Humanities Shoot; 17th June 2019

Examination guidance for supervisors

Details on what is expected from you as a First Supervisor

The role of the First Supervisor within the examination is integral to ensuring the process is completed smoothly. You will be a vital source of support for the student and play a crucial role in nominating suitable examiners.

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Initially, the First Supervisor is expected to nominate the external and internal examiners (as required), 6 months before the candidate is due to submit their thesis for examination.

All the details and regulations for appointing examiners can be found within the Operational Handbook and the Regulations for Higher Degrees by Research. We encourage all examiners to pay close attention to both of these documents during the examination process.

To facilitate the nomination of examiners please complete the relevant sections of the Approval of Examiners - UPR5 Form and send a copy to, who will then contact each proposed examiner for completion of their section of the form and to request the necessary documentation to support the nomination

Once the examiners are approved and the student has submitted their thesis for examination, the Research Degrees team will send out the thesis to the appointed examiners in order for them to begin their examination of the candidate. The First Supervisor will be notified that the thesis has been dispatched to the examiners.

The First Supervisor will arrange the date, time and venue of the viva voce examination and confirm these to everyone involved, including the candidate. The details must be notified to  the Research Degrees team by completing the Arrangements for viva voce - UPR5(A) Form

Please note that the regulations state that the examiners should return their preliminary reports to the Research Degrees team 10 days before the viva voce examination. This should be taken into account when arranging the date of the viva.

Mock viva

It is recommended that the First Supervisor arranges a mock viva for the student. 

The viva

Members of the supervisory team may attend the examination with the agreement of the candidate. If the First Supervisor does not attend it is preferable that they are available prior to and following the examination to offer guidance and support to the candidate.

If attending, a supervisor should enter and leave the room at the same time as the candidate and should only participate in the discussion if asked to provide clarification on a specific matter. Supervisors are not permitted to take part in the discussion regarding the recommendation made by the examiners on the outcome of the examination.

Please see the separate guidance notes at the bottom of this page for both the student and examiners for further details regarding the examination process.

Post viva

The Supervisor plays a key role at this time in offering continued supervision to the student, providing guidance on the Examiner’s amendments during any period of referral or resubmission. 

For a list of possible viva outcomes please refer to page 43, Section 11.7 of the Regulations for Research Degrees.

Confidential thesis

When a thesis is to be confidential the UPR15 Form - Request for Confidential Thesis needs to be completed and submitted to the Research Degrees team as early as possible (ideally prior to submission of the thesis for examination) in order that arrangements can be made to ensure the appropriate arrangements are put in place.

Final thesis

Once the examination process is complete and the Research Degrees team has formally informed the candidate of the Examiners’ recommendation for an award the student will be asked to submit a Final Thesis. Along with the submission of the final thesis the student must complete and submit the EThOS Deposit form. Only on receipt of these will the successful PGRS be eligible to attend graduation and receive their parchment.


For successful research students hoping to attend Graduation in July, the final thesis (as detailed above) must be submitted to the Research Degrees team by 31 May. Any students submitting their Final Thesis after this date will be eligible to attend Graduation the following year.