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 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 Faculty/School and Director of PGR Studies. It 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.
    • Further information is available on the examination entry page.

    Submitting your thesis

    • You should take the required number of copies of your thesis in the specified format and binding to the Student Services Centre counter where you'll sign a thesis submission receipt (which includes a statement of academic integrity).
    • Within 2 working days of submitting the printed copies of your thesis you must upload a PDF copy of your thesis to GRAD using the Thesis Submission workflow. Only the printed, soft bound copies will be counted as having met the thesis submission deadline. Upload of the PDF copy alone will not count as having met the deadline for submission.

    • Postgraduate Research and Operations checks the format of the thesis and sends it to the examiners (usually within two working days).

    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.
    • 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 Director of PGR Studies 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 by the Examinations Group. 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
    • Postgraduate Research and Operations  has received confirmation that the internal examiner is satisfied that you've completed any required corrections
    •  Postgraduate Research and Operations has received the final, hard-bound version and notification that the PDF e-thesis version of your thesis has been uploaded (for PGRs 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.