We are delighted that you have agreed to act as an External Examiner for one of our PhD Researchers here at Ulster University.
This guidance will hopefully provide you with some useful information to make your experience as smooth as possible.
The panel for our viva voce examinations consists of an External Examiner (two, if the PhD Researcher is a member of staff), an Internal Examiner and a Chairperson.
The PhD Researcher will usually invite one of their supervisors to the examination also. The supervisor’s role is simply for support and should have little input into the viva.
The supervisors will get in touch with you to arrange a time and schedule for the examination that suits the panel.
At present, a viva voce examination may take place either remotely, in-person or in a hybrid style where one or more member attends remotely and the remaining members are on campus.
A coordinator, normally the Chair or a supervisor, will get in touch with you to confirm the date, time and suitable online platform (plus backup platform) for the viva.
You will be asked for email confirmation of your agreement to the arrangements plus contact details (including a telephone number in case it is needed).
The Chair will have considered the procedures on the day and how these can best be managed to ensure adequate time for the pre-meeting of examiners and discussion of the decision in the absence of the candidate.
Attending in person
If prevailing public health guidance permits, and with agreement of all panel members, the viva may be held in person. We always try to arrange a viva around the External Examiner’s travel schedule to facilitate same-day travel.
The below are example schedules only and can be tailored as needed:
- 10:00 Preliminary meeting
- 10:30 Viva start
- 12:30 Lunch (where applicable)
- 12:30 Lunch (where applicable)
- 13:30 Preliminary meeting
- 14:00 Viva start
Ulster University uses PhD Manager as our administration for PhD researchers. When you are appointed you will be sent a link to create your own PhD Manager account for the purposes of this examination. On PhD Manager you will be able to view the submitted material, submit your own preliminary report and confirm the outcome of the examination. Here is a guide detailing these steps.
Fees for examining
The fee for examining at PhD level at Ulster is £200 and £150 for an examination at MPhil level. This is paid through our Salaries and Wages Department so is subject to normal taxation etc. Our HR Department will require evidence of ‘Right-to-Work’ in the UK, usually by way of passport and/or visa. Please remember to bring these with you on the day of the examination. For those attending remotely, verification of documentation will be digitally confirmed on the day of the examination.
Examiners who are not from the UK or Ireland and/or do not have the 'Right-to-Work' in the UK can find out if they need a visa to work in the UK.
To claim your fee and/or reimbursement for any expenses, please see our guidance and link to the Claimant Portal.
Travelling for a viva
Where a viva is to be held in person, we would ask that examiners make their own travel arrangements. We will reimburse your travel costs when you submit an expenses claim through the online claimant portal here. Please retain original receipts and tickets for claims. Car mileage rate is 25p per mile. The Doctoral College will pay up to a maximum of £300 for return flights (except by prior arrangement). Where necessary, External Examiners should endeavour to arrange return flights on the same day, but if this is not possible, we can, exceptionally, arrange accommodation for one night. We can also pay for your travel to/from the airport/hotel where required. Travel should be undertaken by public transport if possible; taxi fares will only be reimbursed where public transport was not available within the schedule.
Our public transport system is Translink and you can plan your journey by bus or train through their Journey Planner. Please keep all tickets/receipts for claiming back expenses. You might also find useful information on getting to each of our campuses on our Global webpages.
Regulations for research degrees
- the handbook for examiners of research degrees contains guidance on the nomination criteria for the Board of Examiners, procedures surrounding the examination process, the roles of various individuals involved in the examination, assessment criteria and the recommendations available to the Board of Examiners following examination.
- the relevant regulations for the research degree programmes you will be examining.
Please note that the thesis remains the property of Ulster University.