I'm on my third year of my PhD and I just realised I don't know what a good progress report looks like.

I've been writing them from the beginning and was given templates to follow but feedback seems inconsistent. My needs change and my so do my supervisors. I also feel that some weeks are slow and there is nothing useful to report or I plan to do something and end up having to adjust plans halfway through.

What should I tell my supervisor in my weekly progress report?

Similar question but not exactly what I'm asking: What should a progress report contain?

  • 1
    Why isn't the linked post enough?
    – Buffy
    Feb 20, 2022 at 14:10
  • @Buffy That question seems focused on longer reports. Would it work for smaller ones too?
    – Marcus
    Feb 20, 2022 at 14:14
  • 1
    The accepted answer seems pretty good as an outline. In some weeks a section might only have a few words, or even be omitted. In some weeks maybe something added. But what you are experiencing sounds pretty normal, actually.
    – Buffy
    Feb 20, 2022 at 14:17
  • 2
    I'm on my third year of my PhD and I just realised I don't know what a good progress report looks like. Hmm, I got my PhD more than five years ago, and until now I didn't even know that such a thing like weekly progress reports exists... ;-) On a more serious note: May I ask what field you're in and whether this is common in your field? It strikes me as quite bureaucratic. Feb 20, 2022 at 19:50
  • 1
    @Marcus: Thanks for your response! Feb 21, 2022 at 16:19

1 Answer 1


Given that the report is weekly, you can keep it short:

  1. what have you done last week? (in a few short sentences, maybe a graph or two if you have data to show)
  2. what did you plan to do?
  3. if 1 and 2 are different, why?
  4. do you need help with anything?
  5. what are you going to do next week, and why? (keep it small and realistic)
  6. how do the weekly plans fit with the longer term plan?

You may not need to discuss point 6 every week, and 1-5 can be kept very short: if a longer discussion is needed you can use point 4 to request one outside of the weekly updates.

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