The outcome of the viva (oral examination)

The outcome of the oral examination should normally be given informally to you immediately, but by no later than 24 hours after the viva.

Find out the possible recommendations examiners can make on your thesis and what to do in each case. Please see our Guide to the thesis examination process for more detailed information.

Possible recommendations

After the viva, your examiners must produce a joint report which outlines their recommendation. The recommendation of the examiners is subject to final approval by the Graduate Board's Examinations Group, which must consider the examiners’ report at its next meeting. The examiners will inform you of the recommendation they are sending forward on your thesis. The possible recommendations are:

  • Pass: Where your thesis satisfies the requirements for the award and no further corrections are required. You will need to submit your final, hard bound thesis to the University within 3 months of the viva date.
  • Pass (subject to the correction of "editorial and presentational corrections"): Where your thesis satisfies the requirements for the award of the degree but is found to contain minor editorial and presentational errors (trivial errors, typographical errors, simple mistakes of fact or the insertion of headings or other ‘signpost’ material for the sake of clarity).  Your corrections must be completed and returned to your internal examiner for approval within 4 weeks from the viva. 
  • Pass (subject to the correction of minor deficiencies): Where your thesis satisfies the requirements for the award of the degree but is found to contain minor deficiencies (rewriting of sections, correcting calculations or clarifying arguments and the correction of minor typographical errors).  Your corrections must be completed and returned to your internal examiner for approval within 12 weeks from the viva. 
  • Referral: Where your thesis is potentially of a standard to merit the award of the degree but it does not, at this stage, satisfy the requirements for award. You will be required to revise your thesis, which may entail further research or any other activity required by the examiners, and resubmit this to Postgraduate Research and Operations for re-examination. Please see our referral and resubmission page for further guidance.
  • Fail: If the examiners recommend that your thesis be failed there is no further opportunity to revise and submit the work. 

MPhil award on PhD submission

For candidates submitting for PhD only, the examiners may recommend the award of MPhil (with or without minor corrections) in cases where the thesis fails to achieve the standard for the award of a PhD but does satisfy the criteria for the award of the degree of MPhil. 

To find out more about the recommendations and what you'll need to do next, see the Guide to the Thesis Examination process.