Can you disagree with the examiners position at Viva?


======= Date Modified 22 Nov 2011 16:13:57 =======
When given the decision at viva (pass, major corrections, minor corrections etc) if you disagree with the decision can you constructively argue against it or is it set in stone? Do you have to sign anything? Sorry for asking but my supervisor has proved useless in providing advice.

Avatar for sneaks

All the viva's I've seen (i.e. watched people do them in my department) - you tend to have the viva, then you go out for 30 mins or so and then you get called back where they tell you what the result is. Of the 10 people I've known to have a viva, about 8 of them had to ask for clarification about what the result actually was, as they were completely unclear as to whether they had passed or failed because the examiners aren't often very straight talking I guess.

I suppose you do have the opporutnity to argue, but I'd imagine, they've already made up their mind before they even come to the viva. I suppose if you get asked for a major amendment and you think its completely stupid, then you can tell them why and they may re-consult eachother?


Many thanks Sneaks, that was very helpful and gives me some sense of what to expect.


I think (and have read elsewhere) that the viva itself can help push a desicion in one direction if the examiners are unsure (not ready to agree), so in that respect your defense is quite important and can "tip" the balance if necessary. You can constructively argue against opinions/statements that the examiners make about your thesis in the viva, and I guess it is this that will help sway any issues you might have with the final desicion (in that you can refer back to the conversation).


Hi Delta,

I agree with Sneaks and Cplusplusgal. There are basically 3 stages as far as it happens in our university:
A. Pre-viva report which is filled in before the viva in consultation with or independently of each other (by the examiners)
B. Viva where you can change their opinion positively swaying them away from a bad decision hopefully.
C. Announcement: This is after you come back and they have deliberated. In this case, there have probably already made up their minds so I hope you won't have to argue at this stage. Hopefully it will go ok. But please do carefully read all rules on what are the possibilities and how decisions can be made.

Kind regards



Thanks everyone. I've looked at the rules for another university and note that it is my right under law to see the reports. I'll not ask prior to viva for fear of rocking the boat (as I've been told by my university I can't see them) but hopefully I may get to see them at some point.


Hi Delta, there is a some good advise on here from everyone and I felt I needed to add on to the thread having just gone through this experience.
Your viva is the most important part of the process(obviously after actually writing the thesis) you have a chance to prove to a doubting examiner that you have made informed and calculated choices in your work....I dont know about disagreeing with the examiners decisions... but what I do know is that you can and should argue against the points they have against your thesis as in stand up for what you have done VERY CLEARLY :-) and dont worry you will do great....I Wish you all the very best...(up)


Many thanks Naturalme and congratulations again on your good news.


You usually get to see the viva/thesis report a few weeks after the viva itself. As long as you pass the viva I suppose it doesn't really matter what they say in it....


Thanks, I didn't realise that students got to see the pre-viva reports after viva. Hopefully, I'll not have to ask then.