Considering Outcomes

A few loose thoughts…


Viva regulations are impersonal.

They give structure. Section 2, paragraph 3, check appendix 2A.

Regulations say yes and no. They specify and describe: this is a pass, this is a fail.


But viva outcomes are not a binary. Most people pass, but they pass in different ways. Most people pass with minor corrections, but all corrections are unique, in the same way that all candidates and their theses are unique.

Universities offer multiple outcomes that are passes – no corrections, minor corrections, major corrections and more. Typically there’s only one real category of failure, something that the vast majority of candidates don’t experience.


When considering viva outcomes, the point that stands out to me most is that every candidate has to find the meaning and the value in their success. Rules and regulations don’t care: you do.

What does your PhD mean to you?

What’s going to keep you going while you finish and have your viva?

And how will you celebrate your success when you find it?