Exam Chairs

The University appoints two examiners for all research degree vivas, normally an external examiner and an internal examiner. In certain circumstances, such as when the candidate is a member of academic staff, a chair may be appointed.

The Chair is not a member of the examining team and is not required to examine the thesis but will be present to ensure that the viva is conducted in accordance with University regulations and standard practice for the discipline.

A chair will be appointed if one or more of the following criteria apply:
  • the internal and external examiners have between them examined fewer than five research students in the past three years
  • the internal examiner has little or no experience of examining research students at the University
  • the examining team comprises two external examiners and does not include an internal examiner
  • the research student to be examined is also a member of the University’s staff
  • the examining team requests that a chair is appointed
  • the Head of Department or the Doctoral College Director requests that a chair is appointed

The chair must be a senior member of the University’s academic staff who has previously examined at least one research student of the University.

A member of the research student’s supervisory team must not be appointed as the chair for the same student’s viva exam however they may have been part of the probationary review panel.

The Chair will be required to submit a brief report on the conduct of the viva and to assist the internal examiner in ensuring that the necessary post-viva report is completed to the appropriate standard.

Changing an examination chair following approval

If a change in the examination chair is needed after a formal appointment has been made then permisison will be needed for the change before the viva takes place. Permisison should be sought on the appropriate form.

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