Introductory remarks to candidate
The internal examiner (or Independent Chair) shall:
- Introduce themselves and the external examiner(s)
- Confirm the purpose of the viva
- Explain anything the examiners have agreed about how they will proceed to conduct the viva
- For a viva conducted via video link; confirm the etiquette for the viva, such as hand raising and what to do in the event of any technical issues.
The examiners should endeavour to establish an atmosphere in which the candidate will be able to perform to the best of their ability.
Normally, the examiners will start with some general/introductory questions that are designed to put the candidate at their ease.
The phrasing and tone of questions should be such that the candidate is able to provide helpful clarification, and appropriate evidence and elaboration. Questioning should not be hostile or designed to ‘catch the candidate out’.
Reaching a decision
Once the viva has finished, the candidate will leave the room/virtual room and the examiners will reach a decision on the recommended result. The examiners should recommend one of the outcomes listed in the University’s Principal Regulations for Research Degrees (4.33). The outcome must be decided on academic grounds only; it is not the examiners’ responsibility to take into account personal circumstances of the candidate, which could affect their ability to meet the timescale set by the examiners.
The candidate will be invited back into the room/virtual room to be told the recommended result and the reasons for the decision. If corrections are required the candidate should be told that they will be provided with an agreed written list of corrections to be done, which will be sent to them by the Postgraduate Research Education Team once approved by the Faculty Dean (Postgraduate).
If the examiners are unable to agree the outcome then they should advise the candidate that this is the case and that further communication shall come from the Postgraduate Research Education Team.
If the examiners agree on the decision, they will invite the candidate back in to inform them of their recommendation.
Failure to agree
In the event of disagreement on the viva outcome, the examiners may, after due consideration between themselves, certify that their failure to agree on an outcome is irreconcilable. Two new examiners shall then be appointed. The new examiners shall examine the thesis and conduct a viva. The new examiners may recommend to the Dean any result that was open to the original examiners and their decision on the recommendation shall be final, subject only to any right of appeal that may be given under the provisions of other Regulations.