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 two 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. This form can be found below:
When you have returned the nomination of examiners form to IGS, the form is sent to the Deputy Director of IGS 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 two 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 their Research 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
For examiners completing a PhD/EngD/MPhil examination, the current fee is £175. For examiners resident in the UK, fees are paid by electronic transfer direct into a bank account whereas EEA nationals will receive their fee via a foreign bank transfer.
In order to receive the examiner's fee, the following documents must be completed:
- External Examiner Fee Claim form
- All examination paperwork – Part 1 and Part 3, joint recommendation Part 2
To claim expenses (e.g. accommodation, travel) the External Examiner Expenses Claim form should be completed. You can find further guidance on this at the following Handbook for External Examing of Reseacrh Degrees:
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 Claim' form to the College Office. This form and all other information will be sent directly to the External Examiner prior to the viva date. A payment cannot be processed without these documents. The fees are as follows:
PhD/MPhil examination - £175
MSc by Research examination - £130
Supervisors should be mindful of the cost of examination expenses and should only nominate External Examiners whose transport, subsistence and accommodation expenses is within a reasonable limit (reasonable is considered < £500).
Examiners who visit exclusively and only for the purpose of attending to the PGR viva
- If the PGR student has been funded via an industry / research grant funded studentship, the costs of the examination should be picked up by this external funding in the first instance. Supervisors should liaise with the relevant Portfolio Manager with regards to the Examiners expenses and budget requirement.
- If the PGR student has been funded by a CDT UKRI/EPSRC grant, then the costs of the examination should be picked up by this external funding in the first instance. Supervisors should liaise with the CDTs PI and Portfolio Manager with regards to the Examiners expenses and budget requirement.
- If the student has been funded by the School of Informatics (which includes PCDS, EDCS) or an EPSRC DTP scholarship then the Graduate School has a modest budget to cover travel, accommodation and subsistence for the External Examiner to attend the oral examination. If a supervisor needs to charge External Examiner costs against the IGS examination budget, they should contact the Graduate School Manager to advise them of the expected costs and to seek approval of the spend, prior to any costs being incurred.
- The cost of travel, accommodation and subsistence should be kept within a reasonable amount in all cases (reasonable is considered < £500).
- If costs are expected to be > £500 (e.g. the chosen examiner needs to travel to travel from overseas), then supervisors may be asked to consider that the examiner attend the viva remotely (i.e. video conferencing).
- Where the costs of the examination are going to be above £500, no arrangements should be made, or costs incurred, until the relevant portfolio manager / budget holder has approved of the estimated final costs.
Examiners who attend the School on a multipurpose visit
- Where the examiner is attending the School for a multipurpose visit (e.g. attending to the viva AND delivering a research seminar, attending a research grant related meeting / conference etc) then the costs of the examiners visit should be borne by the Organiser in the first instance (e.g. from Institute funds, or an appropriate project / research grant).
- Where a contribution to the cost of the visit is needed from the IGS Examination budget, supervisors should contact the Graduate School Manager, in advance of the trip, to agree what contribution is needed. This agreed amount will then be journalled to the appropriate budget/portfolio manager.
- Please contact the Level Admin Office for assistance with accommodation booking for the External Examiner.
- As per the UoE Expenses Policy, External Examiners should be booked into University of Edinburgh accommodation in the first instance and only where there is no University accommodation available on the required dates, should accommodation outside of the University be booked.
- The cost of accommodation should (ideally) not exceed £120 per night.
Level Admin Office can assist External Examiners with booking their travel requirements, which will be done via Diversity Travel. However, External Examiners do not have to book travel via Diversity Travel and can book their own travel arrangements if they prefer.
- In this instance, supervisors should be making the External Examiner aware of the UoE Sustainable Travel Policy and be encouraged to comply with using low-carbon methods of travel, such as taking the train rather than flying.
- They should also be made aware of any budget limitations on travel costs.
Personal expenses / subsistence
Examiners may claim any out of pocket expenses e.g. meals and local bus travel using the claim form provided by College.
Taking an external examiner out to lunch/dinner
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 staff member (or group of staff) take an External Examiner to lunch, the Graduate School can only refund that share for which the Examiner would have been responsible.
- The appropriate portion of any hospitality expenses may be refunded by submitting an eExpense claim for IGS approval.
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 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 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.