The outcome of the viva (oral examination)

The examiners' recommendation will normally be given informally to the candidate (and the supervisor if attending) immediately after the viva (but no more than 24 hours afterwards).

Possible recommendations

After the viva, the examiners must produce a joint report which outlines their recommendation. The recommendation of the examiners is subject to final approval by the Graduate Board’s Examinations Group, which must consider the examiners’ report at its next meeting. The examiners will inform the student (and the supervisor if in attendance at the examination) of the recommendation they are sending forward on the thesis. 

The possible recommendations are:

 

 

 

  • Pass: Where the thesis satisfies the requirements for the award and no further corrections are required. The student will need to submit the final, hard-bound thesis to the University.
  • Pass (subject to "editorial and presentational corrections"): Where the thesis satisfies the requirements for the award of the degree but is found to contain minor editorial and presentational errors (trivial errors, typographical errors, simple mistakes of fact or the insertion of headings or other ‘signpost’ material for the sake of clarity). The corrections must be completed and returned to the internal examiner for approval within 4 weeks from the viva.
  • Pass (subject to the correction of minor deficiencies): Where the thesis satisfies the requirements for the award of the degree but is found to contain minor deficiencies (rewriting of sections, correcting calculations or clarifying arguments and the correction of minor typographical errors). The corrections must be completed and returned to the internal examiner for approval within 12 weeks from the viva.
  • Referral: Where the thesis is potentially of a standard to merit the award of the degree but it does not, at this stage, satisfy the requirements for award. The student will be required to revise their thesis, which may entail further research or any other activity required by the examiners, and resubmit this to Postgraduate Research and Operations for re-examination.

 

Please see the referral and resubmission page on the SES student site for further guidance.

  • Fail: If the examiners recommend that a thesis be failed there is no further opportunity to revise and submit the work. 
  • MPhil award on PhD submission: For candidates submitting for PhD only, the examiners may recommend the award of MPhil (with or without minor corrections) in cases where the thesis fails to achieve the standard for the award of a PhD but does satisfy the criteria for the award of the degree of MPhil. 

Candidates being examined for MPhil or Mastership by Research may also receive an award with distinction. Such an award is not possible with other research degrees.

To find out more about the recommendations and what a student needs to do next, please see the managing results page or our Guide to the thesis examination process.