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Viva Regulations

A viva voce examination is a mandatory requirement for the award of PhD. The requirement for such an examination at Master's Degree (Research) level is normally at the discretion of the examiners.

The viva voce examination will normally take place as soon as possible, or within three months of submission of the work presented. It will normally be conducted in English except by agreement with the Supervisor(s), the Registrar and the Examiners.

The examiner(s) for the viva voce examination should consist of the Internal and External Examiners. It should be chaired by the appointed Chairperson of Examiners. The Supervisor(s) will normally be in attendance but cannot take part in the examination of the candidate's work.

The purpose of a viva voce examination is to assess the work submitted by the candidate. It gives the candidate the opportunity to present and defend the work through high-level debate with experts in the subject. It enables the examiners to confirm that the candidate has a thorough understanding of the practical and theoretical aspects and methods involved in the work.


Conduct of Viva Voce Examination
The Chairperson's primary duty is to ensure that the examiners and the candidate have adequate time for discussion of issues arising from the work submitted.

As a matter of practicality, the chairperson should assume responsibility for the organisation of the examination on the day. However, where the appointed Chairperson is not a member of the Institute, this should be carried out by the relevant Head of Department or their nominee. This includes determining whether the candidate has any special requirements for the examination such as booking a neutral room (not the supervisor's, Chairperson's, or candidate's office).

Before the examination itself, the chairperson should ensure that the external and the internal examiners have had the opportunity to confer. The chairperson should agree the approach and broad lines of questioning with the examiners, allowing the external examiner(s) the major say in the framing of these. It is particularly important the examiners identify areas of particular interest in advance, in order to ensure that these are adequately explored in the dialogue with candidate.

The Chairperson should introduce the examiners to the candidate, briefly explain the purpose of the examination and the procedures to be followed, and advise the candidate to deal with questions as fully as he/she thinks necessary. The chairperson's overall aim should be to ensure a fair and constructive dialogue between the examiners and the candidate.

See Viva Guidelines for details on the structure of the viva and some helpful hints on preparation.

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