I would like to clarify that I am not seeking legal advice at this stage but am seeking advice through the Student's Union. I might (emphasise on the 'might') end up seeking legal advice should this result in a fail for the following reasons:
- My initial viva report which put forward the necessary revisions of my R&R was lost by the chair of my examination panel and my examiner's also failed to hold back up copies of this. This resulted in a 3 month wait for my report which, I suspect, had to be re-written and wasn't an accurate depiction of the revisions suggested on the day.
- Upon completion of my 12 months R&R I endured a 3 month wait for my result. After chasing it, the office issued me an incorrect result telling me I had failed when, it turns out, I had 6 months minor revisions because my external still wasn't happy with how I'd addressed the first round.
- The reports from my external examiner during both correction periods have been very short (around half a page) and incredibly vague making it difficult to cater to her love of precision.
- They have now given me a third revision period (which, according to the rules, doesn't exist) and a few sentences of compulsory revisions from my external which even my supervisor can't understand. She continues to be incredibly vague and it's clear that she wants the process dragged out so that I either a) give up or b) continue to work on my thesis for the rest of my life.
- As a result of all the above I have missed out on job opportunities which, in turn, has contributed to a loss of earnings.
- And, finally, I didn't appreciate the personal attack of an administrator incorrectly putting 'Dr' next to my name which resulted in an immediate investigation into my role in my new workplace. The university could have simply requested the error be rectified immediately without the need for an investigation.
You have my sympathy. I am wondering if the purpose of the delay/problems by the external examiner is because someone she knows, maybe her own student, is pursuing a thesis/paper with a similar idea or concept. If that is truly the case, then on the basis of conflict of interest you can remove her from your examination panel.
Yes, you should be allowed to seek a third examiner. All the best with this. I do not understand this "compulsory" changes that you need to address as all students reserve the right to rebut. Unless your main supervisor signed that you must submit revisions to the complete satisfaction of your examiners, I don't think you need to...
Talking to the Students Union is an excellent idea. Do talk to the both the education and the lawyers in Students Union. Not asking you to take legal actions, but understanding your rights as a students as backed by university laws is very helpful sometimes in getting the right attention and help from administrative people in uni.
Thought I would give you all an update, although there isn't much to say in terms of what has been confirmed. My supervisor keeps getting my hopes up by putting forward possible scenarios which will see my PhD awarded but these scenarios haven't amounted to anything as yet.
We're currently trying to establish whether my external wants to see this third round of revisions. If she does, things aren't looking too good. If she doesn't and only my internal is required to look at them, my supervisor is confident that I won't even have to do the revisions and the thesis will be immediately passed by her as she has already written a report recommending that I be awarded the doctorate.
So...you would think getting a simple yes/no answer from my external wouldn't be a complicated matter. However, it's been nearly two weeks and I still haven't been provided with an answer. The SU have said I can't appeal against anything as I don't have an 'official' result as yet.
The university will close down for a month at the end of this week for the Xmas vacation so everyone will be signed off until mid-January. I think that not being able to provide me with an answer from my external at this stage is unacceptable. I submitted 6 months ago and haven't even been given a clear report from my examiners. My viva was 2 years ago now.
So incredibly fed up with being thrown breadcrumbs all the time. Career is on hold and the stress is unbearable.
I agree it's unacceptable. 6 months is already far too long for a decision on minor corrections, without it dragging on into next year. Surely it should be simply a case of the examiners checking whether or not all the requested corrections have been done - and if they have been done, you have passed. That's my understanding, anyway - isn't that why it's called 'pass subject to minor corrections'?
There really shouldn't be any question of negotiating further revisions at this stage. It seems unbelievable that your university isn't enforcing its own regulations here. That may be in your favour in any future appeal, though.
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