I have had such a terrible experience in my PhD journey and would like to receive your recommendation.
I had the first VIVA in December 2018 and I was given major correction. I was really upset because I received good feedback from attending the workshops and conferences. I found a friend who studied in another country and got the same external examiner, he said that this examiner was so tough and was not friendly to him as well.
After that I seek more knowledge to improve my PhD. I discussed all the concerns with the experts in the fields. I have spent time more than 2 years (extending from 18 months) to do the corrections and resubmit my thesis regarding their recommendation. I also provided the examiners with a separate document explaining all of my correction. In December 2021 the examiners asked for another VIVA exam. I had mock-VIVA with my colleagues and my supervisors 4 times, and everything went well. Unfortunate, it appears to see that my VIVA was completely different from the practicing. The examiners attacked me several issues e.g. the literature review, methodology and theory instead of my correction. Some of the new issues were arisen during the VIVA instead of going through the revisions. I am also still not clear what is wrong with my research why they did not pass me because I followed everything which is the common practices. One of them only said that he disagreed with my approach. The examiners did not provide me any constructive feedback. I think they prefer a particular approach. Currently I am waiting for the formal report.
They said they will give me MPhil instead of the PhD if I make a correction within 3 months. Mainly they asked me to remove the theory and resubmit it. This offer shows that they do not want me to receive even the MPhil because I have to revise the whole thesis and even re-analyse the data which will take a longer time than the given deadline.
I am so exhausted with my PhD. I feel like the only few examiners have ruined my future career. I am going to appeal in a case that there are actual bias or unfair conduct of the assessment. I want to have a set of examiners.
Therefore, I want to receive your recommendation if there is any possibility to win the case. Also, how should I make my appeal convincing? If you have any other recommendation, please feel free to share your idea.
I thank you so much for reading this and your time. Any feedback would be very much appreciated.
Do read the past posts by faded07. She fought against her examiners and won. It was a long hard battle. See her strategy.
Do you have access to student union or postgrad coordinator's support? You will need everything you can get to fight your examiners. If you have access to lawyers through your student union, grab that. Do not tell your supervisor or examiners that you are going to fight their verdict before you are ready. They usually will close ranks and would rather lose you then lose their relationship before in academia, they are high likely to peer review each other and collaborate on projects.
I’ve been through a similar situation and won. Here are my tips:
1. Be patient and don’t tell the university about your appeal for now;
2. Read the university regulations and stick to procedural irregularities (that’s most the cases);
3. Be careful with student union (the one from my uni said they did not have expertise to deal with PhD cases);
3. Find evidences of every episode (unfair treatment, bias, etc).
4. If you can, hire a barrister. It has been an investment of years and UK universities are corporatists. You should prepare a great appeal to have any change.
Good luck !
Thank you so much tru, Over 1234 and azhan for your recommendation.
I am reading the post by faded07. I already told my supervisors on the exam date that I wanted them to support me because I felt like the examiners were bias. One of them is willing to support me for the appeal. I am going to have a meeting with my school and student union this week to listen their opinions if they want to support me. Because my case is about ideological bias which the advisors at the student union do not have much experience on. I am not sure if they can support me. I am aware that the people at my VIVA know each other and they may be considerate the external examiner who is the senior in my field. I think this is a reason that one of my supervisors does not support me and wants me to accept the examiners' decision; thus, she has suggested me to do the correction in order to get an MPhil. I am thinking if it is possible to ask for the independent committees who are not in my research centre or in my field as it may create a bias to accept my case. Would you please give me some idea?
That sounds grim and I feel for you. It must be soul crushing.
I agree with the advice of everyone else. Though I would focus on the procedural issues rather than the examiners are in inherently biased, as it is far less subjective.
Can I ask why did you need a second viva with major corrections? In the UK I thought second vivas were only for Revise and Resubmit and it seems weird that your external requested it. Also if the examiners were the same, they shouldn't be able to complain about areas that they previously thought were acceptable. Major corrections is a pass and it should be implied that anything not covered by corrections is of sufficient standard. Reassessing work that wasn't included in the corrections should be outside of their remit during corrections/second viva. In my opinion the examiners didn't follow the rules but proving that will be difficult.
Understand that you have an uphill battle ahead of you. You are challenging an external examiner who is apparently a senior in the field. Very few people will support you because by doing so, they are going against him and may put their own career on the line should they need his assistance to peer review papers, collaborate or get recommendation for senior positions in the future.
I agree with Over1234's step by step strategy. You need good strategy and a hell lot of resilience to overcome this monumental challenge. I disagree on one point though as I have found excellent support from my student union when I went up against my supervisor on a major issue. Mine was not on examination outcome, but rather a major bias and financial irregularity. We had a lawyer ready to be deployed because I had excellent record keeping to prove my case. My personal experience was the university closed its ranks on me and gave a thinly veiled threat of failing me should I persist which I did and won. I do acknowledge though that I was one of the lucky ones as most people fail in their fights.
Think deeply about your strategy. Perhaps seek others who have fought and won in challenging examination outcome. Good luck
Thank you for sharing your experience Tru. It is really helpful. I can learn a lot from your case. You are really lucky to win the case and I hope I will be lucky too. Do you have any ideas about which factors caused people to fail or win the appeal? If you have any interesting cases, please kindly advise, I want to study.
I totally agree. Avoid bias or confront examiners opinions - in my university, actually, the regulation says I cannot go against ‘academic evaluations’.
I had crappy examiners who did not read my thesis. Even though, they asked for modest amendments without clear requests. After corrections the examiners suggested me a Mphil.
They justified the downgrade asking for new materials that were not requested after the final viva (surprisingly, one of them asked me to change half of the thesis). They were a total mess. Both of my supervisors turned their back to me.
A barrister from alpha academics helped me with the appeal. He mentioned some of the university regulations and explained the irregularities attached with my evidences (emails, examiners and supervisors reports, etc).
Stay strong. You will win this too
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