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Examination Arrangements for Research Degrees

In common with many other institutions and in line with QAA guidelines, all PhD and MPhil vivas will have an independent chair or convener, who in Warwick is known as the Exam Advisor.

The examination advisor will assist the examiners in following University procedures and chair and maintain a record of the oral examination but not otherwise act as an examiner of the thesis.

The examination advisor should be identified on the nomination form and should normally be a member of staff from the department, school or faculty with substantial experience of research degree examinations at Warwick.

Full details appear in the Guide to Examinations for Higher Degrees by Research

In practice this means:

  • An Exam Advisor will be nominated for all PhD and MPhil vivas, on the same form used to nominate examiners.
  • The Exam Advisor should be a member of staff who (i) has previously acted as an internal examiner in Warwick, (ii) is not a probationer, (iii) is from a different research group to both the candidate and the internal examiner.
  • The Exam Advisor :
    • will attend and chair the viva
    • does not need to read the thesis
    • will receive the two independent examiner's reports before the viva
    • will keep a brief written record of the viva, to which the examiners may refer in coming to their decision and which will be made available to any subsequent appeal process. This record should include the areas covered and a factual record of the candidate's responses. It may reflect the examiners' views of these responses and the ease or otherwise with which the candidate performed, but should not make independent academic judgements.
    • will chair the viva such that the issues highlighted in the independent reports, and any major points that emerge during the viva, can be addressed within a reasonable time that should normally be about two hours and should not exceed three hours.
    • will be present during the examiners' discussion and advise on University procedure and the possible decisions open to the examiners.
    • will communicate the outcome of the viva to the candidate and explain the procedure for making corrections or resubmission if appropriate.
    • will direct any candidate considering making an appeal to the Director of Graduate Studies and not attempt to give any specific advice regarding appeals to the candidate.