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. This form can be found below:

Nomination of Examiners form 

When you have returned the nomination of examiners form to IGS, the form is sent to Mary Cryan (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

External Examiners for a Research Degree

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 Examiner Handbook 

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 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

External examiner expenses

The Graduate School is provided with a budget to cover travel, accommodation and subsistence for the External Examiner to attend the oral examination. College provide a claim form to the Examiner when they are appointed. Supervisors should be mindful of the cost of examination expenses and should only nominate examiners whose transport, subsistence and accommodation expenses is within a reasonable limit. 

  • Where the examiner is attending the School exclusively and only for the purpose of attending to the PGR viva, then all expenses related to the external examiner will be paid by the Graduate School examination budget.  If it is expected that the examining costs will be on the more excessive side, please contact the Graduate School Manager for a discussion of anticipated examination costs.  Where an examiner is coming from outside Europe, for example, costs of travel may be more than the budget can reasonably support and supervisors may be asked to request permission for the examiner to attend the viva remotely (i.e. video conferencing).  
  • 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 (for example from Institute funds, or an appropriate project / research grant).  In this instance, supervisors should contact the Graduate School Manager, in advance of the trip, to agree a contribution from the Graduate School examination budget.  This agreed amount will then be journalled to the appropriate budget. 

Institute / Level Admin staff will assist with the booking of Examiner travel and accommodation, please therefore liaise with the appropriate Institute office. 

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. 

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.