The Viva Needs More Understanding

Candidates need to know more about examiners: how they prepare, what’s involved, what they’re asking, what they might ask and do and why.

Examiners need to know more about candidates and the PhD journey in the 2020s: they need to understand the particular thesis they’re looking at, the general experience of PGRs, the impact of COVID and more.

Supervisors need to understand the viva situation: they need to have a good handle on expectations, what helps in preparation, they have to grasp their candidates’ situations and advise them well.

And then there are researcher-developers, policy-makers, regulation-writers, awesome administrators and sensational support staff.

The viva needs more understanding. Or perhaps it is better to say that if everyone involved knew more about it then the viva, how it happens, how it’s prepared for and how it’s talked about could be better for everyone involved.


What can you do to improve your understanding about the viva before you have yours? Who could you ask? What do you need to know? And when you’ve been through the process, who could you share your experience with to help others with their understanding?