Viva Exam Conduct

Timing of the Viva Exam

Research degree viva voce examinations should normally be held:

  • within 3 months of examiners receiving the thesis
  • at the University including, where appropriate, University Hospitals of Leicester sites
Attendees at the Viva Exam

Only the research student to be examined and the examining team (including a Chair where one has been appointed) should be present during the viva exam.

Members of the research student's supervisory team may attend the viva exam as observers; however, the attendance of members of the supervisory team is at the discretion of the examining team and only with the prior permisison of the research student.

The research student's first supervisor should normally be available at the time of the viva exam in case the examining team need to contact them.

Examination Purpose and Conduct

The purpose of the viva examination is to:

  • demonstrate that the thesis is the research student's own work
  • confirm that the research student understands what they have written and can defend it verbally
  • investigate the research student's awareness of where their original work sits in relation to the wider research field
  • establish whether the thesis is of sufficiently high standard to merit the award of the degree for which it is submitted
  • allow the research student to clarify and develop the written thesis in response to the examiners' questions

The viva examination should be a positive experience for the research student and should be conducted in a fair, transparent, and professional manner. The research student should be put at their ease as far as possible during the examination. 

If an examination Chair is present they will be expected to write a short report on the conduct of the exam and this should be appended to the examiners' joint report paperwork.

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