How to survive your viva by howardtheduck


									How to survive your viva
Chris Park – Director, Graduate School

Before the Viva
• Examiners
– normally 2 – 1 internal, 1 external – staff = 2 internals

• Supervisor
– may attend Viva if examiners happy

• Examiners must
– have subject expertise – be research active – have experience of supervising and examining (at least in team)

• Selection
– chosen by Department – approved by Director of Graduate School – student consulted; no right of veto

Preparing for submission & Viva
• Supervisor’s blessing
– advised, not compulsory
– Postgraduate Studies Office in Uni House

• Copies
– need 1 copy for each examiner and 1 for supervisor if you wish – can be soft bound – no loose sheets allowed

• Viva
– may take weeks/months – ask supervisor to arrange a mock viva – think about
• • • • research rationale originality contribution to knowledge strong and weak points

The PhD Viva
• An integral part of the examining process
– may confirm a favourable impression of thesis – may compensate for weaknesses

• Allows examiners to assure themselves that
– the research is original – the candidate did the work – the candidate is capable of future research unsupervised

• Allows candidate to
– defend research/thesis – expand and clarify

Key aspects of the Viva
• Typical duration 1-2 hours • Evidence
– Independent Chair – Audio record (tape)

• Examiners
– equal status and responsibilities – share the asking of questions

• Questions may be wideranging and demanding, but the tone should be civilised • It is usual at the end to ask the candidate to withdraw
– does not mean you have failed!

• Supervisor, if present, is a silent witness

Criteria for award of PhD
• Convincing evidence of capacity to pursue research/scholarship in 3 years full-time • Thesis to make an original contribution to knowledge • Thesis must contain material of a standard appropriate for publication • Thesis must comply with regulations on length, form etc
– don’t forget the Abstract

Outcome of the Viva
• PhD awarded forthwith • PhD awarded subject to minor corrections (in 3 months) • PhD awarded subject to minor amendments (in 6 months) • PhD not awarded revise and resubmit (in 12 months) • MPhil be awarded • the candidate be permitted to resubmit for MPhil

What happens next?
• PhD awarded
– candidate takes 2 copies of thesis to be hard-bound – result approved by Director of the Graduate School on behalf of the Senate – December graduation • Minor corrections and amendments
– usually checked by Internal Examiner when agreed – then proceed as “PhD awarded”

What happens next?
• Revise and resubmit
– student receives written guidance from examiners – is entitled to continued supervision – after thesis resubmitted may be second Viva – if not, both examiners report in writing

What if you are unhappy with the result?
• Appeal
– can only be made on procedural grounds – no appeal against academic judgement – seek advice on the appeal process
• department • Postgraduate Studies Office

• Postgraduate Review Panel
– automatic process – procedural grounds – chair and 2 senior academics

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