I passed my viva the other day with minor corrections (or enhancements as they termed them!). I've spent the last few days trying to get used to it and it's quite a weird feeling. After all those years of slogging away at a PhD, 8 years in my case as I'm part-time, it was all over in an hour and a half's viva. It all seems a bit unreal, as one minute I was a stressed student trying to do my best in front of the examiners, and then it was 'congratulations Dr so and so'! I think it feels odd because you inevitably spend so much time and emotional energy building up to those final stages of submission then the viva that maybe it's bound to feel a bit strange. One of my supervisors asked whether I felt short-changed and would I have liked the viva to be a bit longer, but I wouldn't have really, the shorter the better followed by a pass was my ideal scenario!
The viva was ok, nice examiners, all very interested in my work, all in a good mood as they knew each other, had a nice lunch and liked the room they were in. I had my supervisor there as observer which was a good idea in retrospect, as she took notes throughout. It was useful talking to her about the questions they asked afterwards to see where they were coming from, as that'll help with doing the emendments. She agreed that some of the questions were a bit vague even for 'open questions', or more to do with individual examiner's personal preoccupations than my work. They explained what amendments they wanted in detail, and my supervisor took notes on that too, a good job as I really wasn't listening properly by then as I was revelling in having passed! The amendments were things like restructuring the conclusion to strengthen it, adding extra bits I said during the viva that they found really interesting but I had thought too mundane or obvious to write into the thesis.
The revision I did was mostly based on the Rowena Murray book, How to Survive your Viva, which I thought was really good for preparation, especially for the types of questions she suggests frequently come up across most disciplines. A colleague showed me his PhD revision which involved memorising keywords from every page of his thesis. I can see how that's helpful to know your work inside out, but I've always been crap at memorising things so it definitely didn't work for me. My sups said it was more important to hold the bigger picture of my research in my head rather than agonise over minute detail at that stage. They didn't ask me about specific citations or anywhere I'd referenced their own work, which I'd been worrying about. I think the most useful revision I did was to know my methodology inside out, both strengths and weaknesses, as that was a major part of the viva. And my mock was really useful as a precursor to the real thing, it really dissipated my nervousness a lot.
Then we gave the examiners a tour of the jewellery workshops as requested, then I went to the pub! :-)
Thank you! :-)
Sim, my PhD is a theoretical one but I've been doing it about jewellery in an art college, so working with designers has been part of my project. Two of the examiners were from traditional universities and from sociology/anthropology backgrounds so I guess seeing what happens in an art college was a novelty.
Two other things I forgot to say earlier, there are so many horror stories about vivas on here that I thought writing about an ordinary one with a normal outcome might help redress the balance a bit. So it was meant as that, rather than a triumphalist post.
Also, the whole PhD 'experience' is so difficult in many ways that I think I would have found doing it a hell of a lot harder without this forum. It's been very reassuring to read so many similar problems and questions that I was also coming across myself, even though I didn't post about them myself on here. So thanks everyone, whether practical advice or abject misery, it's all been very supportive!! Lara, Tractorgirl and Armendaf have been great, especially while they were submitting, and all provided me with a lot of support, so thank you! (up):-)(up)
WELL DONE DR. RUBYW!!!!!!!!!! It IS great to hear your good news and good experience. (up)8-)(up). Happy days RubyXX
Thank you very much, lovely forum people! :-)
BilboBaggins, it certainly is a slog, it turned into a massive test of willpower in the end, just forcing myself to get on with it. I don't know if it's the same for fulltimers but the actual number of years it's part of your life is doubled, so no wonder it feels like it takes forever to finish. Hang on in there, you'll get there in the end. Plodding on has been my mantra for the past year, not wildly exciting, but it pays off eventually. If you change the lyrics of 70s soul classic 'Float On' by the Floaters to 'plod on' it helps lull you into plodding mode, it only works for the chorus, mind you, and it's probably rubbish advice for most people with more sophisticated musical tastes anyway!
You know, the nicest thing so far is the total absence of guilt at doing normal things. A friend came over for lunch today who I hadn't seen for ages, and normally I would have been getting a bit twitchy after a few hours and clockwatching, thinking oooh I've got my PhD to get on with, maybe it's time he went home, but today I didn't. I could even watch the Eurovision Song Contest all night and not feel guilty - hhhmmm, there's a treat! ;-)
Masters DegreesSearch For Masters Degrees
An active and supportive community.
Support and advice from your peers.
Your postgraduate questions answered.
Use your experience to help others.
Enter your email address below to get started with your forum account
Enter your username below to login to your account
An email has been sent to your email account along with instructions on how to reset your password. If you do not recieve your email, or have any futher problems accessing your account, then please contact our customer support.
or continue as guest