any point during your candidature.
It is most commonly recommended by the advisory committee as an outcome of a progress review meeting. The panel will aim to identify (with your assistance) why the progress expectation is not met, and give you the opportunity to get back on track.
It may also be requested by your supervisors at other times if they determine that you are not progressing as well as expected, and it can be recommended more than once during candidature.
How long can I be ‘at risk’?
The length of an 'at risk' period is determined by your advisory committee, and will be based on your specific difficulties or problems that hinder your progress. In most cases the duration will be around three months.
- Step 1
- You can be identified as being ‘at risk’ by your supervisors when you are not meeting progress expectations. If this occurs during a progress review meeting, you will be notified of the outcome via your University student email account.
- Step 2
- You will be sent an email to your University student email account outlining why you are considered to be ‘at risk’, what you need to do in order to make satisfactory progress, and the length of your ‘at risk’ period.
- Step 3
- You work towards making satisfactory progress before the deadline. Your supervisors are expected to provide you with support during this time.
- Step 4
- Your supervisors will review your progress during the ‘at risk’ period and decide the outcome (this may occur at a progress review meeting).
- Step 5
- The outcome of the ‘at risk’ period will be sent to your University student email account.
How to get help
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your research workload, or if you are facing personal issues which interfere with your ability to dedicate sufficient time to your research, the University provides a free confidential counselling service.
Information on other student support services that are available to you can be found on the Service Finder webpage.
I've been identified as being 'at risk' of making unsatisfactory progress
This page is for graduate researchers who have received a system-generated email advising of the outcome of their progress review, which advises that they are ‘at risk’. If you haven’t received this email already, you will receive an official notice from your faculty soon.
Please note: being registered as ‘at risk’ with Student Equity and Disability Support is not the same as being ‘at risk’ of making unsatisfactory progress.
How am I officially informed that I’m ‘at risk’?
The notification will be sent to you by your faculty via your University student email account. The email will outline the tasks you need to achieve, and the standard to which you must complete these tasks, during the 'at risk' period. It will also include the length of your ‘at risk’ period.
If you haven’t received the official notification from your faculty about being ‘at risk’ and think you should have by now, contact your local graduate research administrator.
You need to discuss your progress throughout the 'at risk' period with your advisory committee (includes your supervisors), including any successes or problems you encounter.
Being identified as ‘at risk’ can be an emotionally challenging and a stressful time. You are encouraged to make use of the various support services accessible via Service Finder available during and after your ‘at risk’ period.
If you have any questions about the process for ‘at risk’ warnings, you and your supervisors should talk to your local graduate research administrator.
At the end of an 'at risk' period
A progress review meeting will be scheduled at the end of the ‘at risk’ period to discuss and assess whether you have met your progress requirements.
Refer to reviewing my progress for more information about progress reviews.
If you demonstrate satisfactory progress before the end of the ‘at risk’ period, your faculty will notify you that your progress is satisfactory and the 'at risk' period has ended.
If you continue to not meet progress expectations, your committee will request that you be issued with a formal warning of unsatisfactory progress.
In some cases, if you have demonstrated some progress your committee may recommend a further ‘at risk’ notification instead. The written notification will include instructions and further tasks you will need to achieve by the end of the period.