Accessibility statement

For academic departments

External examiners are appointed to provide the University with impartial and independent advice through oversight of the assessment process, informative comment on the University’s standards, and on student achievement in relation to those standards.  All taught provision that leads to the award of credit or a qualification of the University (including collaborative provision) must have one or more external examiners appointed.

Academic departments are responsible for presenting candidates for nomination and ensuring that external examiners are provided with all necessary information and support for the effective fulfilment of their role. 

Nomination

Nominations should be submitted at least FOUR MONTHS before the current external examiner’s appointment expires.  This will allow sufficient time for a nomination to be reviewed by the Academic Support Office, considered for approval by the Standing Committee on Assessment, and processed through HR compliance (if applicable).

The University is required to operate within the UK government's rules on working in the UK.  Thus, all nominees who will examine any undergraduate modules or programmes must prove their right to work in the UK before they can do any work.  Nominees should be made aware that the University will not register or pay workers who have not provided suitable documentation. 

For further information about what is required in a right to work check, please email hr-compliance@york.ac.uk.

All nominations must be completed using the University’s standard form (below), and submitted electronically to examiners@york.ac.uk. Paper copies are no longer accepted.

To help ensure that candidates are eligible for nomination, departments are welcome to use the Combined Registers for External Examiners. If you are a staff member at York and you would like access to the Combined Registers, please email Rachel McCormack on examiners@york.ac.uk.

Appointment

The duration of an external examiner’s appointment will normally be for four years, achieving a balance between the need to bring a fresh perspective with the need to benefit from the external’s knowledge and insight gathered over a period of time.

In exceptional circumstances and in order to ensure continuity (for example where a programme has been withdrawn and is being ‘taught out’) the Standing Committee on Assessment will consider a request for a one-year extension to an appointment (this request must be accompanied by a detailed supporting rationale).  

Supporting External Examiners

All newly-appointed external examiners are invited to attend a University induction (these are delivered twice a year, usually in March and in September). The induction is comprised of two parts:

  • the morning – this is delivered by the Chair of the Standing Committee on Assessment and the Academic Support Office. The focus of the session is on the role of the external examiner and on University-level processes and Regulations for progression and award.
  • the afternoon – this is hosted by the Department and should be focused on Departmental-levelprocesses and the provision of programme- (and module) specific information. The overarching purpose is to start to forge a good constructive working relationship and to ensure that the external examiner is provided with all of the necessary department/programme-specific information (including an overview of the ways in which the University-level processes and regulations are implemented locally by the Department). 

It is recommended that the afternoon includes (i) a tour of the Department including an introduction to those who will be working closely with the external examiner (for example the Chair of the Board of Examiners, the Assessment Administrator), (ii) an overview of the programmes/modules curricula the External is overseeing, (iii) an overview of Departmental assessment and feedback policies/procedures, mark schemes and moderation processes, (iv) a timeline of the key contact points in order to support the external examiner to manage the work (including timeframes for commenting on draft assessments and review of samples of work, and Boards of Examiners meeting dates).

Further information

Full details of the procedures relating to the appointment and support of external examiners are outlined in Section 19 of the Guide to Assessment.  You can also read the QAA guidelines outlining their expectations. 

If you require further information about the external examining (taught provision) process please contact the Academic Support Office at examiners@york.ac.uk.