The examiners should prepare independent reports, without consultation, before any oral examination or conferral with the other examiner has taken place. The report should be sent to the Doctoral College, prior to the oral examination taking place.
The independent report should be sufficiently detailed to enable the Chair of the appropriate Faculty Education Committee to assess the scope and significance of the work and the examiner’s considered view upon it. It should assess the work in relation to the requirements specified for each degree in section 3 of Part I. Examiners should look for evidence of training in and application of research methods appropriate to the particular field of study and should take into account the evidence of originality, critical power and publishable quality as appropriate to the degree concerned. The literary form must be satisfactory and the thesis should not be of unnecessary length. Examiners may require a candidate to confirm the length of the thesis. For Doctorates and the MPhil, the candidate must satisfy the examiners that s/he is well acquainted with the general field of knowledge to which the subject relates. For a Master’s degree by Research, the candidate should satisfy the examiners that s/he has a general acquaintance with the published work relating to the subject of the thesis.
The report should highlight any particular strengths and any areas of concern and should identify the major issues which the examiner wishes to explore in the oral examination, if one is to be held. This will not preclude the examiners raising additional issues during the course of the oral examination.
In the unlikely event that an examiner suspects a candidate of plagiarism, the examination process should be stopped. The internal examiner or examination advisor should make a report to the Chair of the candidate's Department. The case will then be dealt with in accordance with the procedures set out in University Regulation 11.
Under Regulation 11 "cheating" is defined as “an attempt to benefit oneself or another, by deceit or fraud. This shall include reproducing one's own work or the work of another person or persons without proper acknowledgement.”
An independent report is required both when a thesis is first examined and also when a resubmitted thesis is assessed by the same examiners, whether or not a second oral examination is to take place. The individual report should conclude with the examiner’s independent recommendation on the thesis in line with the list of recommendations available to the examiners under Regulation 38.