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The Research Degree Examination Process

As you approach the examination phase of your programme, there are a number of processes to follow which can take time to complete. The information below is designed to guide you through this phase and help to prevent any unnecessary delays to the examination of your work.

Please read and familiarise yourself with the the Examination Conventions and ensure you regularly check your emails as you will receive guidance from RSST and MSGS throughout the examination phase.

 

I’m almost ready to submit my thesis for examination. What do I need to do next? Do I need to complete any forms?

Are there any guidelines for the format of the softbound thesis?

What do I submit for examination?

Where do I submit my theses? Is there a submission form?

I’ve submitted my thesis. When will my viva take place?

When will I receive confirmation of the outcome?

I have completed my corrections and would like to resubmit. What should I do now?

When will I hear the outcome of my resubmission?

What is the final stage? When will I receive my Pass List?

I would like to attend a Congregation. How do I apply?

 

Frequently Asked Questions

An Example Timeline for an Examination Resulting in a 6 Months Resubmission (PDF: 31kb)

Contact Details

 

I’m almost ready to submit my thesis for examination. What do I need to do next? Do I need to complete any forms?

Yes. Approximately three months prior to your thesis submission deadline, you will need to confirm the title of your thesis using ePortfolio. You will also be asked to upload an abstract of your thesis, of approximately 300 words. 

Your supervisor will then access ePortfolio and nominate your examiners and will provide a copy of the proposed External Examiner’s CV.

An internal and an external examiner must be appointed. For staff candidates, two external examiners must be appointed. (For some categories of junior staff member in MSGS the Dean may permit the appointment one internal and one external examiner.)

If you have two external examiners, or the Dean of Postgraduate Studies thinks it appropriate, an internal member of staff (normally from another School or Institute) will be appointed to act as an independent chair at your viva.

Once your title and proposed examiners have been approved, you will receive an email from ePortfolio confirming the details and you will be provided with information on the submission process.

If you are a staff candidate submitting for a Doctor of Philosophy by Published Works and are including joint authored publications as part of this submission, you should complete and submit the Co-Authorship Form for each jointly authored publication contained in your submission. Please click on this link for the Co-Authorship Form (PDF: 30kb).

What do I submit for examination?

You should submit two soft-bound copies of your thesis and one e-copy in the first instance. Please click here for further information about eSubmission.

Are there any guidelines for the format of the softbound thesis?

The guidelines can be found here:

Guidelines for the Submission and Format of Theses (PDF: 406kb)

Remember that you should submit two softbound copies in the first instance, e.g. comb-bound. You should ensure the binding is secure, and not loose-leaf, in a ringbinder or lever-arch file.

The University provides printing and binding services. For further information, please visit the Print Services website.

Where do I submit my theses? Is there a submission form?

If you are a research student in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences or the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering, you should submit your theses to the Helpdesk based on Level 2 of the King’s Gate Building.

If you are a research student in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, you should submit to the Graduate School based in the Ridley 1 Building.

Your thesis can be submitted in person; it can be submitted on your behalf; or it can be posted to the appropriate address below. Please do not submit your final softbound theses to your School or Institute Office or supervisor(s) unless they have agreed to deliver your thesis on your behalf.

You must also submit a completed Research Degree Entry Form (PDF: 26kb). Your thesis cannot be examined without this form.

You are advised to ensure that any University debts are cleared in advance of submitting your thesis as the examination will not proceed whilst tuition fees are outstanding.

I’ve submitted my thesis. When will my viva take place?

When you submit your softbound thesis to the RSST or MSGS, a copy will be forwarded to each of your examiners, normally within a maximum of 10 working days. We ask the examiners to read the handbook below, which you might also find useful. It provides information about, for example, what the examiners are looking for in assessing your thesis, the conduct of the viva, and what recommendations they can make:

University Handbook for Examiners of Research Degrees (PDF: 383kb)

The RSST or MSGS will notify your supervisor so that they can consult with both you and your examiners to arrange a date for your viva. Students should not contact their examiners directly. The viva typically takes place within 3 months of the examiners receiving your thesis.

Your examiners must each complete a “Preliminary Report” form and return it to the RSST or MSGS approximately 2 weeks before the date of your viva. You can view the report template below:

Preliminary Report of Internal and External Examiner for a Doctoral Degree (PDF: 93kb)

Preliminary Report of 2 External Examiners for a Doctoral Degree (PDF: 93kb)

Preliminary Report of Internal and External Examiner for an MPhil Degree (PDF: 155kb)

Preliminary Report of 2 External Examiners for an MPhil Degree (PDF: 155kb)

Once your viva has taken place the examiners must complete a “Joint Report” form, confirming their overall recommendation:

Joint Report of Internal and External Examiners for a Doctoral Degree (PDF: 159kb)

Joint Report of 2 External Examiners for a Doctoral Degree (PDF: 159kb)

Joint Report of Internal and External Examiners for an MPhil Degree (PDF: 156kb)

Joint Report of 2 External Examiners for an MPhil Degree (PDF: 157kb)

The completed Joint Report must be returned to the RSST or MSGS, along with a statement of any corrections/revisions required of the thesis. We normally expect to receive the Joint Report within 2 weeks following your viva.

When will I receive confirmation of the outcome?

The RSST or MSGS must be in receipt of both Preliminary Reports and the Joint Report, which will be referred to the Dean of Postgraduate Studies for approval. Only then can we email you to confirm formally the result of your examination. We will email you a copy of your Joint Report, your revisions, and confirmation of your resubmission deadline (if appropriate). If you have revisions, you should consult with your supervisor for advice.

I have completed my corrections and would like to resubmit. What should I do?

You should refer to the email you received confirming the outcome of your first examination. It will provide details of the resubmission process.

If the examiners recommended that you make corrections within 1 month or 6 months, your resubmission will be assessed by your internal examiner only. You should resubmit 1 softbound copy of your revised thesis to the RSST or MSGS. With your internal examiner’s permission, this can be an electronic copy of your revised thesis but it must be submitted to RSST or MSGS.

If the examiners recommended that you make corrections within 12 months, your resubmission will be assessed by both your external and internal examiner. You must submit 2 softbound copies along with one e-copy of your revised thesis to the RSST or MSGS. Do not submit them to your School or Institute Office, supervisor(s), or directly to your examiners.

When will I hear the outcome of my resubmission?

Your examiner(s) will be sent the appropriate resubmission reports. Depending on their original recommendation, the examiner(s) must do the following:

1 month resubmission: the internal examiner must inform the RSST or MSGS that you have made the required corrections and should now be awarded the degree.

6 month resubmission: the internal examiner must complete a “Resubmission Report” form confirming their recommendation, and return it to the RSST or MSGS.

12 month resubmission: both the internal and external examiners must each complete an independent Preliminary Report form, followed by a Joint Report form (if necessary) confirming their overall recommendation, and return all reports to the RSST or MSGS.

In all cases, you should note that the examiner(s) can require further corrections.

We ask that your examiners review your revised thesis and return their report(s) within 6 weeks of receiving your resubmission. If you are required to attend a second viva, it’s expected to be arranged within 3 months.

What is the final stage? When will I receive my Pass List?

Once we have received all appropriate reports from your examiner(s), they have been signed by the Dean of Postgraduate Studies, and the recommendation is that you are awarded the degree, we will email you to confirm.

You’ll be asked to submit one hardbound copy of your final thesis, and an electronic copy either on CD or a memory card/stick to the RSST or MSGS (please note that these cannot be returned). Your School or Institute may require a second hardbound copy of your thesis for their library, and will inform you if this is the case. Please note, two hardbound copies are required for all students in Medical Sciences. We’ll provide you with guidance for the format of your thesis:

Guidelines for the Submission and Format of Theses (PDF: 49kb)

You must also submit a Library Declaration form. Access to your thesis will be restricted for a standard six months. If you wish to restrict access to your thesis for longer, you should inform the RSST or MSGS at that time and we will send you the appropriate form.

Library Deposit Licence for Print and Electronic Theses (PDF: 73kb)

When we have received your hardbound thesis and Library Declaration form, we will produce your Pass List and email it to you, along with a “Statement of Qualification” confirming the award of the degree. We will also email a copy of your Pass List to the Congregations Office.

The Congregations Office is responsible for producing your parchment, normally within six to eight weeks of receiving your Pass List. Your degree parchment will be posted to your home address. It is therefore important that you keep the RSST or MSGS informed of any changes of address.

I would like to attend a Congregation. How do I apply?

If you wish to attend a Congregation please register your interest here.

Congregations are held in July and December each year. The Congregations Office must be in receipt of your Pass List usually 2 weeks before the ceremonies are scheduled for your place to be confirmed.