Examination process

Information on the thesis examination procedure.

The examination of your PhD thesis is administrated by the College of Science and Engineering College Office.  Once you have submitted your thesis for examination (and the College Office has received the officially nominated examiners) your thesis will be sent out to the examiners for examination.  Currently all PGR students should submit their thesis electronically until further notice.  For further information on the  'Electronic Submission'  process click here.  The examination process is then as follows:

Preliminary report - 2-3 months

On receipt of your thesis, the examiners will complete a preliminary examination and return a report to the College Office.  This usually takes between 6-8 weeks but it depends on the examiner's other engagements.  Once your examiners have received your thesis, the oral examination can be organised by your supervisor and internal examiner.  It is strongly advised that the viva is not organised beforehand in case there is a delay in receiving the examination paperwork.  This gives the examiners suitable time to effectively examine the thesis. 

Oral examination (viva voce)

The Oral Examination, or viva voce, is usually held no later than 3 months after the examiners officially receive your thesis for examination (depending on their availability).  The oral examination is a key part of the examination process. The internal examiner, or the non-examining chair if one has been appointed, is responsible for ensuring that the details of the oral examination, including the date and place, the names of all those participating or attending is provided in advance to all those who are to be present (i.e. the candidate, all examiners and any observer).  With your approval, your supervisor may observe the oral examination.

The oral examination may be used to establish your general knowledge of the field of your research, to establish the extent of any collaboration, to ascertain that you can work independently and lead the work of others, and to confirm that the work is your own.

The examiners may tell you what their views are at the end of or after the oral examination but their views are a recommendation to the College Office Board of Examiners which will be made final at the next Board of Examiners meeting.  The College of Science and Engineering Postgraduate Board of Examiners has the power to modify or, exceptionally, to overturn the examiners' recommendation.  You may begin any corrections given to you as soon as you are given them.

Board of examiners

Remote Viva

When one or more of the viva panel (student, internal and external examiners) are unable to attend the viva in person, for whatever the reason, a remote viva should be requested. When this decsion is made a member of the panel should inform IGS as soon as possible so all the appropriate approvals can be made. The following form should be completed and approved by all members, including the non-examining chair, if one has been appointed. 

The student and each of the examiners must signify in writing their agreement to conduct the examination in this way, either by signing the form or confirming approval by email. The College has responsibility for approving and overseeing this process. The remote viva form should be submitted to the College PGR team for approval to pgrcse@ed.ac.uk at least one week before the oral examination. 

The members of the panel should also be sent the following information link: https://www.ed.ac.uk/files/atoms/files/videolinked_phd_oral.pdf

Additional advice on remote vivas and preparing for these can be found in the below document. This guidance was provided by the Institute for Academic Development (IAD). 

Board of examiners - first time

When the College Office receives the examiners' report following the oral examination, the examination reports (Part I and Part II) will be sent to the next Board of Examiners.  These meetings are held once a month, usually on the last Friday of each month.  You can check the dates via the link below.  The members of the Board will look at the reports and finalise the recommendations from your examiners.  You will then be officially notified of the approved recommendation by letter - the time given to you to complete the corrections begins from the date on the letter.  A copy of the Part II report (along with a list of corrections if the examiners provide it) will be enclosed in the letter. The College Office will use the mailing address that is listed on your EUCLID record listed as 'contact/ term-time address'. If this address is not correct then it is your responsibility to update this information. You can do so via the Student Personal Details channel on MyEd. Please see the following link for instructions on how to do this: 

Change Student Record Details

The Board of Examiners Meeting Schedule can be found within the College Academic Affairs SharePoint

College Academic Affairs SharePoint

Recommendations following oral examination:

The recommendations following oral examination are outlined in Reg 23 (PhD) and Reg 24 (MPhil) of the assessment regulations:

Postgraduate Research Assessment Regulations


Corrections to your thesis

Required corrections to your thesis can be suggested to take between 3 and 24 months.  It is usual to have at least minor corrections to make to your thesis.  However, it is possible that you may not have any corrections to make.  If this is the case, you will be able to be awarded after the first Board of Examiners meeting (following submission of your Final Submission Documentation).

When you have completed the required corrections to your thesis, you must send a copy (either electronic or paper - depending on the preference of your examiner(s)) of your corrected thesis to your internal examiner for approval.  Your external examiner may also wish to see the corrected thesis.  They will then read your thesis again and, if they are satisfied that you have completed the corrections, complete the Certification of Corrections form.  The form will have been sent to your examiners with the other examination paperwork.  The Certification of Corrections form should be returned to the College Office as soon as possible so that your examination paperwork can be sent to the Board of Examiners for final approval.

Once the examiners have told you the corrections have been to their satisfaction, you can prepare the Final Submission Documentation.  This can then be submitted to the College Office.  The sooner you submit this documentation, the quicker you will receive your award letter after approval at the Board of Examiners meeting.  Please do not prepare this paperwork until your corrections have been approved by your examiners, they may ask you to make further corrections.

Please note that additional fees will be incurred when you are required to complete corrections. 

Minor and major corrections 2021-2022 - Fees


Resubmission for re-examination Sometimes a student is recommended to resubmit their thesis for re-examination rather than make corrections.  You are likely to be given between 12 - 24 months to resubmit your thesis.  Academic Registry will be notified by the College Office of your new Resubmission deadline which will appear in your MyEd Portal.  This deadline is as strict as your initial submission deadline; late submissions will not be examined.  In very exceptional occasions it may be possible to request an extension to your Resubmission deadline.  You will be required to pay Continuation Fees for the additional study period and a Resubmission Fee to resubmit your thesis; the Resubmission Fee is currently £380 for session 2016-17.  Please read the Thesis Resubmission for Re-Examination. 

Final Submission documentation

Thesis resubmission for re-examination

Continuation fees

Resubmission fee

Board of examiners - second time

When the College Office receives the Certification of Corrections form from your examiner(s) they will send all of your examination paperwork to the next Board of Examiners meeting for approval.  If and when the Board approve the paperwork, you will be allowed to be awarded - providing you have submitted your Final Submission Documentation. 


Once the College Office has received all the necessary examination paperwork from your examiners and it has been approved by the Board, and you have submitted your Final Submission Documentation you will be sent your award letter. Again, please ensure the College Office have the correct mailing address for you.  The College Office is only allowed to give you one letter, if you require copies of your award letter it is your responsibility to photocopy the letter.  Please also read: Final Submission and Graduation

Correspondence address

It is your responsibility to make sure that the College Postgraduate Research Office holds details of your up-to-date correspondence address.  Letters following the Board of Examiners meeting are sent to the address provided on the mailing address that is listed on your EUCLID record.  If this address is not correct then it is your responsibility to update this information. You can do so via the Student Personal Details channel on MyEd. Please see the following link for instructions on how to do this: 
If you are living abroad and would like to receive a scanned copy of the award letter you should let College know.


Useful links

Postgraduate Assessment Regulations for Research Degrees

Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students