Examination guidance for independent chairs
Details about the role and when it's required
Independent Chairs are appointed to examinations for certain circumstances which fall within the guidelines of our Research Regulations. Therefore not all examinations will have an Independent Chair, but for those which do the Independent Chair plays an important role.
Appointment of an Independent Chair
This can be initiated for a number of reasons. The candidate is entitled to request one if they wish, or there may be circumstances relating to the appointment of examiners which create the need under our Research Regulations.
When the First Supervisor nominates the examiners the Research Degrees team will check whether the criteria for the appointment has been satisfied and include a request for an Independent Chair to be appointed if necessary. When this is the case, they will ask the Faculty Director of Postgraduate Research to propose a member of staff from outside the candidate’s department or school and has not been involved in the candidate’s research.
Once approved by the Research Degrees team communications will be sent to the candidate, First Supervisor, examiners and Independent chair confirming the appointment and noting the regulation under which the Independent Chair is required.
Prior to the viva voce examination the Research Degrees team will send the Independent Chair an email including Guidance Documents, the Independent Chair Report form and the Regulations for Research Degrees.
The Role of an Independent Chair
The Independent Chair attends the viva voce in a non-examining procedural role. They will host the pre-viva briefing and the online meeting for any examinations which take place virtually.
There are a number of duties carried out under this role which are listed within the Independent Chair Notes and Guidance document, the main one being to oversee procedures, maintain a record of the examination and ensure it is conducted fairly and in accordance with the University Regulations.
After the examination the Independent Chair will complete their report and return this to the Research Degrees team.