Research degrees

Research degrees administration

Detailed information regarding graduate research degrees stages and all progression forms are available on the Graduate on-course guidance pages of the Oxford Students website. Students should refer to further details available online regarding the submission of their work, and access to the relevant forms on the Research degree stages pages of the Oxford Students website. Information for graduate student supervisors and examiners is available on the Research examinations pages of the Oxford Students website.

Graduation

Please see the Graduation and leaving Oxford section of the Oxford Students website for more information regarding graduation and obtaining a degree confirmation letter.

Appointment of examiners

Once the Submissions and Research Degrees Team receive an ”Appointment of Examiners form” (GSO.3), approved by all the required parties, formal invitations will be issued to examiners.

 

 

1. I've already confirmed my role as examiner with the supervisor, why do I need to respond to the formal invitation?

In accepting the formal invitation, examiners are deemed to have accepted the procedures and conditions set out in the Memorandum of Guidance, and in particular those relating to copyright and confidentiality. This has to be given for each individual examination.

2. Why do I need to confirm my postal address each time I accept an invitation to examine a thesis?

All theses for examiners located outside of the University are sent by secure courier. It is therefore important that we have the current and full address details that will enable you to receive the thesis and accompanying documents promptly.

3. How can I contact the Submissions and Research Degrees Team?

You can contact the Submissions and Research Degrees Team via email at researchdegrees@admin.ox.ac.uk

Candidate may not have submitted their thesis at the point of examiner invitations being issued. This is important to bear in mind when discussing potential viva dates.

Submission of thesis

Once both examiners have accepted the formal invitation to examine with the Submissions and Research Degrees Team, and confirmed the delivery address, examiner copies of the thesis will be dispatched by internal mail or by courier.

 1. When will I receive the thesis?

Once the thesis has been submitted to us by the candidate, and you have replied to our formal invitation and confirmed the address for delivery of the thesis, we will be able to dispatch it. We will send you an email notification when the thesis has been dispatched. During peak times, this may take a little longer than usual. 

The examination should be completed within three months of the thesis being dispatched, where possible.

Receipt of thesis

The internal examiner should arrange the viva date with their co-examiner and the student before advertising the viva and confirming the date to the Submissions and Research Degrees Team.

 

 

1. How soon can a viva be arranged?

The viva should not ordinarily be held less than 4 weeks after you have received the thesis. If the viva is set for less than 4 weeks after this date please contact the Submissions and Research Degrees Team immediately to ask for advice about how to request a dispensation from the regulations. Please note that under no circumstances will a viva date less than two weeks from the receipt of thesis will be considered.

2. Whose responsibility is it to organise the viva along with the venue?

It is the internal examiner’s responsibility to oversee the arrangements of the viva date and location and ensure that the candidate has been notified and is aware of the date, time and location. The viva details must also be publicised using the GSO.9 form and in accordance with the regulations. Where two external examiners have been appointed, the internal co-ordinator should assume responsibility for these arrangements.

3. Are there any regulations as to where the viva should be held?

Yes. The viva must be held in an Oxford University building, which may be a college or department, including the hospital sites. To conduct the viva outside of Oxford permission can be sought from the Proctors’ Office. For more information and advice please contact the Submissions and Research Degrees Team.

4. I am an external examiner and will need to stay overnight in Oxford. Can you book my hotel?

No, we are unable to do this. You can contact the internal examiner and they may be able to assist with college accommodation or preferred rate accommodation at one of the city hotels.  We include with the thesis a form to cover all out of pocket expenses you incur, including accommodation. You can find our general information about allowable expenses on the Finance Divison webpage. This is also explained in the guidance documents sent with the thesis despatch email.

Examination

Examiners hold viva

 

 

1. I am an external examiner, am I required to wear a gown to the viva?

You don’t need to wear academic dress for the viva – under the regulations, only internal examiners and candidates have to do this. You may wear the academic dress of your own institution, should you wish to.

2. I am internal examiner/student, what do I have to wear for a viva?

You must present for a viva in academic dress; sub fusc and a gown. The gown should be that of your present status (ie student for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy), the gown and hood of the degree held from your own university, or, if you are a University of Oxford graduate, the gown and hood of your University of Oxford degree. Special dispensation may be granted in certain circumstances, for example, health reasons, religious orders and members of the armed services. Please contact the Submissions and Research Degrees Team for further information on how to apply. 

3. Where can I obtain a viva advertisement form (GSO.9)?

The GSO.9 form is sent to you with the thesis. If you no longer have this form, please let the Submissions and Research Degrees Team know and we can issue you a new one.

4. How do I advertise the viva?

To meet the requirements of the regulations you must advertise details of the viva and also notify the Submissions and Research Degrees Team. The simplest way of doing this is by following the steps below:

  • Email or send a completed copy of the GSO.9 notice, to the University Gazette (gazette@admin.ox.ac.uk, Publications Office, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford, OX12JD). Your notice should reach the Gazette Office not later than 12 noon on Wednesday of the week before publication.
  • Copy your email, or send a copy of the GSO.9 notice, to the Submissions and Research Degrees Team, The Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BG), who will keep a record of the date of the viva, as well as posting a copy of the notice at the Examination Schools. This should reach us at least two days before the viva.
  • If your notice is too late to appear in the Gazette, you should also display a copy of the GSO.9 notice at the place of examination. This should happen at least two days before the viva.

It is the responsibility of the internal examiner or, where two external examiners have been appointed, the internal co-ordinator, to ensure that the candidate has been notified and is aware of the date, time and location of the viva. Failure to properly advertise the viva may render the examination invalid.

5. What should I do if it is too late for the Gazette to publish the date of the viva?

You should contact the Submissions and Research Degrees Team as soon as you can to ask for the notice to be posted in the Examination Schools and you should ensure that a second notice is posted at the place of the examination.

 6. Can I conduct the viva by video conference?

To conduct the viva by a video conference permission will need to be sought from the Director of Graduate Studies and the Senior Proctor. For more information and advice please contact the Submissions and Research Degrees Team.

7. Can I conduct a viva by Skype?

Yes. The use of Skype has recently been approved by the Proctors for use in video-conference viva examinations.

Examination result

Examiners submit report to the Graduate Studies Office of the relevant Department/Division, who will confirm the outcome to the Submissions and Research Degrees Team.

 

 

 1. Do I have to return the candidate’s thesis?

Yes you do as it is the property of the candidate. You can hand it back to the candidate directly at the viva, or return it to the Submissions and Research Degrees Team, Examinations and Assessments, Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BG.

2. Should I advise the candidate of major corrections?

No. You should complete the report and report form recommending major corrections and send both back to the relevant Graduate Studies Administrator. Once the recommendation has been approved by the relevant Board, the Submissions and Research Degrees Team will advise the candidate. You will also be notified when the candidate has received their result.

After examination

Submissions and Research Degrees Team issue result to candidate.

Submissions and Research Degrees Team process examiner fees and expenses.

 

 

 

1. How do I receive my fee for examining?

You can claim your fee, plus any allowable expenses, using form GSO10, sent to you with the thesis. If you no longer have this form, please let us know and we can issue you a new one. Each form is generated with coding specifically for the examination being conducted so please do not amend the details on one that has been used by someone else.

2. How can I obtain Research Degrees examination paperwork?

Examination paperwork is always sent out to you with the thesis. Each set of paperwork is merged individually and customised for a particular examination therefore you cannot obtain it from the University’s website. If you have misplaced examination paperwork please contact the Submissions and Research Degrees Team and we will be able to provide you with a new set of forms.

3. Where can I find Examination guidance forms and subject-specific graduate progression forms?

Examination guidance forms are available at: http://www.ox.ac.uk/students/academic/guidance/graduate/progression

Higher degrees

Higher Degrees at the University of Oxford are currently suspended, due to a review of the regulations.

Please see https://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/edc/newsprojects/projects/higherdegrees/ for further information.

Updates regarding the status of Higher Degrees will be published, as appropriate, in the University Gazette.