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The Final Examination

Dr Paul Spencer
Researcher Development Manager
Paul.spencer@uwe.ac.uk
Tel: 0117 328 3974

The Process

This workshop

Timescales
Appointment of Examiners
What your DoS should be doing
The forms

The Examination
What exactly is an MPhil or PhD?
How is it examined?
How to prepare for the examination
is it feasible to prepare at all?
What to expect in the viva questions and concerns

The Process (1)


About*
three months before you submit your
final thesis and six months prior to your viva
your DoS must identify and seek the

appointment of examiners

One external (two externals for staff


candidates), one internal examiner & an
independent chair
* Examination arrangements valid for a maximum of 12 months

Process (2)
Examiners must be approved by the Faculty Research
Degrees Committee (RDC) & submitted to Graduate
School (PGR Assessment) at least three months before
the expected date of the viva
You submit your thesis for examination to UWE
Graduate School PGR Assessment team (located in the
Graduate School Office, room 3E37)

Approximate timeline for final exam


DoS
approaches
Examiners

6 3
mths

Submit minor
corrections
(FT PT 6wks)

Preliminary
reports from
Examiners

mths

wks

Fac. RDC submits EX1


form to PGR Assessment
Team

Viva

Exam takes place


automatically

wks

Submit minor
amendments
(FT PT 18
wks)

mths

mths

Submit major
Corrections (FT
PT 9mths)

What is an MPhil?

What is an MPhil? (1)


The award of a Master of Philosophy requires that a candidate should
demonstrate that he/she:

(1)
(2)

(3)

has engaged in enquiry which makes a contribution


to knowledge within his/her field of study;
can demonstrate a systematic understanding of the
current state of knowledge within his/her field of
theory and/or practice;
shows the ability to conceptualise, design and
implement a project capable of contributing new
knowledge close to the forefront of the discipline or
field of practice;

What is an MPhil? (2)


(4)
(5)

(6)

can demonstrate a sound understanding of


the methodology and techniques of enquiry
relevant to the discipline or field of study;
has developed a capacity to form judgements
of issues and ideas in the field of research and/
or practice and communicate and justify
these to relevant audiences;
can critically reflect on his/her work and
evaluate its strengths and weaknesses

What is a PhD?

What is a PhD? (1)


The award of a Doctorate of the University (other than a Higher Doctorate)
requires that a candidate should demonstrate that he/she:

(i)

has conducted enquiry leading to the creation


and interpretation of new knowledge through
original research or other advanced scholarship,
shown by satisfying scholarly review by
accomplished and recognised scholars in the
field;

(ii)

can demonstrate a critical understanding of the


current state of knowledge in that field of theory
and/or practice;

What is a PhD? (2)


(iii) shows the ability to conceptualise, design
and implement a project for the
generation of new knowledge at the
forefront of the discipline or field of
practice including the capacity to adjust
the project design in the light of emergent
issues and understandings;
(iv) can demonstrate a critical understanding
of the methodology of enquiry;

What is a PhD? (3)


(v)

has developed independent judgement of


issues and ideas in the field of research
and/or practice and is able to communicate
and justify that judgement to appropriate
audiences;

(vi)

can critically reflect on his/her work and


evaluate its strengths and weaknesses
including understanding validation
procedures.

MPhil Vs PhD?

The overall difference between a


doctorate and an MPhil is not one
of time or length but rather an
issue of depth and sophistication.

The Viva voce Examination


Viva voce = By word of mouth or live voice

The Examination
The examination shall have two stages..
firstly: the candidates submission of the
thesis and examiners independent
preliminary assessment of it;
&
secondly: the defence of the thesis by the
candidate

The Examination Stage 1


Independent preliminary report considers:

All submitted theses will be subject to a Viva voce


examination
What issues should be explored at the Viva?
A provisional recommendation as to appropriateness of
thesis title

The Examination Stage 1


Examiners report must be received not less than 10

days before scheduled viva


Candidate and Supervisory team will not normally
see copies of report
Thesis goes on to viva automatically now

Lets look at some video clips


Viva videos

Preparation for the Viva


Four golden rules:

Know your field


Know your thesis
Be clear about where your significant
contribution to knowledge lies
Be enthusiastic about your work!

Know your Field


As a PhD candidate you have reached the stage where you are expected to
be an authority in your chosen field no matter how narrow!

So demonstrate authority with confidence


Be familiar with:
- the current development of your field and
- all current related work and workers
elsewhere

Know your Field


Often the viva is some months after you submitted the final
thesis

Make sure you know where the important


bits of the thesis are:

an examiner may ask on page 34 you say can

you please expand on this


Take a copy of your thesis with you

Your Significant Contribution

Many viva candidates are either


unclear about exactly the contribution they have

made, or
too modest to state the significance of the
contribution

Many dissertations fail to indicate which part


of the work is existing and which is new
and original

Enthusiasm & Confidence

Stay confident. Youve written the thesis, you know more


about this than anyone else
Try to enjoy the experience. It is an in depth discussion
about your research
If you feel the examiners have misinterpreted something in
your thesis, dont be afraid to say so
On the other hand if they highlight a limitation in your work,
acknowledge it
Above all, stay cool. If a question confuses you, ask for it to
be re-phrased

Outcomes of Viva

Possible Outcomes
The candidate fulfils the criteria for the award on which they
are registered:
i. Without further correction or amendment;
ii. Subject to correction of presentational / typographical errors
within the material
iii. Subject to minor amendment of the material
iv. Subject to major amendment. The material submitted
displays some deficiencies of content, analysis and / or
presentation in areas specified by the examiners. No
re-examination is required, amendments to be approved by all
examiners.

Possible Outcomes
The candidate does not currently fulfil the criteria for the
award on which they are registered: Referred for
resubmission and re-examination
The candidate is permitted to revise and re-submit the material
for the degree and be re-examined on one further occasion
with or without viva. Revisions indicated by examiners may
reasonably be expected to be completed within a maximum 12
months FT / 18 months PT. The re-examination shall be of the
submitted material as a whole and by all examiners.

Possible Outcomes
The candidate does not currently fulfil the criteria for the
award on which they are registered: MPhil with
amendments
The candidate does not fulfil the doctoral award descriptor
criteria but does meet the criteria for MPhil and may be
recommended for this award subject to amendment of the
material in a manner and to a timescale as recommended by
the examiners (up to a maximum of 6 months FT / 9 months
PT). No further examination is required. Amendments to be
approved by one or both / all examiners

Possible Outcomes
The candidate does not currently fulfil the criteria for the
award on which they are registered: Resubmit and be
examined for Mphil
The candidate does not fulfil the doctoral award criteria but
has the potential to meet the criteria for MPhil and may revise
and resubmit the material as indicated by the examiners for
examination for the award of MPhil (within a maximum of 12
months FT / 18 months PT). The examination shall be of
the submitted material as a whole, shall include a viva and
shall be by all examiners.

Possible Outcomes
Degree not awarded
The candidate is not awarded the degree and is not permitted
to be re-examined. (Unsuccessful candidates for DPhil / MPhil
by publication may be permitted to re-apply after a period of
three years.)

Right of Appeal
No grounds on academic judgement
Only if performance was adversely affected or..
Process was incorrectly followed
Further detail in Appendix H2 of Academic Regulations

Questions?

About the process?


The viva itself?
What happens after?