Your viva (oral exam)

What to prepare and expect from your viva (oral exam).

You will need to submit two electronic copies of your dissertation (thesis). Then, examiners will arrange a time for the viva (oral exam).

Your internal examiner (or independent chair, if you only have external examiners) will give you at least 10 calendar days of notice.


The viva can be held in person, partly online or fully online. This must be specified on the Appointment of research degree examiners (ARDE) form (document, 65kB).

If there has been a change in the arrangements, the “Changes to oral examinations and/or appointing an Independent Chair form (document, 40kB)” must be submitted.


If someone wishes to attend your viva to observe, you must request this on the ARDE form, section E.

If a person wishes to attend the viva after the ARDE form has already been approved, you must submit the Observers at a viva request form (document, 25kB).

If they are given permission to attend, the observer cannot take part in the viva.

Exceptional circumstances

If you have an exceptional circumstance that you believe may impact your performance at the viva, you should discuss this with your supervisors.


If you have a disability, contact Disability Services for advice on what reasonable adjustments can be made.

If a support plan is in place, your supervisors or your School PGR Director will inform your internal examiner (or independent chair, if you only have external examiners) of the reasonable adjustments.

If you are ill

If you are ill (or have a personal emergency) on the day of your viva, you should contact your internal examiner (or independent chair if you only have external examiners) to rearrange the date. It is better to rearrange the viva for when you are at your best. 

After the viva: examiners report

Your examiners will complete reports to assist them in their preparations for the oral examination.

After the oral exam, they will also complete a joint final report for the exam board.

The reports will be shared with you and your supervisors.

Guidance on corrections

If your examiners recommend minor errors, errors of substance or a resubmission, they will provide you with feedback after the viva so that you can start making the changes.

The exam board may need examiners to change their feedback or may reach a different decision on the outcome.

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