Criteria for the appointment of examiners

Criteria for nominations for examiners for viva assessment panels.

In appointing Boards of Examiners, the Doctoral College will consider the overall composition of the Board in order to achieve an appropriately qualified, experienced and independent set of examiners.

External Examiner

The external examiner MUST:

  • (i) Have acknowledged expertise in the candidate’s field of study.
  • (ii) Be research active in a relevant field, or have previously made a significant contribution to knowledge of that field.
  • (iii) Be available to attend a meeting of the Board of Examiners, normally within three months of receipt of the thesis by the Doctoral College.
  • (iv) Not have acted previously as the candidate’s supervisor.
  • (v) Not have been a member of a department or school of the University during the previous three years. NB Visiting Professors may exceptionally by appointed if they meet criteria (4) and (11).
  • (vi) Be prepared to sign a confidentiality agreement if required by the nature of the work and endorsed by the Doctoral College Board.
  • (vii) Declare any conflict of interest with regard to examination of the candidate (e.g. emotional or family relationship) or the research topic (e.g. commercial interest in a related project where clause (6) applies).
  • (viii) Not have published with any of the candidate’s supervisors in the preceding three years.

In addition the external examiner MUST NORMALLY:

  • (ix) Have previous experience of examining (externally or internally) at the corresponding research degree level, preferably within the United Kingdom.
  • (x) Not have acted as external examiner for an Ulster University research degree more than three times in the previous five years.
  • (xi) Have the ‘right to work’ in the UK and be based in the European Economic Area (EEA). Where a Faculty wishes to appoint an external examiner who does not meet this criterion, the Faculty and/or examiner must meet the additional costs accrued in terms of visas and travel.

Internal Examiner

The internal examiner MUST:

  • (i) Have sufficient knowledge of the field of study to judge the suitability of the methods adopted and to appreciate the context of the work and the significance of the outcome.
  • (ii) Not have acted as the candidate’s supervisor at any point.
  • (iii) Be research active.
  • (iv) Have supervised a candidate to successful completion at the corresponding research degree level and/or acted as internal assessor for PhD interim assessments.
  • (v) Be available to attend a meeting of the Board of Examiners, normally within three months of receipt of the thesis by the Doctoral College.
  • (vi) Be prepared to sign a confidentiality agreement if required by the nature of the work and endorsed by the Doctoral College Board.
  • (vii) Declare any conflict of interest with regard to examination of the candidate (e.g. emotional or family relationship) or the research topic (e.g. commercial interest in a related project where clause (vi) applies).

In addition the internal examiner MUST NORMALLY*:

  • (viii) Not have acted as an internal assessor on interim PhD assessments for the candidate.

*Where nomination of an internal examiner who has acted as internal assessor for the candidate is permitted by exception because this is considered academically essential, the nominated Chair and External Examiner MUST meet all of the Criteria for Appointment (i.e. no case will be permitted for an exceptional appointment of a Chair or external examiner who does not meet one the 'MUST NORMALLY' criteria).

Chair

The Chair of the Board of Examiners is not an examiner, and MUST:

  • (i) Not have acted as a supervisor or adviser for the candidate.
  • (ii) Be available to attend a meeting of the Board of Examiners, normally within three months of receipt of the thesis by the Doctoral College.
  • (iii) Be prepared to arbitrate between examiners in instances where there is disagreement; and, must be prepared to draw together a final report on the thesis including provision of details of revisions amendments required by the examiners or the deficiencies of the thesis.

In addition the Chair MUST NORMALLY:

  • (iv) Have past experience of supervision and examining at the corresponding research degree level.
  • (v) Be a member of the same Faculty as the candidate.
  • (vi) Be a senior member of the academic staff (Senior Lecturer or above).
  • (vii) Be experienced in the role and/or have received appropriate training.