Vivas Have Structure

Every building has multiple blueprints or plans. On one plan are the walls, but another diagram shows where pipes and cables go.

If you compare building plans for different buildings you’ll notice similarities and differences, but look closer and you’ll see common structures.

Certainties for what you would find.


Vivas are based on regulations, expectations and norms.

  • Universities set thesis examination regulations.
  • Expectations rise from the general stories in academic culture.
  • Your department finds norms, the “good practice” ways of the viva.

All three give the viva structure. Every viva is unique because every thesis and candidate are unique but vivas tend towards patterns of experience.

You can make predictions and have expectations of what your viva will be like. You’ll have to wait until viva day to know exactly what it’s like.

Every viva is unique – but that doesn’t make yours a big unknown.