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Following the submission of your thesis or dissertation for examination you may be required to sit an oral examination known as a viva.

PhD, MPhil or EngD students: Your department will contact you to arrange your viva.

MA/MSc students do not usually sit an oral examination. However you may be called for a viva by your department, or at your examiners' discretion.

Your viva will take place within three months of submitting your thesis/dissertation.

The purpose of an oral examination is to allow your examiners to explore your work and satisfy themselves that:

  • the work is of appropriate quality;
  • you are well acquainted with your subject matter;
  • you have applied appropriate research methods;
  • that the work is your own, or if a collaborative piece, that your contribution is adequate.

The oral examination also allows you to respond to any shortcomings identified by the examiners.

You should bring an annotated copy of your thesis to your oral examination (this may be electronic if preferred). No additional material is allowed, unless previously agreed with your examiners. No new material should be presented.

Audio-recording of oral examinations

Oral examinations for all research degrees will be recorded. These recordings are used only in event of an appeal based on the conduct of the examination, or when an additional examiner has been subsequently appointed to resolve a dispute. Recordings will be destroyed one year after the result of the examination has been confirmed, or one year after appeal proceedings have been concluded.

Full regulations surrounding oral examination and recording can be found in the University Policy on Research Degrees (12.16 - 12.31).

Available training

Information for examiners