Accessibility statement

12. Assessment

See also: Appendix 1: Policy on the recordings of second progress review meetings and oral examinations for research degrees

12.1

Assessment rules for research degrees are overseen by the SCA and exceptions to these rules for individual students must be approved by the SCA.

Nature of the thesis

12.2

Assessment for the award of a research degree will normally be on the basis of a thesis, but with the approval of YGRSB the assessment for a specified programme may be on the basis of other materials arising from research. The assessment will be wholly on the basis of the thesis (or other materials prescribed for the programme concerned), and of an oral examination (viva voce), if required.

12.3

The length of a thesis (or the exact nature and extent of other materials prescribed for the programme concerned) shall be determined by the departmental Graduate School Board, taking into account the type and length of the programme and disciplinary norms, and shall be specified in the department’s handbook for research degree students.

12.4

Where a research degree by creative practice has been approved, a department must require that any creative products (musical compositions, performances, films, novels etc.) should be accompanied by a written element which puts the creative practice into its research context.

12.5

If a student wishes to deviate from the approved departmental requirements for the thesis (or other materials prescribed for the programme concerned) this must be approved by SCA on the request of the relevant departmental Graduate School Board.

12.6

A Graduate School Board may decide to permit research students within the department to submit a thesis comprising papers in refereed journals (or similar), with an integrative chapter which summarises the aims, objectives, methodology, results and conclusions of all the work submitted, and explains how it forms a coherent body of work and makes an original contribution to knowledge or understanding. Where co-authored works are submitted, the candidate must provide a written statement, signed by the candidate and by the major contributory co-authors, specifying the candidate’s individual contribution. This option for thesis presentation should not be confused with the PhD by Publication (see Regulation 2.9).

12.7

Research degree candidates are required to prepare and to submit for examination their thesis as specified in the University's requirements. Material submitted for examination (or, following referral, for re-examination) remains the property of the University.

Examiner appointment

12.8

Examiners are appointed by the SCA, acting on behalf of Senate, on the nomination of the Graduate School Board concerned. RSA has delegated authority from the SCA to undertake external examiner approval within certain set parameters.

12.9

At least two, and not more than three, examiners, including at least one external examiner, shall be individually appointed for each candidate. Where three examiners are appointed, two shall be external examiners.

12.10

Any candidate for a research degree award who, at any time, during the five years prior to the date on which they submit their thesis for examination, has been an Academic, Research or Teaching member of staff (at grade 7 or above) of the University shall normally be examined by at least two, and not more than three, examiners, two of whom shall be external examiners. Exemptions from this requirement may only be made by the SCA on the recommendation of the Graduate School Board concerned. Where a second external examiner is required, the candidate shall, in this instance, be liable for the examiner’s fee.

12.11

Where two external examiners are used, and there is no internal examiner, an internal chair should be appointed, who should be a member of current academic staff in the relevant faculty (and not necessarily an expert on the subject of the thesis) other than the supervisor. The role of the chair is to communicate with the student and supervisor(s), arrange the oral examination, oversee the process, and to ensure that the examination is conducted according to the University’s policies and regulations. One of the external examiners must be designated to fulfil the academic expectations normally assigned to the internal examiner following the examination.

Internal examiners

12.12

The roles of supervisor and examiner are quite separate and it is for this reason that the University has a policy that a candidate’s supervisor(s) cannot be appointed as their internal examiner. A supervisor's main responsibility is to help the student to pursue his or her research and to present the results to best advantage. The role of the examiner is to determine whether the results so presented meet the academic standard required. Thus, when a student discusses with their supervisor(s) the submission of the thesis, any endorsement by the supervisor(s) of the intention to submit in no way prejudges the outcome of the subsequent assessment, which is entirely a matter for the examiners. The supervisor(s) may discuss with the candidate the purpose and possible nature of the oral examination, while making it clear that they are unable to predict how the examination will be conducted, or its outcome.

12.13

The internal examiner must be able to make an independent academic judgement on the candidate’s thesis. The role of the internal examiner is to communicate with the student and supervisor(s), arrange the oral examination, oversee the process, and to ensure that the examination is conducted according to the University’s policies and regulations. An internal examiner will normally be a member of the University’s Academic, Research or Teaching staff, other than the candidate’s supervisor(s). Retired members of the University’s Academic, Research or Teaching staff may also be engaged to be internal examiners at the external examiner rate where this is academically justified.

12.14

An internal examiner should not have had co-authoring or collaborative involvement in the candidate’s current research project, and their work should not be the focus of the student’s thesis. An internal examiner should not have served as an official or unofficial supervisor to the student concerned and should not have advised on the final drafting of the student’s thesis.

12.15

A member of the TAP (other than the supervisor(s)) or a member of a student’s progression panel may be appointed as an internal examiner, providing that the afore-mentioned conditions are met.  Any doubts about the perceived suitability of the internal examiner should be referred to the Assistant Registrar (Research and Financial Support).

12.16

If an internal examiner is appointed who has not had previous experience of being a PhD examiner, then their department should allocate an experienced mentor to guide the new internal through the process. The internal examiner should also be offered the opportunity for the oral examination to be overseen by an independent chair (see above).

External examiners

12.17

An external examiner will normally be a member of the academic staff of another higher education institution in the United Kingdom, or be of comparable academic standing. External examiners should have appropriate levels of expertise and experience, and the capacity to command authority and the respect of their colleagues in their particular field. Departments should provide a CV for each external examiner nominated. Where a nominee for appointment as external examiner is not a UK-based Professor or a Reader or of equivalent status, evidence should be provided that the nominee meets the foregoing criteria. An external examiner should not have had co-authoring or collaborative involvement in the candidate’s work, and their work should not be the focus of the student’s thesis.

12.18

Examiners should be independent, impartial, of suitable professional standing and not have any known conflict of interest which might impinge on their role as external examiner, with reference to the current Guidance for the appointment of examiners for research degrees provided by the SCA. Where there is a question regarding potential conflicts, queries should be forwarded to the Dean of the YGRS. The same external examiner may be appointed to examine no more than two research degree candidates in the same department in any 12-month period, and no more than four research degree candidates in the same department in any 36-month period.

12.19

Former students or members of staff may not normally be nominated for appointment as an external examiner unless a period of five or more years has elapsed since they left the University. The candidate’s supervisor or proposed internal examiner should not normally be appointed, currently or within the last six months, to examine a research student in the proposed external examiner’s department. An external examiner for a taught degree may be nominated for appointment as an external examiner for a research degree.

Unexaminable theses

12.20

In cases of a thesis being rendered unexaminable as a result of remote (i.e. third-party) printing errors or file corruption, the examiners should notify RSA as soon as possible, and no later than four weeks after receipt. RSA will contact the student to request an examinable version of the thesis originally submitted for examination, to be submitted within five working days.

Requests for confidentiality

12.21

Where it has been agreed that the content of a candidate’s thesis should not be divulged publicly, the examiners should honour the request: this may be particularly important in the case of commercially-sponsored studentships and/or in the very rare cases where access to a thesis is to be restricted. In such cases, the candidate may be asked to provide an abstract suitable for placing in the public domain.

Requirement for an oral examination

12.22

The requirement for an oral examination is as follows:

MPhil, PhD, EngD

  1. Every candidate for the MPhil, PhD or EngD degree is required to attend an oral examination on the subject of the thesis and on related matters. The oral examination forms an important part of the examination for the award of the degree; it is by no means simply a formality.
  2. Very exceptionally, the SCA may grant exemption from the oral examination for an MPhil/PhD/EngD candidate on the recommendation of the examiners concerned where the thesis has met the requirements for the degree, but the candidate is permanently unable to present themselves for oral examination for medical or compassionate reasons. The examiners should always accompany their recommendation with a full explanation of the particular circumstances. The approval of the Committee for waiving the oral examination must be obtained before the examiners submit their joint report (see below). The oral examination may not be waived, except with the candidate's consent, in cases where the thesis fails to satisfy the examiners.

MA/MSc by research

  1. Candidates for the degrees of MA/MSc by research may be required, as a condition of their degree programme, to attend in person an oral examination on the subject of the thesis (or other materials submitted for examination) and on related matters. Where not required by the programme, an oral examination may nevertheless be required for an individual candidate, at the discretion of the examiners, in order to ensure that the work submitted for examination is the candidate’s own or that the candidate meets the standard required for the degree. In both cases, the oral examination forms an important part of the examination for the award of the degree; it is by no means simply a formality. The decision as to whether or not to require a candidate to attend an oral examination should be made as soon as possible (and no later than six weeks) after the receipt of the thesis by the examiners.
  2. Where the oral examination is a requirement of the MA/MSc by research degree programme, the SCA may, very exceptionally, grant exemption from the oral examination on the recommendation of the examiners concerned where the thesis has met the requirements for the degree, but the candidate is permanently unable to present themselves for oral examination for medical or compassionate reasons. The examiners should always accompany their recommendation with a full explanation of the particular circumstances. The approval of the Committee for waiving the oral examination must be obtained before the examiners submit their joint report (see below). The oral examination may not be waived, except with the candidate's consent, in cases where the thesis fails to satisfy the examiners.
  3. If an oral examination is not a requirement of the MA/MSc by research programme, the department should specify what other procedures (for example, an internal presentation by the candidate with the internal examiner present) are used to verify that the work submitted for examination is the candidate's work.
  4. Where an oral examination is held for an MA/MSc by research candidate then the process should follow that for MPhil/PhD candidates. Where an oral examination is not required (see (i) above) then the examiners should exchange preliminary reports, before agreeing a joint examination report (which may refer to the preliminary reports).

The purpose of the oral examination

12.23

The purpose of the oral examination is to allow the examiners the opportunity to explore and to satisfy themselves regarding the areas listed in points below:

MPhil, PhD, EngD 

  1. in the case of a PhD or EngD candidate, that the thesis represents a substantial original contribution to knowledge or understanding, and is worthy of publication, either in full or in an abridged form; or in the case of an MPhil candidate, that the thesis represents a recognizable original contribution to knowledge or understanding;
  2. that the candidate is well-acquainted with the general field of knowledge to which their research relates (the examiners should make a particular point of ensuring that the questions they ask at the oral examination serve to establish the candidate's wider background knowledge if this is not evident in the thesis);
  3. that there is evidence of training in, and the application of, appropriate research methods;
  4. that the work submitted is the candidate’s own (or, if done in collaboration, that the candidate’s share in the research is adequate); 
  5. that the mode of presentation is satisfactory.

MA/MSc by research

  1. that the candidate has completed a piece of research commensurate with the period of study, including some original work;
  2. that the candidate has an adequate understanding of research methods;  
  3. that the work submitted is the candidate’s own (or, if done in collaboration, that the candidate’s share in the research is adequate); 
  4. that the mode of presentation is satisfactory.

12.24

The oral examination also allows the candidate an opportunity to respond to any shortcomings identified by the examiners.

12.25

In accordance with UK norms, oral examinations at York are 'closed', that is only the candidate and examiners are present (with the addition, in some instances, of an internal chair, independent observer or the supervisor). Where required as part of a joint or double PhD programme with an international university (see double and joint PhD programmes, section 15), a public defence (i.e. open to all) may supplement the closed oral examination.

12.26

Candidates are encouraged to access support in preparation for the oral examination. RETT offers sessions on preparing for the oral examination and departments should also provide support, such as offering their research students the opportunity to undertake a mock oral examination.

The organisation of the oral examination

12.27

It is the responsibility of the internal examiner (or of the member of staff appointed as internal chair (see above), if no internal examiner is appointed) to make arrangements for the oral examination.

12.28

The oral examination should be held within three months of the date of submission of the thesis. Permission to hold the oral examination more than three months after this date must be obtained from the SCA. The internal examiner should agree the date of the oral examination in consultation with the external examiner(s) and the candidate.

12.29

The candidate, the external examiner(s) and the internal examiner (or chair) should all be present at the oral examination. Where possible, this should be an in-person meeting at the University of York. The SCA may grant permission for the oral examination to be held elsewhere, as long as the premises are suitable for conducting an oral examination. Any proposal to SCA must include written consent (e.g. by email) from the candidate and the external examiner(s).

12.30

The SCA may grant permission for one or more of the parties to participate in the oral examination by video-conferencing. Any proposal to SCA must include written consent (e.g. by email) from the candidate and the external examiner(s). Where participation by video-conferencing has been approved, participation in an oral examination should always start as an audio-video conference call. Should connection problems arise, the oral examination can move to audio-only (i.e. audio-only conference call or telephone call), but only if: i) all parties consent (and continue to do so: this consent should be be recorded), and ii) the recording of the oral examination can be continued in an appropriate format. If consent to continue as audio-only is not given, the remainder of the oral examination must be rescheduled.

12.31

Each examiner should prepare a preliminary report on the thesis (on the correct form in the student's Google examination folder) which reflects their independent academic judgement and identifies the principal issues which they wish to raise in the oral examination. Each examiner will have access to the preliminary reports of the other examiner.

12.32

Before the oral examination the supervisor should ensure that the examiners are informed if the candidate needs specific arrangements to be put in place because of disability, exceptional stress and/or cultural differences. At the request of the candidate, and with the consent of the examiners, the supervisor or another member of academic or professional support staff approved by the Graduate School Board concerned may be present at the oral examination as a silent spectator.

12.33

In order to ensure that the oral examination is conducted fairly, the internal examiner should act as chair of the examination and shall ensure that it is conducted in accordance with this Policy. Where two external examiners are used, and there is no internal examiner, the department concerned should provide an internal chair (see above), the internal chair shall submit a brief report on the conduct of the oral examination to the SCA.

12.34

Care should be taken to make the candidate feel at ease at the examination. To this end, the layout of the examination room should be given careful thought and provision should be made for short breaks/refreshments etc. as required, particularly for longer oral examinations. In addition, the examiners should consider, for example, starting with general comments or questions, or whether positive points can be made about the thesis. It is also important to give the candidate ample opportunity to talk about what they consider to be the strengths of the thesis.

12.35

If the candidate has a disability, reasonable adjustments to the examination process (e.g. the provision of longer rest breaks) may be needed to accommodate this. As noted previously, the examiners should be made aware of any disabilities or other circumstances (e.g. exceptional stress) that may affect the candidate’s performance.

12.36

Students should bring a copy of their thesis to the oral examination, and this may be annotated, but they should not bring any additional materials to the examination without the prior agreement of the internal and external examiners (to allow, for example, a candidate to demonstrate a computer simulation). No new material should be presented as part of the thesis at the oral examination.

Recording the oral examination

12.37

A recording (audio or audio-visual) must be made of all oral examinations for research degrees, as a means of providing an objective record of the oral examination in the event of an appeal. The University makes appropriate recording equipment available to departments for this purpose or departments may use a built-in record function when an oral examination is taking place via video-conferencing. Recordings will be stored centrally in a secure manner, and will be listened to only if an appeal is received from the candidate based on the conduct of the examination, or by an additional examiner subsequently appointed where the examiners have failed to agree between themselves whether or not the candidate has satisfied the requirements for a particular degree and the departmental Graduate School Board has been unable to resolve the disagreement (see below). Recordings will be destroyed one year after the final result of the examination has been confirmed by the SCA or, if an appeal is received, after consideration of the appeal within the University or subsequently by the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education has been concluded.

12.38

Each department is responsible for ensuring that a recording is made of all oral examinations undertaken by research degree candidates, in accordance with Appendix 1. These requirements are not waived for oral examinations conducted via video-conferencing.

Examination outcome

12.39

Following the (oral) examination of a candidate for a research degree, the following recommendations are open to the examiners:

For PhD and EngD candidates

If the examiners agree that the requirements for the degree concerned have been satisfied they may recommend: 

i. that the degree should be awarded with no corrections; OR

ii. that the degree should be awarded subject to corrections to the thesis, to be completed within three months of the candidate receiving the list of corrections, to the satisfaction of the internal or another of the examiners; in making this recommendation, examiners should be assured that students can make any necessary corrections in the allotted time, notwithstanding any other commitments such as full-time employment.

If the examiners agree that the requirements for the degree concerned have not yet been satisfied but that the thesis could be revised within one year to the appropriate standard (see section 2), they may recommend:

iii. that the candidate should be allowed a period not exceeding 12 months, from the date on which they received notification of the revisions to be made, in which to revise and resubmit the thesis for examination (referral). A candidate will normally be given only one opportunity to revise and resubmit their thesis.

If the examiners agree that the requirements for the degree concerned have not been satisfied they may recommend:

iv. that the degree of MPhil should be awarded with no corrections to thesis; OR

v. that the degree of MPhil should be awarded subject to corrections to the thesis, to be completed within three months of the candidate receiving the list of corrections, to the satisfaction of the internal or another of the examiners; OR

vi. that the degree of MA (by research) or MSc (by research) should be awarded with no corrections to thesis; OR

vii.that the degree of MA (by research) or MSc (by research) should be awarded subject to corrections to the thesis, to be completed within one month of the candidate receiving the list of corrections, to the satisfaction of the internal or another of the examiners; OR

viii. that no degree should be awarded. 

Additionally, for EngD candidates:

ix. that the degree of MSc should be awarded.

Note that the EngD also has Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate exit awards from the taught component of the programme.

For MPhil candidates

If the examiners agree that the requirements for the degree concerned have been satisfied they may recommend: 

i. that the degree should be awarded with no corrections; OR

ii. that the degree should be awarded subject to corrections to the thesis, to be completed within three months of the candidate receiving the list of corrections, to the satisfaction of the internal or another of the examiners; in making this recommendation, examiners should be assured that students can make any necessary corrections in the allotted time, notwithstanding any other commitments such as full-time employment.

If the examiners agree that the requirements for the degree concerned have not yet been satisfied but that the thesis could be revised within one year to the appropriate standard (see section 2), they may recommend 

iii. that the candidate should be allowed a period not exceeding 12 months, from the date on which s/he received notification of the revisions to be made, in which to revise and resubmit the thesis for examination (referral). A candidate will normally be given only one opportunity to revise and resubmit their thesis.

If the examiners agree that the requirements for the degree concerned have not been satisfied they may recommend:

iv. that the degree of MA (by research) or MSc (by research) should be awarded with no corrections to thesis; OR

v. that the degree of MA (by research) or MSc (by research) should be awarded subject to corrections to the thesis, to be completed within one month of the candidate receiving the list of corrections, to the satisfaction of the internal or another of the examiners; OR

vi. that no degree should be awarded. 

For MA/MSc by research candidates

If the examiners agree that the requirements for the degree concerned have been satisfied they may recommend: 

i. that the degree should be awarded with no corrections; OR

ii. that the degree should be awarded subject to corrections to the thesis, to be completed within one month of receiving the list of corrections, to the satisfaction of the internal or another of the examiners;

If the examiners agree that the requirements for the degree concerned have not yet been satisfied but that the thesis could be revised within three months to the appropriate standard (see section 2), they may recommend:

iii. that the candidate should be allowed a period not exceeding three months, from the date on which they received notification of the revisions to be made, in which to revise and resubmit the thesis for examination (referral). A candidate will normally be given only one opportunity to revise and resubmit their thesis.

If the examiners agree that the requirements for the degree concerned have not been satisfied they may recommend:

iv. that no degree should be awarded.

It should be noted that a mark-scale is not applicable to an MA/MSc by research, and the degree of MA/MSc by research may not be awarded with distinction or merit.

Examiners’ reports

12.40

The examiners should submit a joint report (Joint Examiners Report) on the appropriate form (to be found in the student's Google examination folder) within two weeks of the oral examination (if held). The report should conclude with a clear recommendation indicating whether or not the student has satisfied the requirements for the degree concerned.

12.41

The examiners' report should contain sufficient detail to enable the SCA to assess the scope and significance of the work contained in the thesis. In particular, it should give a brief description of the subject matter. The report should go on to contain specific statements about each of the matters listed above under ‘the purpose of the oral examination’ (see 12.23). The examiners' report form contains a separate section for comments on the oral examination (where applicable). The examiners should give a brief account of the length of the examination, the ground covered in it, and the level of the candidate's performance. If the examiners have had to use the oral examination to establish the candidate’s wider background knowledge, this should be stated; and they should also give an indication of how well the candidate responded to the questions concerned.

12.42

If the examiners recommend that the degree should be awarded subject to corrections (where corrections means changes to the scholarly part of the thesis, including the correction of typographic errors, but not requiring major re-working or re-interpretation of the intellectual content of the thesis), a candidate must be notified in writing by RSA of any corrections to be made to their thesis. Examiners should submit their list of corrections to RSA, alongside the Joint Examiners Report, within two weeks of the examination. RSA will process and send the corrections to the student within two weeks of receipt from the examiners.

12.43

The final version of the corrected thesis (including a 'tracked changes' and 'summary' document) must be submitted electronically to RSA (via the University Drop-Off system) within three months of the PhD/EngD/MPhil student being sent the list of corrections, or within one month for an MA/MSc by research candidate. Failure to submit the final version of the corrected thesis by the deadline will result in failure of the degree. Any consultation between the candidate and the internal examiner about the direction or appropriateness of corrections must happen during this period: no further revisions can be made after submission of the final version of the corrected thesis. RSA will send the corrected thesis to the internal examiner, who should consider the corrections and send a completed corrections approval form to RSA within two weeks of receipt of the corrected thesis.

12.44

In any case where the examiners recommend that the candidate should be awarded a degree for which they were not enrolled (i.e. an MPhil or MA/MSc by research if a PhD or EngD candidate; an MA/MSc by research if an MPhil candidate), it is important that the examiners' report should include a clear and full statement as to why they are not prepared to recommend that the candidate should be given the opportunity to revise and resubmit the thesis. In such cases it may be open to the candidate to appeal against the examiners' recommendations on the grounds of unfair or improper conduct of the examination, or prejudice on the part of the examiners, but not their academic judgement.

Consideration of the examiners’ reports

12.45

The examiners’ joint report should be submitted to the Graduate Chair in the department concerned for ratification as soon as possible, and in any case within two weeks of the date of the oral examination. Where no oral examination is held (for example, in the case of a candidate for the MA or MSc by research), the examiners’ report should be submitted to the department concerned as soon as possible and in any case within three months of the date of the submission of the thesis for examination.

12.46

After ratification, the Joint Examiners Report will be sent to RSA, who will forward it to the candidate and the supervisor. RSA will arrange for it to be approved by a member of the SCA, acting on behalf of the Committee.

12.47

If the examiners recommend that the degree should be awarded, and following the completion, to the satisfaction of the internal or another of the examiners, of any corrections which the examiners may require, the candidate shall deposit the thesis in accordance with the University's requirements. Deposited material remains the property of the University. Failure to submit the thesis in accordance with the University’s requirements, and within the deadlines stipulated in the relevant correspondence from RSA, will mean that the candidate will not have met the requirements of the degree (see Regulation 2.7.9), and will be deemed to have failed.

12.48

The result of the examination will be formally communicated to the candidate by RSA normally within two weeks of receipt of the examiners’ report from the department concerned or within two weeks of the deposit by the candidate of the thesis, whichever is the later.

Disagreement between examiners

12.49

In the rare cases where the examiners fail to agree between themselves whether or not a candidate has satisfied the requirements for a particular degree and the departmental Graduate School Board is unable to resolve the disagreement, the examiners should prepare individual reports for the consideration of the Graduate School Board which should forward them to the SCA together with a recommendation for the appointment of an additional external examiner. The additional external examiner will decide, on the basis of the other examiners’ reports, of the thesis, and of the recording of the oral examination (where available) whether or not the candidate has satisfied the requirements for the degree. The decision of the additional external examiner, which will be communicated by the University to the other examiners, will be final.

Revision and resubmission of the thesis

12.50

If the examiners agree that the requirements for the degree concerned have not yet been satisfied but there is the potential for the requirements to be satisfied, they may recommend that the thesis should be revised and resubmitted for examination. RSA will send an official letter of notification to the candidate once the examiners' report has been received in RSA and has been approved by the SCA. This letter will state, among other things, that the candidate's internal examiner or internal chair will provide him/her with written guidance as to the revisions needed to bring the thesis up to the required standard. It will also ask the candidate to get in touch with RSA if they do not receive this written guidance.

12.51

Where a recommendation for the revision and resubmission of a thesis is made, the examiners should, within two weeks of the date of the oral examination, provide advice on the Corrections/Revisions form in the student's Google examination folder concerning the points which should be borne in mind by the candidate when revising the thesis.

12.52

The candidate should not expect to receive a mechanical list of revisions to be made, particularly when the revisions required involve major improvements in the depth, intellectual quality, analysis, argument or structure of the thesis. If the student requires any clarification regarding the required revisions after receipt of the examination report, the student should contact their supervisor who can then judge if it is necessary to request further clarification from the internal examiner. Neither student nor supervisor should contact the external examiner directly without their express permission.

12.53

The University expects that candidates will be given a fair and reasonable opportunity to revise the thesis to the required standard, whatever the circumstances of the resubmission. To this end, the candidate should be offered the opportunity of an initial meeting with the supervisor to discuss the examiners’ requirements for revision. Thereafter, the need for further meetings will vary from case to case, according to, for example, the availability of the student and the extent of the revisions needed. The University accepts that there may be cases in which the student/supervisor relationship comes under strain as a result of the examiners' decision to refer the thesis; and in these cases it may be more appropriate, at the discretion of the Graduate Chair of the departmental concerned, for another member of the department to take on responsibility for mediating feedback. Candidates in their revise and resubmit period will retain access to computing and library facilities.

Examination following revision and resubmission

12.54

The outcomes of the examination are the same recommendations as listed above under ‘examination outcomes’ except that a candidate’s thesis may only be revised and resubmitted on one occasion i.e. that for PhD and EngD candidates recommendation 12.39 (a) (iii) does not apply, for MPhil candidates recommendation 12.39 (b) (iii) does not apply and for MA/MSc by research candidates recommendation 12.39 (c) (iii) does not apply.

12.55

The candidate should prepare and submit for examination their revised thesis as per the process for the original submission, and as specified in the University's requirements. The candidate must pay the prescribed re-examination fee before submission.

12.56

The re-examination of a candidate following the revision and resubmission of the thesis will normally be conducted by the individuals who conducted the original examination. In exceptional circumstances (for example due to a substantial change in the health or employment circumstances of an examiner), a new examiner or examiners may need to be appointed by the SCA.

12.57

Where an examiner must be replaced between an initial examination and a re-examination of the thesis, the second examination will normally have the same status as any other re-examination.  The new examiner should have access to the original examiners’ reports in order to inform their assessment, but the primary measure of success should be the academic judgement of the examiners as to whether the standards of the award have been met, rather than whether the revisions outlined by the original examiner have been made. Exceptionally, where the examiners agree that the change of examiner may have resulted in conflicting views about the nature of appropriate revisions, they may recommend (to the SCA) a further referral of the thesis.

12.58

The decision as to whether or not to require a candidate to attend an oral examination following the revision and resubmission of a thesis is left to the discretion of the examiners, although if the examiners are considering a downgrade (with or without corrections) or fail outcome, a second oral examination must be offered. The decision on whether to require an oral examination should be made as soon as possible (and no later than six weeks) after the receipt of the revised thesis by the examiners. Each examiner must submit an independent preliminary report on the resubmitted thesis, whether or not an oral examination is required. If the examiners agree that an oral examination should not be held, they must specify their reasons for this decision in their preliminary reports. If an oral examination is held, it should be within three months of the submission of the revised thesis.

12.59

Unless an oral examination is held, the examiners’ reports (i.e. the independent preliminary reports plus the joint report) on the revised thesis should be submitted to the Graduate Chair in the department concerned as soon as possible and in any case within three months of the date of the resubmission of the revised thesis for examination.