Answers To “How Long Will My Viva Be?”

One of the most common concerns of PhD candidates is how long their viva will be. It’s a question that I can give no definite answer to for any particular candidate, but one that generally has many relevant answers:

  1. About two to three hours in many cases.
  2. As long as is needed.
  3. Typically less time than you worry it will be.
  4. Typically more time than it actually feels like on the day.
  5. Rarely less than one hour; rarely more than four.
  6. Several orders of magnitude shorter than everything you’ve done so far for your research.
  7. It doesn’t matter.

That’s the big picture: it doesn’t matter. Maybe it feels important, but it’s more important to focus on being prepared, feeling ready and approaching the viva with as much confidence as you can, rather than spend time concerned about how long it will take.

There are lots of answers to “How long will my viva be?” – including the most honest one, “You’ll find out.”

There are far more interesting questions to spend time unpicking and answering.