All research students have to produce a substantial body of work, which is assessed by at least one external examiner, in order to be awarded the qualification they have been registered for. With the exception of Masters by Research, all postgraduate research students are also expected to undertake a viva – an oral examination of their thesis. Examiners for Masters by Research students have the opportunity to invite a student to viva but they are not obliged to do so and it is, in general, the exception to the rule.
You are responsible for the nomination of examiners for research students and an examination team is normally composed of one internal and one external examiner. If sufficient expertise cannot be found within the institution or if the student is also a member of staff within the academic department then two external examiners should be appointed. Departments are expected to also nominate an Exams Advisor (often referred to as a ‘Chair’) unless they make a case for an Advisor not to be appointed. All nominations are considered by the Deputy Chair of BGS and departments informed once sign-off has been achieved.
Requirements regarding submission and examination of research theses are set out in detail within the Guide to Examinations for Higher Degrees by Research. Students are expected to submit two soft copies of their thesis for examination to Student Reception (moving to Senate House in July 2013), in addition to two electronic copies.
The Department has responsibility for making all practical arrangements for a viva to be held including setting the date and location of the viva. The Internal Examiner (or Examinations Advisor, if appointed) has responsibility for ensuring that independent reports are submitted pre-viva and the joint report, with details of any corrections to be made are sent to the Graduate School as soon as possible after the viva.
All examination reports are signed off by the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee before any award can be issued. Before the student has their award conferred by Senate, a hard copy of the thesis and an electronic copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School.