Coronavirus Recovery: advice and latest information
three students studying in Singleton park

Covid-19 Contingency Planning: Viva Voce Examinations

In response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the University is taking steps in line with UK Government Policy, to ensure it can continue to operate effectively in the event of closure, travel restrictions etc. We will seek to maintain the Student Experience wherever possible, making best use of technology to continue to engage with our students.

As part of our existing regulations for the conduct of Viva Voce examinations, there is already contingency for the use of virtual examination in the event of illness or other unforeseen circumstances on a case-by-case approval basis. As a result, and for the duration of the Pandemic, this contingency arrangement will be activated for all students with Viva Voce examinations with approval from the Chair of the Progression and Awards Board. The preferred method will be via the University supported Zoom platform, but other platforms may be used in agreement with all participants.

The University expects that vivas conducted virtually should otherwise be comparable to vivas held within the University: conditions should be similar to those used for face-to-face viva at the University; there should be no interruptions during the viva; due consideration should be given to the time zones in which participants are residing.

Where possible, the Examination Board should be experienced in the use of the relevant technology or have received some basic support and guidance in the operation of virtual assessment, and local support and alternative technology (e.g. Skype) should be available if the primary technology should fail. Students agreeing to undertake virtual assessment should also be provided with support and guidance in the medium, to mitigate risk.

Each virtual viva voce will be extended by approximately 10 minutes before the start of the formal examination to enable the participants to familiarise themselves with the scope and limitations of the medium in use and to ensure the stability of the link.
Where the contingency is to be used, the template agreement below must be completed by all participants before the Examination takes place, and submitted to the Chair of the Progression and Awards Board for approval prior to approval of the virtual viva voce.

Where virtual assessment solutions cannot be agreed, or where there are specific reasons preventing this (including specific education requirements/reasonable adjustments for students and staff), viva voce examinations may need to be postponed. The Regulations requiring completion of the viva with the 6 month period permitted following submission, will therefore be suspended and students will not be penalised, until the University determines that the Pandemic period is no longer affecting students. Standard University regulations will apply for vivas after this date, but will be managed on a case by case basis where there are further requests for virtual viva voce, in order to effectively manage the transition back to normal operations.

All requests should be submitted to

Template Agreement

Virtual Viva Voce Examination

Student Number
Student Name
Thesis Title:
Viva Voce Date:

We the undersigned agree to take part in the Viva Voce virtually and have received support and guidance or are otherwise familiar with the operation and constraints of virtual assessment, to minimise any impact on student performance through this medium:

Examination Board Chair:

Examination Board External Examiner:

Examination Board Internal Examiner:

Student Declaration:
I <name> agree to undertake the viva voce examination virtually.
I confirm that I have received support and guidance or am otherwise familiar with the operation and constraints of virtual assessment, and hereby waive any right to appeal against the outcome of the examination on the grounds of the use of the electronic medium or consequences arising from the use of such medium.
Digital signatures are encouraged and accepted.

Please return to: 

A Postgraduate Research Degree provides you with a rewarding opportunity to use the skills you have acquired to undertake extensive research within a subject area, and contribute an original output to research users.

During your degree, you must contact your supervisor monthly to note attendance and engagement with your research. You must attend formal supervision and progression meetings with your supervisors at regular intervals during the progression year and completion stage. You will be required with your supervisor to record the outcomes of your progression, which will include an accurate summary of each of these meetings and agreed actions. Please check the training that is available to assist you in your studies.

Assessment and Progress for Research Students Links

Guide to Progress Monitoring

Guide to Submission and Presentation of the Thesis

Guide to the Examination of Research Students