MPhil and PhD exam process for PGR students

Research degree students are required to submit the following prior to the examination:

  • two securely bound copies of their thesis:
    • If you are submitting your thesis in person, please go the Student Services Centre in the Windsor Building
    • If you are submitting the thesis by post, please address it to Student Administration, Arts Annexe, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX.
  • one electronic copy of the thesis - toresearchdegrees@royalholloway.ac.uk

Please see Instructions and notes on submission for details of the format required.  If you have any queries regarding this, please email researchdegrees@royalholloway.ac.uk for guidance.

 For an overview of the MPhil / PhD examination process for Research Degree students, please click here.

If you have any queries at any point of the process, please do not hesitate to contact us

Pre-Submission

Upgrades

  • Research degree students who wish to submit for a PhD are required to have a first attempt at an upgrade from the MPhil to PhD programme within the first 20 months of study (full-time) or 40 months (part-time). Should the first attempt not be successful, students have an opportunity for a second, and final attempt at an upgrade from MPhil to PhD before the end of their second year of study (24 months full-time)  or four years (48 months part-time).
  • Annual reviews and upgrades are held within each academic department. Please contact your supervisor for more details regarding this process.
  • You must have upgraded to be eligible to be entered for the PhD examination.

Entry form

  • The entry form for MPhil/PhD Examination must be submitted to Student Administration two months before submission.  For WORD 2010 or MAC users, a form which can be completed electronically is available by emailing researchdegrees@royalholloway.ac.uk.
  • If you fail to submit your entry form two month prior to your submission, it is likely this will result in a delay in your subsequent examination process.
  • If you are resubmitting your thesis, please complete the entry form for MPhil/PhD resubmission instead.   For WORD 2010 or MAC users, a form which can be completed electronically is available by emailing researchdegrees@royalholloway.ac.uk.
  • If you are having difficulty with the format of the form, please contact us.
  • Please note that, if you require an access restriction to your final thesis, other than a 2 year restriction to the electronic copy of the thesis (which can be selected at the time that you submit your e-thesis in Pure), you must indicate this on the entry form.  If you do not embargo the thesis officially, the thesis will be made available to readers automatically.  
  • All relevant pages must be signed.  Electronic signatures are acceptable.  Typed names alone are not acceptable and need to be accompanied by an email from your student email address confirming your intention to sign.

Submission deadlines

 
  • The period of study for programmes leading to the award of MPhil or PhD must not be less than two calendar years of full-time study, or four years in part-time study.  Therefore, you may not submit your thesis before this time.
  • For MPhil/PhD students who enrolled on or after September 2006, there are strict deadlines for thesis submission i.e. it is to be submitted within:

PhD: 

  •  Full-time  4 years (3 years + 1 writing up year) 
  •  Part time 8 years (6 years + 2 writing up years)

MPhil:

  •  Full-time 3 years (2 years + 1 writing up year)
  •  Part-time 6 years (4 years + 2 writing up years)

 

  • If you are would like to confirm your submission deadline, please contact Student Administration.

Submission of thesis 

  • Research degree students are required to submit the following for the pre-viva submission / pre-examination resubmission of their thesis:
    • two securely bound copies of their thesis:
      • If you are submitting your thesis in person, please go the Student Services Centre in the Windsor Building
      • If you are submitting the thesis by post, please address it to ,Student Administration, Arts Annexe, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX.
    • one electronic copy of the thesis - to researchdegrees@royalholloway.ac.uk
  • Theses must be formatted and bound according to the Instructions and Notes on Submission.
  • If you have any queries regarding the format or binding. please email researchdegrees@royalholloway.ac.uk for guidance.
  • Thesis in a format other than a monograph- Students are now permitted to present theirthesis in in a format other than a monograph, for example as papers (including book chapters, journal articles, or conference proceedings). Please see the Research Degree Regulationssection 15, paragraph 15b for details. If you have not already indicated on the entry Form for MPhil/PhD examination that you wish to present your thesis in this format, please submit a Request Form to Present a Thesis in a Format other than a Monograph when you submit the pre-viva copies of your thesis.  
  • Along with the copies of your thesis you are also required to submit your Declaration of Number of Words form, signed by yourself and your supervisor.  For information on thesis length restrictions, please refer to Guidance on Thesis Word Count.
  • The Declaration of Authorship provides a template you may wish to use at the front of your thesis.
  • If however you are presenting partly co-authored work, please complete the Declaration of Authorship for Co-Authored Work and submit along with the copies of your thesis.

Extensions and interruptions in the writing-up year

  • If you are a Postgraduate Research student who commenced your programme on or after 1st September 2006 and are experiencing circumstances which affect your ability to submit your thesis by the set deadline, you should apply for a request to extend your College registration. Please note that requests for extensions will be assessed by the Vice-Principal (Education) and will be granted only in exceptional circumstances. You will also need to obtain the support of your Supervisor and Director of Graduate Studies who will explain the form to be filled in as well as documentary evidence required.
  • In the writing-up year, interruptions will only be permitted for long-term / serious extenuating circumstances where these are such that you are unable to undertake work at all. You will need to obtain the support of your Supervisor and Director of Graduate Studies who will explain the form to be filled in as well as documentary evidence required. 

Access Restriction 

There are three options for restricting access to either the print and/or electronic versions of your finalised thesis:

  1. You may restrict access to the electronic version of your thesis for a period of two years without any formal justification or approval. If you wish to do this, please indicate this MPhil/PhD examination entry form and select this option at the time that you submit your finalised e-thesis in Pure.
  2. Where documentary evidence of commercial funding and/or commercial sensitivity is provided, you can specify a restriction of access to the electronic version of your finalised thesis for a period of 2-5 years. If you wish to do this, please select this option on your MPhil/PhD examination entry form.  By signing the entry form, your supervisor is confirming their support of this request. 
  3.  If you wish to restrict access to your finalised thesis for more than 5 years, you and your supervisor(s) must submit a written request to Student Administration. If you wish to do this, please select this option on your MPhil/PhD examination entry form and submit the required statements. Your request will be considered by your Dean of Faculty. 

                                             

Viva

Organisation of the viva

After submission, your thesis will be dispatched to your examiners once they have both formally accepted the invitation to examine.

Your viva will be arranged by your supervisor, who will liaise with your examiners and yourself to arrange a suitable date.

The viva should take place either at Royal Holloway's Egham campus or at Bedford Square or Senate House in central London.

Method of examination - Audio recording or Independent Chair

It is a requirement that either an audio recording will be made of the viva or the viva wil be conducted in the presence of an Independent Chair.

Each Department has opted for a particular method:

  • Audio recording of viva: School of Biological Sciences, Classics, Computer Science, Criminology and Sociology, Drama and Theatre Studies, Earth Sciences, Economics, English, Geography, History, Mathematics and Information Security, Media Arts, School of Modern Languages, Music, Physics, Politics and International Relations, Psychology and Social Work.
  • Independent Chair and audio recording of viva: School of Management.

If your Department is not listed above, please contact researchdegrees@royalholloway.ac.uk

Please note:

  • The audio recording will only be made during the viva between you and the examiners. No recording will be made of any discussion held before or after the viva when you are not present.
  • The recording will only be listened to in the event of an appeal made against the viva outcome, and only by a small number of staff who are involved in the investigation into the appeal.
  • The recording will be kept securely for 2 months after you have been informed of the outcome, after which time it will be destroyed. 

Please note:

  • The Independent Chair will normally be a member of staff of the College and normally from your Department (but will not be a member of your supervisory team).
  • The role of the Independent Chair is to ensure that the viva is conducted fairly and in accordance with the College’s regulations and policy.
  • The Independent Chair must be nominated in section D of your Examination Entry Form and their nomination must go to the Faculty Dean for approval.
  • If the Independent Chair is unable to attend the viva as planned, the viva will be recorded.

Post-viva

Your examiners should return their reports to Student Administration within 2 weeks of your viva. You will then be officially informed of the outcome and sent copies of the relevant report forms.

Possible Outcomes

Please refer to the Research Degree Regulations for the full list of possible outcomes.  The most common however are: 

  • The candidate has satisfied the criteria for the degree of MPhil/PhD.(First submission and resubmission).
  • To satisfy the examiners in the examination of the degree of the MPhil/PhD, the candidate is required to make specified Minor Amendments to the examiners' satisfaction within 3 months. (First submission and resubmission).  
  • To satisfy the examiners in the examination of the degree of the MPhil/PhD, the candidate is required to make specified Amendments to Address Errors of Substance or Omission to the examiners' satisfaction within 9 months. (First submission only).  
  • The candidate is permitted to re-enter for the examination on the same thesis within 12 months (MPhil)/18 months (PhD).  A 2nd viva may be required. (First submission only).
  • The candidate has not satisfied the criteria for the degree of PhD or MPhil and will not be permitted to re-enter for the examination for the MPhil/PhD. (First submission and resubmission).  

Please click herefor a more detailed explanation of the extent of amendments required, depending on whether you have been given 3, 9 or 12/18 months to make alterations.

Minor Amendments

  • If the examiners decide that Minor Amendments are required in order for you to reach the necessary standard, these will either be given to you at the viva or sent to you by Student Administration. The 3 month deadline starts from when you are informed of the Minor Amendments required.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to liaise with the nominated examiner regarding the format. 
  • Please note, if you fail to submit your minor amendments within the 3 month deadline or fail to complete them to the satisfaction of your examiners, this may result in the failure of your degree and the termination of your studies. Please refer to the Research Degree Regulations for further details.

Amendments to Address Errors of Substance or Omission (First Submissions only)

N.B. - This option is only available for first submissions.

  • If the examiners decide that Amendments to Address Errors of Substance or Omission are required in order for you to reach the necessary standard, these will either be given to you at the viva or sent to the student by Student Administration. The 9 month deadline starts from when you are informed of the Amendments required.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to liaise with the nominated examiner regarding the format. 
  • Please note, if you fail to submit your amendments within the 9 month deadline or fail to complete them to the satisfaction of your examiners, this may result in the failure of your degree and the termination of your studies.  Please refer to the Research Degree Regulations for further details. 

 

Resubmission

If you have been asked to resubmit your thesis within 18 months, the MPhil/PhD exam process is very similar to the process for a first submission. Please see below an outline of the slight differences:

Resubmission deadline

  • The resubmission deadline is 18 months from the date of the Resubmission letter that will have been sent to you by Student Administration to officially inform you of the outcome of the 1st submission.  Please note that failure to resubmit by this deadline will normally result in the failure of the degree.  Please refer to the Research Degree Regulations for further details.

Entry for a resubmission

  • If you have been asked to resubmit your thesis within 18 months, you will need to complete a new entry form for MPhil/PhD resubmission at least 2 months before resubmission,  just as if you were submitting for the first time.   For WORD 2010 or MAC users, a form which can be completed electronically is available by emailing researchdegrees@royalholloway.ac.uk.
  • If you fail to submit your entry form two month prior to your resubmission, it is likely this will result in a delay in your subsequent examination process.

 Resubmission tuition fee

  • If you are invited to resubmit your thesis, you will be given a period of 21 days during which to inform us if you do NOT wish to continue with your studies.
  • If you do not decline within this period, you will be billed a resubmission fee by Student Fees. No other fees are payable as long as you submit within the 12/18 months stated (fees for 2016/17: MPhil - £230, PhD - £290).
  • This fee helps to pay for the additional examination and the administrative costs of a resubmission as well as your tuition fees for the full 12/18 months.
  • If a second viva is required, you will be billed a further fee to cover the additional administrative and examination costs (fees for 2016/175: MPhil - £200, PhD - £225).
  • If it has not been determined after your first submission whether you will be required to have a second viva, the standard resubmission fee will be billed at first and the further amount will only be billed if a second viva is required.

 Nomination of examiners

  • If the examiners for the resubmission are the same as for the first submission, this should be indicated in Section D (Nomination of Examiners) of the Entry Form for MPhil/PhD Resubmission. If the examiners have already been approved for the first submission, their details will not need to be sent to the College Board of Examiners Executive Committee for approval.

Resubmission examination

  • At the time of the oral examination for the first submission, the examiners would have been given the opportunity to indicate whether they believed a new oral examination would be necessary to accompany the resubmission. 
  • If a second viva is required, this should be arranged by your supervisor and Student Administration should be informed of the date. As with the first submission, your examiners should return their reports within 2 weeks of your viva. You will then be officially informed of the outcome and, if required, sent copies of the relevant report forms.
  • If a second viva is not required, your examiners are expected to return their reports within 3 months of the dispatch of the thesis to them. Please note that, although reports are normally received within this 3 month deadline, it can occasionally take the examiners longer than 3 months to submit their report; we are reliant on examiners from other institutions who will have considerable demands on their time.  Once the report has been received, you will be officially informed of the outcome and, if required, sent copies of the relevant report forms.

Submission of finalised thesis

  • You are required to submit an electronic copy your finalised thesis.
  • As of 01 October 2016, you are no longer required to submit a hard copy of your finalised thesis to the College.
  • The electronic copy should be submitted via Pure. Please refer to the Guidance for assistance with this.  
  • If you wish to restrict access to your e-thesis for up to 2 years, you should indicate this when you submit your e-thesis in Pure. 
  • For further information please refer to Electronic Thesis Submission Policy. 
  • If you wish to restrict access to your e-thesis for more than 2 years or wish to restrict access to the hard copy of your thesis, you will need to put this request in writing to Student Administration.  If you have not already requested this on your examination entry form, please contact us

Results

  • Once your award has been approved by the Dean and you have submitted the required copy of your finalised thesis, an Award Letter, and a copy of your examiners' reports will be sent to your forwarding address.
  • Within 3 months of the date of your Award Letter, your certificate will be sent to your forwarding address. These are produced by the Diploma Production Office for the University of London. If you have any queries, please contact them on 020 7862 8303 or diploma.enquiries@london.ac.uk.
  • Please ensure that your forwarding address is correct.
  • Please note that, if you have a debt with the University, your degree certificate will be withheld. Once you have cleared your debt, please contact Student Administration.
  • You can order proof of your study from our Online Store.  Please click here for further details. 

    Please note that if you have a RHUL Tier 4 Student Visa the university is required to inform the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) when you have completed your PhD earlier than expected. Please contact the International Student Support Office if you need further clarification.

Graduation Ceremony 

 To attend the graduation ceremonies this December you are required to:

  • have an award date of 01 November 2016 or earlier and
  • have submitted the required copy of your finalised thesis by the 30 November 2016.

To attend the graduation ceremonies in July you will be required to:

  • have an award date of 01 June 2017 or earlier and
  • have submitted the required copies of your finalised thesis by the 30 June 2017.  

Please contact student-enquiries@royalholloway.ac.uk for further advice or visit the Graduation website.

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09/12/2016
 
Contact us:

If you have not been able to find the answer to your query on this page, please contact Louise Fallon:

Email: researchdegrees@rhul.ac.uk

Tel:    +44 (0)1784 414480

 

 
Regulations
For further information, please refer to the Research Degree Regulations