Instructions to examiners

All examiners will receive instructions which detail the University of Leeds examination process and cover their responsibilities and duties of prior to, during and following the viva.

Instructions for all examiners

All examiners appointed to postgraduate research programmes in Leeds will receive full instructions. The instructions cover your responsibilities and duties before, during and after the PGR’s oral examination (viva). They also guide you through filling in the appropriate forms for the examination, including the preliminary report form (before the viva) and the joint, examiners’ report form (after the viva).

The instructions to examiners are applicable to all research degree programmes of study. However they should be read in conjunction with the additional supplement which details the specific criteria for the award, learning outcomes and available recommendations for the particular research degree under examination.  

Criteria for awarding research degrees

The examiners also receive instructions on criteria for award, learning outcomes and available recommendations of the particular research degree under examination. These instructions are available in the relevant additional information for examiners document.

For details on the formal regulations and requirements for all of the University’s research degrees see regulations, codes, policies and procedures for postgraduate research and ordinances.

Briefings for external examiners

In some cases, an external examiner will be given a briefing before the viva, for example if the external examiner is based overseas and this will be their first UK postgraduate research examination. The briefing will be led by a senior member of staff (independent of the supervision and examination team) who is an experienced examiner at the University and is designed to familiarise the external examiner with the requirements and the expectations of the role. Although a face-to-face meeting is preferred, a telephone briefing is acceptable if this isn’t possible. The guide for external examiner briefings suggests areas to cover, including the programme structure, advice for before, during and after the viva and some useful links.

Supporting disabled postgraduate students

Disabled PGRs, and their supervisors and examiners, can access a wide range of support from Disability Support. The process for identifying and agreeing support and reasonable adjustments for the final oral examination is set out in a separate document. This document, which is intended to provide a single point of reference for PGRs and staff in Disability Support, Schools/Faculties and PGR&O:  

  • Summarises the routine adjustments with clear precedents which can be accommodated without prior approval by the Examinations Group.
  •  Provides examples of adjustments which may be facilitated with prior approval by Examinations Group, with a framework and timescale for consideration of these
  • Summarises the support available to PGRs in preparation for assessment.

It is important that the need for reasonable adjustments is identified well in advance of the final examination to allow due consideration to be given prior to examination. Schools are asked to work in partnership with PGRs, and Disability Support where required, to identify when reasonable adjustments may be required for oral examination; and what those reasonable adjustments might be.  

The School is responsible for communicating any agreed adjustments and support arrangements to the PGR, the Supervisor and the examiners.  The Internal Examiner has responsibility for facilitating on the day any reasonable adjustments to the oral examination, which will have been agreed upon in advance. 

If you have any questions please contact the thesis submission and examination team.