Examination process overview (research degrees)

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


At least three months before submitting your thesis

  • You should complete and submit the GRAD examination entry workflow.
  • Your supervisor will approach potential examiners.
  • Once the potential examiners have informally agreed, your supervisor will complete their part of the examination entry workflow with the nominations.
  • The workflow is checked by your Graduate School and Director of Postgraduate Research Studies. It is then sent to Doctoral College Operations (DCO) to check the eligibility of the proposed examiners before the Progression and Examinations Group reviews and approves the recommendation.
  • Further information is available on the examination entry page.

Submitting your thesis

  • Theses should be submitted via GRAD as a PDF; soft-bound copies are not required. 

Your oral examination (viva)

  • This will normally take place within three months of your examiners receiving your thesis.
  • If you wish, your supervisor can attend your viva.
  • The examiners informally notify you of their recommendation (usually immediately after the viva but within 24 hours).
  • Further information is available on the viva page.


After your oral examination (viva)

  • The examiners prepare an examiners’ report on the viva which is passed to the Director of Director of Postgraduate Research Studies before forwarding to Doctoral College Operations.
  • The examiners’ report is considered at the next Progression and Examinations Group meeting. The examiners’ recommendations are always subject to final approval by that Group.
  • If you've been recommended for the award of the degree with no corrections, you can prepare your eThesis.
  • Once the internal examiner has approved any corrections, you can arrange for your eThesis to be uploaded to WREO.
  • 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 by the Progression and Examinations Group. The notes will be issued to you by DCO after approval. You can find out more in the guidance document for referred students.


Depositing your final thesis

Your final thesis  should be submitted in PDF format via White Rose eTheses Online (WREO). To find out how to do this, visit the page on submitting your eThesis.

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 Progression and Examinations Group meeting
  • Doctoral College Operations has received confirmation that the internal examiner is satisfied that you've completed any required corrections
  • You have submitted your eThesis
  • You've paid all your tuition fees.
  • Marks have been returned for any taught modules that form part of your programme of study.



For more information, read the page on award and graduation.