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Research Degree Examining and Chair of Viva: Professor Stephen Lacey Friday 30 November 2012 A104.

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Presentation on theme: "Research Degree Examining and Chair of Viva: Professor Stephen Lacey Friday 30 November 2012 A104."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research Degree Examining and Chair of Viva: Professor Stephen Lacey Friday 30 November 2012 A104

2 QAA Quality Code for Higher Education Chapter B11: Research Degrees ASSESSMENT Indicator 16 Higher education providers that are research degree awarding bodies use criteria for assessing research degrees that enable them to define their academic standards and the achievements of their graduates. The criteria used to assess research degrees are clear and readily available to research students, staff and examiners. Indicator 17 Research degree final assessment procedures are clear and are operated rigorously, fairly and consistently. They include input from an external examiner and are carried out to a reasonable timescale. Assessment procedures are communicated clearly to research students, supervisors and examiners. Higher education providers…may appoint an independent, non-examining chair, who may not contribute to the assessment judgement. Such an appointment, and clear guidance on the extent of the chair's role and responsibilities, including details about the circumstances in which the chair will be used, encourages consistency between different vivas and provides an additional viewpoint if the conduct of the viva should become the subject of a research student appeal. Chapter-B11.pdf

3 Before the viva #1 All handbooks and forms can be found on the Research pages The committee that oversees the process is Research Programmes Sub-Group, which reports to Research Committee and, annually, to QAC Proposal of examiners and chair (submit R7 form – at least 4 months before the proposed oral examination) Appointment of examiners and chair (RPSG) How many examiners? – normally one internal and one external (although it can depend on subject expertise/examining experience etc. Staff members are required to have 1 internal and 2 external examiners) Who makes the viva arrangements? – Director of Studies/Supervision team/Nominee (admin support in Faculty)

4 Who can be an Examiner? Training/professional development Examination experience; normally minimum of 3 completions per examining team Subject expertise Independence Demonstrably research active

5 Who can be a Chair? Senior academic Research degree examining experience Knowledge of regulations Independence (can be from a different faculty)

6 Role of the examiner To make a judgement upon the candidate’s submission (nb. the viva is part of the submission) To ascertain that the work is the candidate’s own To ascertain that the work has met the criteria for the award To assure standards of presentation of the thesis To make a recommendation to RPSG To provide detailed feedback to the candidate, if necessary

7 Role of the Chair To advise the examiners on matters of procedure and regulation To ensure the viva is conducted in a fair manner according to procedures To explain the process to the candidate To advise the examiners on their deliberations To communicate the outcome to the candidate – ensure everyone is clear on the this (and what needs to be done/agreed at the time of the viva - if amendments) To act as arbiter in case of dispute (in the viva) To act as an independent witness

8 Before the Viva #2 Examiners Read the thesis Prepare a preliminary report (R8) – which should be submitted at least 10 days before the viva takes place Chairs Do not read the thesis

9 At the Viva (Examiners) Examiners’ pre-meeting (active role of Chair) Different approaches to questioning Start gently – give the candidate the opportunity to impress Allow the candidate to speak! Listen to what the candidate says and, if necessary, ask follow-up questions. Be prepared to depart from the script How long should a viva be? Be fair (allow for nerves) but thorough and robust.

10 At the Viva (Chairs) Introduce the candidate and examiners Explain the process to the candidate Keep quiet unless you have to intervene, but listen – takes notes on the process if necessary Be prepared to draw the examiners to a conclusion (discussions can be lengthy!) Make sure the supervisor does not interfere! Ask the candidate if they would like to add anything At the end, invite the candidate and supervisor to leave the room

11 After the viva Chair to lead the discussion Chair to complete Chair’s report and ensure paperwork (R9) is in order and return all documentation to the Research Office If examiners agree on changes, Chair ensures they are precise about what is required and the candidate knows this! Chair invites candidate back in and communicates the recommendation Chair asks candidate if they have any questions, but doesn’t allow a debate to take place

12 Examiners’ Options 1.that the candidate be awarded the degree of MPhil/PhD/DBA, Masters by Research delete as appropriate 2.that the candidate be granted the degree of MPhil/PhD/DBA, Masters by Research delete as appropriate subject to amendments and corrections being made to the submission 1 ; within………month/s to the satisfaction of the internal examiner and/or external examiner(s) delete as appropriate 3.That the candidate be permitted to re-submit for the degree of MPhil/PhD/DBA, Masters by Research delete as appropriate and be re-examined with or without delete as appropriate an oral examination. In the case of PhD candidates only: 4. that the candidate be offered the degree of MPhil subject to the presentation of the submission amended to the satisfaction of the examiners 2 5. In the case of MPhil candidates only: that the candidate be offered the University Research Diploma subject to the presentation of the submission amended to the satisfaction of the examiners. 6. the candidate not be awarded the degree of MPhil/PhD/DBA, Masters by Research delete as appropriate and not be permitted to be re-examined. 1 Please specify the period of time the amendments have to be completed eg between 1 and 6 months 2 If you are recommending the award of MPhil to candidates of PhD by publication, please indicate the exceptional circumstances

13 Additional points The external examiner is normally the senior examiner External examiners get paid, internal examiners don’t! The Chair is there to help the examiners Do a thorough job! The examiners are only making a recommendation to RPSG

14 Graduate Research Office Contacts Dr Elaine Huntley Secretary to Research Programmes Sub Group / telephone: Sally Davies Clerk to Research Programmes Sub Group / telephone:

15 Forms, Regulations, Guidance…


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