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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


The oral examination ('viva')

After each examiner has made a full independent report on the thesis, the examiners will contact you to arrange an oral examination. Normally, only you and the examiners will be present at the examination, where you will be examined on the subject of your thesis and the general field of knowledge within which it falls.

Student Registry: The oral examination

Examiners' recommendations

After the oral examination, the examiners will jointly make one of the following recommendations:

  1. that the PhD degree is awarded;
  2. that the PhD degree is awarded, subject to minor amendments and corrections being made to the thesis;
  3. that the PhD degree is not awarded, and that you can choose whether to be awarded an MLitt degree or submit a revised thesis for examination for the PhD degree;
  4. that no degree is awarded, but that you may submit a revised thesis;
  5. that an MLitt degree is awarded, without you being given the option of submitting a revised thesis;
  6. that no degree is awarded and you are not allowed to submit a revised thesis.

Recommendations 5 and 6 will only be made in exceptional circumstances, where the examiners are convinced that the candidate has no chance of reaching the required standard, and only on the first submission of a thesis.

If the examiners recommend 3 or 4, they will prepare a statement of the revision that is required. You will then normally be expected to submit a revised thesis within a year. If the same examiners are appointed to examine the revised thesis, a second oral examination may not be required.

Examiners' reports

The examiners' reports will be made available to you when you are informed of the outcome of the examination.

Review procedures

Examination reviews