The postgraduate research examination process

The examination process for postgraduate research students consists of seven stages, described below.

More detailed guidance for Examiners and Chairs on their role in the process is available in the sub-pages to this web page.

Templates for the reports referenced in the stages are available beneath the list.

  1. Appointment of Examiners is agreed by the Research Degrees Committee. Following consultation with the student and his/her supervisor, the RI Postgraduate Committee will make a recommendation on appointment.
  2. Submission of the research thesis. This is handled by the Quality Assurance Office on behalf of PAA. Further details about submission are available in the 'current students' section of these pages.
  3. Pre-Viva Examiner's Report Forms are compiled by each of the appointed examiners and are intended to reflect on the work that has been submitted, identify topics for discussion at the oral examination and make an initial recommendation on the outcome.
  4. Oral examination is also known as the 'viva voce' or simply 'viva'. This is a meeting between the examiners and the student and is chaired by an independent academic member of staff. The oral examination is an opportunity for the examiners to clarify or ask questions about elements of the student's thesis and for the student to defend his/her arguments.
  5. A Post-Viva Examiners' Joint Report Form is written after the viva and makes a recommendation on the outcome of the examination process to be considered by Research Degrees Committee.
  6. Approval of outcome by Research Degrees Committee is sought following receipt of the Post-Viva Examiners' Joint Report Form. The Committee will consider the report and the recommendaiton of the examiners and either approve it (and send it to Senate) or ask for it to be revised before approval.
  7. Award by Senate is the final step, when the degree is confirmed. Before the award can be made by Senate, a copy of the final draft of the thesis (approved by the examiners) is bound and lodged in the Library.