Examination process overview

When you're approaching the end of your research degree, there are a few administrative steps you'll need to take to initiate the submission and examination process.

Find out the process and timescales for the submission and examination of your thesis so you know what to expect and how long it's likely to take. Please see our Guide to the thesis examination process for more detailed information.

During the final year of the standard period of study

  • You should attend any relevant thesis preparation workshops. 
  • You should familiarise yourself  with the expected and maximum time limits for the submission of your thesis 
  • You should begin thinking about the process for examination entry 

    At least three months before submitting your thesis

    • You should fill out an examination entry form and pass it to your supervisor to complete. If this is not received in Postgraduate Research and Operations at least three months before you submit your thesis, there could be a delay in sending the thesis out to examiners.
    • Your supervisor will approach potential examiners.
    • Once the potential examiners have informally agreed, your supervisor will fill in the examination entry form with the nominations and send it to the postgraduate research tutor to countersign.
    • The form is then sent to Postgraduate Research and Operations to check the eligibility of the proposed examiners before the examinations group reviews and approves the recommendation.

    Submitting your thesis

    Your oral examination (viva)

    • This will normally take place within 3 months of your examiners receiving your thesis.
    • If you wish, your supervisor can attend your viva. If not attending, your supervisor will need to be available for consultation if necessary.
    • The examiners informally notify you of their recommendation (usually immediately after the viva but within 24 hours), normally one of the following: pass (or pass subject to the correction of editorial and presentational corrections or minor deficiencies), referral or fail.

    After your oral examination (viva)

    • The examiners prepare an examiners’ report on the viva which is passed to the Postgraduate Research Tutor in the school before forwarding to Postgraduate Research and Operations.
    • The examiners’ report is considered at the next examinations group meeting. The examiners’ recommendations are always subject to final approval by the examinations group meeting.
    • If you've been recommended for the award of the degree with no corrections, you can arrange for your thesis to be hard-bound in accordance with the Guide to the thesis examination process  and prepare your eThesis if required.
    • Once the internal examiner has approved any corrections, you can arrange for your thesis to be hard-bound and prepare your eThesis if required.
    • If you've received a referral, you'll receive individual notes for guidance, outlining the required changes to help you prepare to resubmit. These notes must be submitted with the examiners’ report for approval at a graduate board’s examinations group meeting. The notes will be issued to you by Postgraduate Research and Operations once they’re approved. You can find out more in the guidance document for referred students.

    Depositing your final thesis

    Publication of pass list

    Your name will be published on a pass list after:

    • the examiners’ report has been approved at a graduate board’s examinations group meeting
    • the Postgraduate Research and Operations team has received confirmation that the internal examiner is satisfied that you've completed any required corrections
    • the Postgraduate Research and Operations team has received the final, hard-bound version and notification that the PDF e-thesis version of your thesis has been uploaded (for candidates who started their study from September 2009 onwards)
    • you've paid all your tuition fees.


    You can graduate in absentia or by attending a degree ceremony. You must register your preference online. For more information, read the page on award and graduation.