Annual Progress Reviews (APR)

The Annual Progress Review (APR) -- Every student, every year, should complete the APR self-evaluation, whether or not applying for departmental financial support. The due date is November 15 (so that advisors writing reference letters have this report before the faculty due date).

The APR has two components--one that is your responsibility and one that is your advisor's:

1) A self-evaluation of your progress over the past year, due to your primary advisor (or joint advisors) -- with cc to DGS to review and to Shannon Croft for your file -- by November 13 each year. This is approximately two weeks before the financial aid deadline so that your advisor has time to write an updated letter of recommendation. If you are not applying for a departmental appointment or fellowship, you still need to write the self-evaluation and submit this to your advisor and the DGS/Graduate Secretary.

The self-evaluation should discuss the following (2 pages should be sufficient, but length is up to you):

  • progress through program stages: preliminary exams, dissertation research and writing, plans for pre-defense and defense, etc
  • other accomplishments: fellowships applied for, conferences presented at or attended, talks given, etc
  • problems encountered and your plans to resolve these
  • advising: assess your advising and mentoring relationships with faculty, including as a TA  
  • NOTE: for comments you wish to make confidentially, including about faculty advising, we encourage you to write separately to the DGS or to the Chair (and/or speak to the DGS or Chair in person at any time)

2) A report from your advisor(s) to you -- with cc to DGS to review and to Shannon Croft for your file -- commenting on their assessment of your progress, addressing the same points as in your report as listed above. In a student's first two years the advisor response is optional (see below). This report is due to you, with a copy to the DGS, by January 25 (or sooner). This report to you is separate from the advisor's confidential letter of recommendation that is due when you apply for financial support. If you would like to reply in writing to your advisor's report, you may do so at any time after you receive their report.

NOTE: This process is part of an ongoing advising and mentoring conversation and not meant as a substitute for regular meetings between students and advisors and with other faculty a student is working with. On advisor-advisee relations, see departmental expectations at In addition, the DGS is always prepared top meet with students and faculty to talk about concerns.

NOTE: During your first two years in the program, in addition to your APR self-report there are annual review meetings with the DGS and your advisor, held toward the end of each of these first two years--see The DGS summarizes this conversation in a letter to each student. If you have settled on a major advisor, their response to your self-report is optional, since the DGS letter will serve as the department statement.

NOTE: Student progress reports and a response from the department (DGS, Graduate Studies Committee, and/or advisor) are required by the Graduate College. For students who do not submit their self-evaluation, the department will put in place a registration and funding hold. For, faculty advisors who do not submit their annual progress evaluation to the student and the DGS, the department will put in place a hold on admitting new graduate students as their advisees. (This policy, which follows Graduate College recommendations, was approved by faculty vote at the November 2018 department meeting).