Viva using video conferencing

Information and procedures for using video conferencing to carry out a Viva.

In exceptional circumstances, an oral examination may be allowed to be held via video conferencing.  A request to do so must be formally approved by the College Postgraduate Studies Committee.

College Postgraduate Studies Committee

The Postgraduate (Research) Assessment Regulations 2017/18 (Regulation 20.1) states:

Oral assessment may be conducted using technology such as video conferencing, enabling the student or an examiner to participate but not be physically present at the University. Such remote assessment must have the permission of the College Postgraduate Committee, the student, all examiners and any Non-Examining Chair. The College has responsibility for approving and overseeing this process.

Guidance for holding a postgraduate research oral (viva voce) examination remotely by video link. (pdf)

If a student cannot attend viva

Circumstances where an oral examination may allowed to be held via video conference would be, for example; when a student has submitted their thesis for examination but their visa has expired and they must leave the country before their viva can take place.  However, students and supervisors are advised to consider visa implications when planning the thesis submission so that video conference can be avoided.  Another example, would be if the student has medical health reasons not to be able to attend a viva in Edinburgh.

Holding an oral examination via video conference can impose further stress on a student, so this should be avoided as much as possible.

If an examiner cannot attend viva

In even more exceptional circumstances a viva may be allowed to be held via video conference due to the inability of an examiner to travel to Edinburgh.  First, it should be considered whether an alternative examiner can be appointed and attend a viva and examine the thesis from start to finish.  If no alternative can be found, the request to use video conference must be approved by the College Postgraduate Studies Committee and it must be deemed that the student will not be disadvantaged by the video conference.

Requesting approval for video conference

If a supervisor believes the viva may be required to be held via video conference, they should contact the IGS as soon as possible.  The IGS will then contact the College Office to request approval for the video conference; the request will be discussed at the next College Board of Postgraduate Studies meeting.  The Board of Studies meetings are held once a month (usually on the last Friday of each month), so it is important to make the request to the College Office as soon as possible so that approval can be sought. 

Following the Board of Examiners meeting you will be informed of the outcome of the request.