Goals at Halfway point


Hi everyone

I am now over half way through my 4 year PhD programme.

I am wondering what everybody thinks the typical milestones passed for this stage should be, and am trying to gauge my progress. My supervisors tell me I'm on the right track and not to worry but I can't help it!

I have 2 chapters worth of data (I hope!) so far and my project is in the biological sciences.

Would really appreciate any feedback from anyone in similar position

Thank you so much



That sounds pretty good to me! I think I had one chapters data at that point and I was about to start a new experiment for another (it should have been done earlier than this but there were major delays out of my control). I had samples that needed processing in the lab for the other two data chapters which took forever so unfortunately all my data came together at the end which delayed me a bit! As long as you have written down your methods and are thinking about your chapter structure and literature review you should be fine!


I have the same problem. My PhD is in social science and I am 18 months in. I keep worrying about getting behind and my supervisor has kept telling me I'm doing fine and keep going and not to worry. Until a few months ago when she told me your not behind but you need to get your finger out which to me was totally ccontradictory and made me panic but it worked. I did indeed get my finger out but it has made me constantly worried that I'm falling behind now.

I haven't got any chapters written yet but have two papers in the pipeline to get published and I've started working on a 3rd. Each project is different so milestones will also different slightly between PhDs and between disciplines.


To add to what clairaN said, the guidance can also differ between supervisors. My first supervisor (who left the uni at the end of my first year) had a constantly concerned look and said I needed results in my first year, which was impossible because recruitment for my study was a nightmare. My new supervisors, on the other hand, thought I was making great progress as soon as they took over, even though data collection still hadn't got off the ground.

I am trying to keep to my own idea of being 'on track', by working backwards from the date when I would like to be finished, allowing enough time for writing up, and dividing the remaining time up and setting rough targets of when things should be done.


Thank you all for your input. It's a tough one - I think what Chickpea has said is right in that guidance differs between supervisors. I think that at the end of the day we just have to trust them as we've little alternative choices!