Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Assessment and Examinations

Viva voce examinations ("vivas") will be the final assessed element of most of the taught modules of HetSys, constituting 40% of the module grade in most cases. They will take place at the end of the term in which the module is taught, generally in week 10 or 11 of term. Until exact dates have been arranged, HetSys students should not arrange to leave the university before the end of week 11 without consultation with the Director of Studies.

Taking PX911 as an example (though other core modules will follow a broadly similar model), vivas will be 20-25 minutes in length, and will take place in an academic office or by videoconference. They will be recorded for the sake of reporting to external examiners, and notes will be taken by the examiners who are in general lecturers from the module. Feedback can be provided later on request. Each viva will be divided into two parts: some general questions covering taught elements of the course, to probe understanding of the material; and a critique of one of a selection of research papers chosen by the examiners, which will be made available 2 weeks before the exam. We will usually start with the paper critique, and then follow up with general questions on parts of the module not covered by the paper discussion. Use of the whiteboard to aid explanations is encouraged. Vivas are open-book and you are allowed to bring in notes if you wish, but we do not expect people to be consulting these notes extensively in place of answering questions!

Module leaders will be happy to explain in detail what the viva will consist of. We will endeavour to keep the atmosphere in vivas relaxed as we appreciate it can be a stressful experience. Please let us know if this is a particular concern for you.