The examination process is one of the final stages in the postgraduate research student lifecycle. The table below provides an overview of each stage of the process and a typical timeline for each activity. Further detail on each stage can be found following the links in the table, and more information can be found in the Examiners Handbook.

For further information on PhD Exam Conventions, please refer to the 'Doctor of Philosophy Examination Conventions'.

For further information on MPhil Exam Conventions, please refer to the 'Master of Philosophy Degree Examination Conventions 2019-20'.

Stage Key Activities/Actions Typical Timeline
1. Prior to Submission
  • Student initiates Nomination of Examiners process in ePortfolio
  • Supervisor nominates examiners
  • Dean of Postgraduate Studies approves title and nominated examiners
Nomination of Examiners should be completed 3 months before thesis submission deadline
2. Thesis Submission

Student submits:

  1. One Electronic Copy
  2. Research Degree Examination Entry Form
Must be submitted on or before submission deadline
3. Thesis sent to examiners
  • Supervisor organises oral examination once thesis has been sent out
  • Examiners complete and submit Preliminary Reports to RSST/MSGS prior to oral examination

Thesis sent only once checks undertaken by RSST/MSGS have been completed satisfactorily.

Can take from a few days to a number of weeks depending on progress of checks required.

4. Oral Examination
  • Student attends the oral examination
  • Examiners complete the Joint Report
  • Joint Report returned to RSST/MSGS with a list of corrections (where appropriate)
Oral examination usually takes place three months after thesis has been sent to examiners
5. Outcome
  • Dean of Postgraduate Studies considers Preliminary and Joint Report forms and approves the recommendation
  • RSST/MSGS writes to student confirming the outcome, providing a copy of the Joint Report form and, where appropriate, a list of corrections and a deadline for completion of corrections/revisions/resubmission

Outcome usually available 2-3 weeks after the date of oral examination



6. Minor Corrections/Revisions or Resubmission
  • Student submits corrections/revisions/resubmission to RSST/MSGS by deadline.


  • Corrections/revisions forwarded to internal examiner. Resubmissions forwarded to internal and external examiners.


  • Report(s) received from examiner(s) stating outcome and forwarded to Dean of Postgraduate Studies for approval
  • Student notified of outcome in an email from RSST/MSGS

Time allowed for completion of corrections/revisions/resubmission will vary in accordance with the first submission outcome.


Examiner(s) asked to provide outcome within 6 weeks of receipt of corrections/revisions/resubmission.



Allow up to a week for Dean of Postgraduate Studies to approve resubmission outcome

7. Award

Student submits:

  1. One hardbound copy of thesis (two copies for FMS students)
  2. One electronic copy of thesis
  3. A ‘Library Deposit Licence for Print and Electronic Theses Form’


  • Pass list produced by RSST/MSGS and forwarded to student and Congregations Office.


  • Degree parchment produced by Congregations Office.

Students required to submit hardbound thesis within 1 month of notification of resubmission outcome





Pass list usually produced within a few days of receipt of hardbound thesis


Degree Parchment usually produced within 6-8 weeks of receipt of pass list

8. Congregations
  • Student must register interest with Congregations Office well in advance to secure a place at the appropriate graduate ceremony
  • Pass list must be produced at least 3 weeks before ceremony date for a student’s place to be confirmed

Ceremonies held in July and December each year


If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your examination, you can follow the Academic Queries and Appeals procedure, but only once you have received formal notification of the outcome of your examination.