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Final examination of the PhD

The University ordinances governing PhD student examinations will be familiar to most supervisors.  The period for which PhD funding is now provided by different funders varies between three and four years. The student is asked to hand in their thesis normally before the end of the period of their funded course. Many three-year-funded students do overrun, and although the University does not encourage such overruns, it does not charge fees for them. However, the situation is different for four-year-funded students (see immediately below).


All major UK funding bodies now require first submission within four years of first date of registration. For the BBSRC and MRC statistics are collected not only on their own students, but on ALL students. They also require that even students on 4 year funding programmes should submit by the end of the fourth year.


The student is responsible for applying for appointment of examiners and can download a form from their CamSIS account. They should do this at least two months before they are ready to submit. Examiners are appointed by the Degree Committee, one internal (usually) and one external (or two external if preferred – the exam then takes an internal chair).  The Degree Committee will normally accept suggestions for examiners made by the supervisor, but these must be accompanied by the agreement of the Head of Department.  It is quite usual although not obligatory to discuss examiners with the student and to take some account of their views: for instance it is worth ensuring that there has been no falling out between student and a potential examiner. It is also important to check with the examiners you suggest that they are willing to serve and able to do so in the month or two following the planned submission date. Examiners are asked to meet to conduct the viva reasonably promptly - normally within two months of receipt of the thesis from the Degree Committee Office.