Nomination of examiners

The nomination of examiners process.

Students are required to submit their Notice of Intention to submit documents to the Informatics Graduate School 2 months before they submit their thesis or dissertation.  When IGS receives the forms they will forward them to the College Office.  The College Office will then email IGS to ask them to begin the Nomination of Examiners process.  IGS will send an email to the student's Principal Supervisor asking them to complete a Nomination of Examiners form with can be found on:

Nomination of examiners Webmark form

When you have returned the nomination of examiners form to IGS, the form is sent to Alex Lascarides (DHoGS) for approval before being sent to the College Office.   The nomination process can take a month or two, this is why students are requested to submit the forms about 2 months before submitting their thesis or dissertation. This way, when a student submits their thesis or dissertation, the nomination of examiners process has hopefully been completed and their thesis/dissertation can be sent out for examination within five working days of submission.

At least two examiners are appointed for each candidate; one internal examiner and one external examiner.  If students have been or are currently a member of staff at the University during the time of thierResearch degree, you may be required to nominate one internal examiner and two external examiners (see below for further information).

Students may volunteer names of possible Examiners, and should inform the Principal Supervisor of any problems that might arise should a particular examiner be appointed. However, students have no right to play any part in the final choice, and therefore no right to veto any particular appointment. The University of Edinburgh places great emphasis on maintaining the academic integrity of the examination procedures. For this reason:

  • External Examiners should be of recognised eminence in the subject matter of the thesis;
  • all Examiners are expected to provide an impartial assessment of the submitted work;
  • anyone who has been a member of staff, held an honorary or part-time appointment or been a student of the University at any time during the previous four years may not act as an External Examiner;
  • anyone directly involved in the candidate’s work towards the thesis may not be an Examiner (e.g. anyone who has been a supervisor to the student during their research programme);
  • potential professional or personal conflicts of interest should be considered; and
  • two External Examiners should be appointed if the student has been, or is currently, employed by the University.

Other regulations or restrictions may also apply and guidance should be sought from the Graduate School Office if the appointment of any examiner is likely to give rise to any issues affecting the examination process

Eligibility to work in the UK

Please read the HR Guidance page:

Checking eligibility to work in the UK.

Photocopies of the external examiners' proof of eligibility to work in the UK must be obtained in order for HR to process a payment for the External Examiner Fee.  These photocopies are often taken and verified by the Level Office administrators; but internal examiners and supervisors may also be required to do this.  As a general rule, the following photocopies must be taken to satisfy the requirements of Human Resources on behalf of the UKVI:

  • Front cover of the passport (usually maroon on a UK passport);
  • Personal details page (including the information and photograph); and
  • Any pages containing a UK Government stamp (e.g. Visa) or endorsement which allows the individual to do the type of work being offered.

Each photocopied page must be signed and dated by the verifier to signify a true likeness of the examiners' identity.

These photocopies should be sent to the College Office PGR Section to be processed with the External Examiner Fee Payment form.  It is particularly helpful if you attach a note with the student's name and university user number in pencil on the photocopies so that the payment can be associated with a particular student.  Some examiners examine more than one thesis which can be confusing when arranging payment.  Without the correct photocopies an examiner cannot be paid for the work they have undertaken.

External examiner expenses

A maximum of £300 is available to cover travel, accommodation and subsistence for the Examiner to attend the oral examination. College provide a claim form to the Examiner when they are appointed. It is not possible for the Graduate School to pay any costs exceeding this limit and so supervisors should only nominate examiners whose transport, subsistence and accommodation expenses will be within the this limit.  Supervisors may, of course, choose to pay additional costs from an appropriate project grant or other Institute funds. Institute staff will assist with the booking of Examiner travel and accommodation, please therefore liaise with the appropriate Institute office.  All subsequent expenses claims and invoices should be sent to the Graduate School for approval and payment. The Graduate School may only refund personal expenses of the External Examiner and so can only refund that proportion of any hospitality costs that  are attributable to the Examiner. For example if a group of staff take the Examiner to lunch the Graduate School can only refund that share for which the Examiner would have been responsible. Examiners may claim any out of pocket expenses using the claim form provided by College. The appropriate portion of any hospitality expenses may be refunded by submitting an expenses claim to the Graduate School office. It is important to note that the total of any out of pocket expenses, hospitality costs and accommodation or travel bookings may not exceed £300. Any amount over this total will be charged to an appropriate project grant or other institute funds.

External examiner fee payment

External Examiners are employed by the University in order to undertake the examination of a PhD/MPhil thesis examination; the examiners are given a contract as with UG and PGT External Examiners.  External Examiners must be paid for their services to the University.  Payment will only be made following examination of the thesis; specifically, when the College Office has received the completed Part III report from the External Examiner. 

Payment is administered by the College Office.  In order for a payment to be processed, the External Examiner must return a completed 'External Examiner Fee Payment' form to the College Office.  Proof of the External Examiner's eligibility to work in the UK must have also been obtained at the viva (photocopies as stated above in 'Eligibility to Work in the UK'), sign and date verified and sent to the College Office.  A payment cannot be processed without these documents.  The fees are as follows:

PhD/MPhil examination - £175

MSc by Research examination - £110

Classification of Examination Candidates as Staff

PhD candidates

PhD candidates require two external examiners if their period(s) of employment during their studies totals more than 6 months full time as academic or research members of staff (or part time employment totalling a similar amount).

MPhil candidates

MPhil candidates require two external examiners if their period(s) of employment during their studies totals more than 4 months full time  as academic or research members of staff (or part time employment totalling a similar amount).

MSc by Research candidates

MSc by Research candidates should not be employed as academic or research members of staff during their studies. Please seek advice from the Graduate School if this is the case, further information includes:

  • Marie Curie Fellows will only require one external examiner.
  • International students holding a student visa may not normally work more than 20 hours per week.
  • Employment as a tutor and/or demonstrator is not counted for the purposes of determining staff status, such employment will not normally be considered to be as an academic or research member of staff.
  • Periods of interruption should be requested for students whose employment is unrelated to their studies.