Video streaming for a final research degree oral examination (research students)

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, arrangements have been made to allow transfer and final vivas to take place by video streaming. The policy is available below. 

Updated April 2022: Vivas may take place as follows, depending on the circumstances and preferences of participants:

  • Fully remote: Arrangements remain in place for the viva to take place by video streaming, with all parties completing this process remotely (Teams or Zoom). 
  • Fully in person (all parties together on campus for a face-to-face viva)
  • Hybrid (some parties are face to face whilst others in the meeting are video streaming).  This could include the PGR and internal examiner being co-located on Campus, with the external examiner joining via video-streaming or the examiners being co-located, with the PGR joining via video-streaming.

H&S protocols are regularly updated and internal examiners should take into consideration any H&S regulations relating to meetings in place at the time of viva.  

The longer-term approach to vivas (session 2022/23 onwards) is currently under review by Graduate Board and its committees. Doctoral College Operations would particularly welcome feedback from participants of any ‘hybrid’ vivas to feed into the review of longer-term video-streamed vivas. This can be sent to

Also provided is a Hints, tips and good practice document, which has been collated from feedback from internal examiners, independent chairs and PGRs who have completed an all-video-streaming viva since March 2020.  This document also includes details of the ODPL training available to Internal Examiners and PGRs for a video-streamed viva.

From January 2021, the requirement for an Independent Chair for an online final viva has been withdrawn, where the examining team is otherwise experienced. An independent chair can still be appointed for an online viva, on request from the examining team, and a Chair will still required by the University under the established (pre- Covid-19) position where it will the internal examiner’s first PGR examination or a second viva on resubmission. A chair will not be required for a transfer viva.

PGRs are advised to contact Disability Services at the earliest opportunity to discuss any reasonable adjustments and/or additional support that may be needed for an online transfer or final viva. Further advice can be found in the document below.

Documents for a video-streamed transfer or final viva

Hints, tips and good practice for video-streaming transfer and final examination

Independent Chair for an online final viva – guidance and form

Reasonable adjustments for PGR assessments

Policy on video streaming for a research degree final oral examination