Examination process overview

When you're approaching the end of your research degree, there are a few 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 the Guide to the thesis submission process (PDF) for more detailed information. 

For information about what will change, such as your stipend payments and council tax status after you submit your thesis, make sure to read the Between Submission and the Viva page of the For Students website.

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. Read more about this process on the Examination entry page of the For Students website.
  • 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 (DPGRS). It is then sent to Doctoral College Operations (DCO) to check the eligibility of the proposed examiners before the Progression and Examinations Group (PEG) reviews and approves the recommendation.

Proof-reading your thesis

Submitting your thesis

  • Theses should be submitted via GRAD as a PDF; hard-bound copies are not required.
  • You may upload your thesis to GRAD at any time in the day up to 23:59 on or before your thesis submission deadline, but please bear in mind that it is likely that Graduate School and Doctoral College Operations staff will only be available to support and assist you during normal office hours. 
  • Where the maximum time limit for submission falls on a day when the University is closed because of either a holiday period (for instance a Bank Holiday) or a weekend, the deadline for upload of the thesis to GRAD will be no later than 23:59 the next working day. 
  • Further information is available on the Submitting your thesis page of the For Students website

Your oral examination (viva)

  • This will normally take place within three months of your examiners receiving your thesis.
  • You can attend the Your Viva workshop run throughout the year by OD&PL. You can find more information about this workshop and other support available on the Training and research skills page of the For Students website.
  • 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 of the For Students website.

After your oral examination (viva)

  • The examiners prepare an examiners’ report on the viva which is passed to the DPGRS before forwarding to DCO. 
  • 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 and deposit your eThesis. 
  • 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. Further information about referral is available on the Referral and resubmission for research degrees page of the For Students website
  • Further information about what to do after your viva is available on The outcome of your viva page of the For Students website and After your viva page of the For Students website

Depositing your final thesis

Publication of pass list

Pass lists are published weekly, usually on a Friday. 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.
  • DCO 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.
  • After your name has been included on a pass list, your examiners report will normally be uploaded to GRAD within 10 working days.
  • You will be notified of award of your degree by email and in GRAD.


Further information on the award of your degree and graduation can be found on the Award of your research degree and graduation page of the For Students website