Examiner's preliminary report form (before the viva)

Before the oral examination, each examiner must prepare a preliminary report and bring this to the examination.

These should be discussed before seeing the candidate to assist in deciding upon the structure of the examination and in identifying specific topics for discussion.

Each examiner should read the thesis carefully and independently of the other examiner(s), bearing in mind the criteria for the award of the degree.  Before the oral examination, each examiner must prepare a preliminary report and bring this to the examination.  

This report must contain brief, preliminary thoughts but must not contain any recommendation relating to the award (or not) of the degree. The examiners should not discuss their provisional findings with the candidate at any point before the oral examination or give an indication of the likely recommendation until the oral examination has been completed.

Two report templates are provided depending on whether the thesis is a first submission or a resubmission following referral:

Examiner’s preliminary report form - first submission: Each examiner must complete the preliminary report and bring this to the oral examination. 

Examiner’s individual report form – resubmission: Each examiner must read the resubmitted thesis independently of the other examiner(s) and complete this examiner’s individual report before discussing the resubmission with the other examiner(s).  

The report may be handwritten or typed.  If handwritten please use black ink/biro and ensure that you write legibly.

Exchanging the preliminary report

On the day of the oral examination the examiners should arrange to meet together before seeing the candidate in order to exchange and discuss the preliminary reports, decide upon areas for discussion and highlight any issues on which clarification should be sought. The preliminary reports should be discussed by the examiners and will assist them in deciding upon the structure of the examination and in identifying specific topics for discussion. This discussion will enable the Examiners to plan the structure of the oral examination and ensure that all relevant issues are addressed appropriately.

After the oral examination

The preliminary reports of all examiners should be attached to the final, joint report of the examiners (prepared after the oral examination) and should be returned to Postgraduate Research and Operations for consideration by the graduate board’s examinations group.

Preliminary reports are not automatically released to the candidate but will be released if requested (only after the joint report of the examiners has been considered and approved by the Examinations Group). In the event of an adverse academic decision (referral, MPhil award on PhD or fail) candidates will be advised that the preliminary reports are available on request.

The instructions to examiners cover in detail the responsibilities and duties of the examiners before, during and after the oral examination (viva), including the requirements for the preliminary report form.