College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Exam Board and Outcome

Information on possible outcomes of your viva and what they mean.

How do my examiners confirm my results?

After your viva, your examiners will compile a joint post‐viva report. As well as giving detailed comments on your thesis examination, this report also confirms the examiners’ recommendation.

What recommendations may be made?

The following is copied from the Postgraduate Assessment Regulations for Research Degrees

Examiner Recommendation. After the oral examination, the examiners must make one of the following recommendations to the College Postgraduate Committee:

(a) Award PhD/Doctorate. The thesis satisfies the requirements for the award of the doctoral degree as laid down in the University’s Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study (see www.drps.ed.ac.uk/) as appropriate and the degree should be awarded. No further changes can be made to the thesis after examination; or

(b) Minor Corrections Needed. The thesis satisfies the requirements for the award of the degree except that editorial corrections are required or stated minor weaknesses, as identified by the examiners, must be remedied. In the opinion of the examiners, the student will be able to remedy these without further supervision and without undertaking any further original research. The corrections to the thesis must be completed within three months and are subject to certification by the Internal Examiner(s), and by the External Examiner (where the examiner so requests), before the degree is awarded; or

(c) Additional Oral Examination Needed. The thesis satisfies the requirements for the degree, or satisfies the requirements except for stated minor weaknesses, but the student’s oral defence of the thesis has been inadequate in specified respects. The student is required to undergo further assessment, written, oral or practical, and make any corrections to the thesis within a specified period of not more than four months. The degree is awarded subject to the student achieving a satisfactory standard in the further oral examination and subject to certification of the corrections by the Internal Examiner(s), and by the External Examiner (where the examiner so requests); or

(d) Additional Work on Thesis Needed ‐ No Oral Re‐Examination Needed - Resubmission for PhD/Doctorate. The thesis needs work above and beyond editorial corrections or minor weaknesses in order to meet one or more of the requirements for the degree, and this work may require further supervision. However, the student appears capable of revising the thesis to satisfy the requirements. The revised thesis must be completed within a further specified period of study, which is set by the examiners, and which must not exceed six months. Exceptionally, this period may be extended to a maximum of 12 months with permission from the College. In these cases College may also recategorise the recommendation to (e) – see below. The thesis is subject to certification by the Internal Examiner(s), and by the External Examiner(s) (where the examiner so requests), before the degree is awarded; or

(e) Substantial Work on Thesis and Oral Re‐Examination Needed – Resubmission for PhD/Doctorate.

The thesis is substantially inadequate in one or more of the requirements for the degree, but the student appears capable of revising the thesis to satisfy the requirements. The student ought therefore to be invited to resubmit the thesis for oral examination in a substantially revised form as indicated by the examiners within a further specified period of study, which is set by the examiners, which must not exceed 12 months. Exceptionally, this period may be extended to a maximum of 24 months with permission from the College; or

(f) Award MPhil. The thesis is substantially deficient in one or more of the requirements for the doctoral degree and cannot be revised to satisfy these requirements; but the thesis satisfies the requirements for the degree of MPhil; or

(g) Award MPhil following Minor Corrections. The thesis is substantially deficient in one or more of the requirements for the doctoral degree and cannot be revised to satisfy these requirements.

However, the thesis satisfies the requirements for the degree of MPhil except for stated minor corrections in the thesis. The student should be invited to carry out the specified minor corrections as indicated by the examiners. The corrections to the thesis must be completed within three months and are subject to certification by the Internal Examiner(s), and by the External Examiner (where the examiner so requests), before the degree is awarded; or

(h) Substantial Work on Thesis Needed before Resubmission and oral examination for MPhil. The thesis is substantially inadequate in one or more of the requirements for the doctoral degree and cannot be revised to satisfy these requirements. However, the thesis may satisfy the requirements for the degree of MPhil if stated deficiencies in the thesis are remedied. Accordingly, the student should be invited to resubmit the thesis in a substantially revised form as indicated by the examiners for the degree of MPhil. The revisions should be completed within a further period which must not exceed 12 months; or

(i) Award MSc by Research. The thesis is substantially deficient in respect of all or any of the requirements for the degree and cannot be revised to satisfy these requirements or the requirements of the MPhil. However, the work is of sufficient quality to merit the award of MSc by Research; or

(j) Fail. The thesis is substantially deficient in respect of all or any of the requirements for the degree and cannot be revised to satisfy these or any other research degree requirements.

Can I appeal the recommendation?

Detailed guidance on the University’s appeals framework can be found below:

When will I know my results?

At the end of your viva, your examiners may indicate their recommendation to you. This is an informal notification only – formal notification of your viva result and provision of the post‐viva report will take place after approval from the College Postgraduate Exams Committee. Any results given prior to committee approval are provisional and may be subject to change by the Exams Committee.

The College Postgraduate Exams Committee aims to meet once a month, and will consider all viva results that have been submitted to the College Postgraduate Research Student Office, however these Reports must be received 2 days prior to the meeting. Results will normally be sent to students, by email, within 3 days of the Examination Committee.

Will I get to see my examiners’ reports?

Before your viva, each examiner submits an individual pre‐viva (‘Part One’) report. After the viva, your examiners submit their joint post‐viva (‘Part Two’) report. When you are given formal notification of your viva result, the College Postgraduate Research Student Office will also send you a copy of the joint Part Two report.

You will not automatically be sent a copy of your pre‐viva reports. If you do wish to see them, you are able to send a request to the College Postgraduate Research Student Office that they are sent to you. Once we receive a written request for your pre‐viva reports, we will send copies of the reports to you.