There’s no such prize, at least, as far as I’m aware! But it’s fun to think about the possible criteria a viva would have to satisfy to put it on a shortlist…
- Would it have to have a substantial discussion – but not be too long?
- Maybe it could only result in minimal corrections – but how would we quantify “minimal” since most vivas end with corrections being asked for?
- Perhaps we’d have to consider everyone in the room and not just the candidate – what qualities would a Viva Of The Year nominee’s examiners have to satisfy?
And who would we get to judge this anyway?!
It’s fun to think about, but rather than focus on whether a viva or your viva is “the best”, it’s more useful to work on things you can do something about.
Learn about your examiners, and if you can, have a discussion with your supervisor about the selection and nomination process. Submit the best thesis you can, and spend a little time getting ready. Learn about viva expectations generally, and see what you can do to live up to your part of the process. Build your confidence, and go to your viva determined to engage fully with your examiners’ questions.
Your viva might not be viva of the year, but it could be a highlight of your year. What will you do to steer it towards that outcome?