I’m Nathan Ryder!


A long time ago I had an idea: wouldn’t it be good to interview people about their viva and then share the interviews?

I started Viva Survivors in 2012 as a podcast. I’ve been very fortunate in my day job as an independent researcher-developer to help a lot of PhD candidates prepare for their viva. I’ve delivered over 250 viva preparation sessions and helped 4500+ candidates. Since 2012 the Viva Survivors Podcast has been a valuable part of what I share.

Then in 2017 I had another idea!

The podcasts were really valuable, but they were also infrequent. I have ideas that I want to test and share, and I want to help as many PhD candidates as possible feel ready and confident for their viva. So in April 2017, Viva Survivors became a daily blog of viva help. As of the third anniversary in April 2020 there are over one thousand posts on this site! These cover all kinds of topics related to the viva: preparation, examiners, expectations, experiences, the end of the PhD, reflecting on the journey, confidence and a lot more!

You can find out more about my philosophy and approach to the viva by taking a look at some of the posts. You can find more about the why of the blog here. I’m always looking to do more and share more to help people prepare for the viva; I’m really happy to be sharing an idea or something helpful every day. You can support the blog by sharing posts on Twitter, subscribing to the blog, exploring my ebooks or supporting with a donation via Ko-Fi.

Get in touch!

If you want to you can contact me through the following ways:

The music in the Viva Survivors podcast for Episodes 1 to 63 is from a piece by Alice Hyde. Go check out her music here, and some of her amazing artwork here. From Episode 64 onwards the music was created by the AI of Jukedeck.

Finally, privacy is really important. Viva Survivors has a simple policy, which is, essentially, to totally respect your privacy. You can find the full privacy statement here.