Examiner's Handbook for Graduate Research Degrees

You have been appointed as an examiner for a research degree and are responsible for assuring the academic standards of the University’s degrees, ensuring that successful candidates meet the University’s criteria for award.

The Internal Examiner is responsible for organising the viva.  They are also responsible for chairing the Board of Examiners unless a Non-examining Independent Chair (NEIC) has been appointed. 

The External Examiner will be a recognised authority in the field of the candidate’s thesis and is responsible for providing specific expertise on the candidate’s thesis topic. 

Please refer to the following key documents:

1. Calendar Regulations - Regulations governing academic programmes - please see Section 2, Faculty of Graduate Research, and refer to the relevant regulation.

2. Statement of Procedures: Presentation of Theses/Dissertations for the Degrees of MPhil/PhD/EdD/DEdPsy/DClinPsy/MbyRes

3. Handbook for Examination of Postgraduate Research programmes

4. Forms - Submission and Examination:  Examiners' Report Forms can be found via this link.

The examination process - please refer to chapters 6 to 8 of the Handbook for Examination of Postgraduate Research programmes

An electronic copy of the thesis, relevant forms and guidance will be sent to the examiners via email by the PGR Administration Office.  Printed copies of the thesis can be provided upon request to UK addresses. Printing costs can be reimbursed if you are overseas and need to print the thesis.

Assessing Candidates with Disabilities - please refer to chapter 3 of the Handbook for Examination of Postgraduate Research programmes 

If adjustments to the examination process are needed to support a student, they will be formally agreed in an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) and the details will be sent to the board. A Non-Examining Independent Chair (NEIC) will be appointed for every examination where a student has an ILP, and the NEIC is responsible for ensuring that adjustments are applied during the exam.

Preliminary Reports (all exams) – please refer to section 6.3 of the Handbook for Examination of Postgraduate Research programmes 

Each examiner is required to prepare a report on the thesis, reflecting their own preliminary view and relating that opinion to the candidate's success or failure in meeting the criteria for the award in question.  

The Internal Examiner must circulate the reports between all the examiners at least a week in advance of the viva (if held) and return them with the final Examiners’ Report to the College PGR Support Office.

Viva Voce Examination (all doctoral candidates at first submission, otherwise where applicable) – please refer to chapter 7 of the Handbook for Examination of Postgraduate Research programmes 

A viva voce examination must be held for all doctoral candidates upon their first submission. 

A viva voce examination can be waived for all MbyRes and MPhil candidates and doctoral candidates submitting a revised thesis, where the exam board will be recommending the award of the degree for which the thesis was submitted either with minor or no amendments.  A viva must be held in all other cases or where one of the following applies: i) a viva examination is judged to be necessary by one or more of the examiners, ii) there is substantial disagreement between the examiners.  Please refer to regulation 7.1

Where a viva is held, the Internal Examiner is responsible for scheduling the candidate’s viva voce examination within three months of the date of submission and should contact all participants to discuss the arrangements, set a date and time and book a room (if needed). 

Viva voce exams can be held on campus or with one or more participants attending via video-link.

Vivas by video-conference - please refer to section 7.5 of the Handbook for Examination of Postgraduate Research programmes

Exam Boards are encouraged to consider whether one or more participants could attend the viva via video-link to reduce travel and support a low carbon process, or for financial or personal reasons. 

If one or more participant will be attending via video-link, the Internal Examiner must inform the PGR Administration Office and if a hybrid room is required they can request a pre-booked room. Pre-booked rooms are only available on certain days each month, so flexibility may be required.  A test call should be held with all participants at least two days ahead of the viva so that participants can familiarise themselves with the video-link platform. 

Final Examiners Report: please refer to sections 8.9 and 8.10 of the Handbook for Examination of Postgraduate Research programmes and point 4 in the key documents list at the top of this page.

All exam boards must complete an examiners report form to confirm their final award recommendation and any amendments that are required to reach the standard required for award.  Reports must be suitably detailed and of sufficient quality to allow the candidate, with the support of their supervisory team, to have a clear understanding of the reworking required.

The Internal Examiner is responsible for submitting the completed report, along with the preliminary reports, to the candidate’s College PGR Support Office

Expenses Claim Form and Exam Fee

PGR External Examiner Fees 2021-22

Please note that the fee is paid gross without deduction of income tax or national insurance contributions, as it is your responsibility to account for this income to HMRC.

Examiners will be contacted directly regarding the process to follow to claim expenses and examination fees but please email pgradmin@exeter.ac.uk should you have any questions.

Examiner's Feedback Form: We welcome feedback on any aspect of the examination process and should be grateful if you could complete and return the form to the Doctoral Quality Development Team.

Contact Address

If you have any comment you wish to make about the information in this section please email your feedback to pgradmin@exeter.ac.uk.