Picking external and internal examiners


Do people know how to pick internal and external examiners?

The time has come to pick them. My supervisors suggestion of the external isnt my top choice although my top choice he's mentioned also. His top choice I dont know personally and havent seen in person. My supa said that he is tough but fair and very experienced. What ever that means. I really want a guy who I can get on with. Hence my choice and Im familiar with his work and papers. I also have friends who are working with him.

Of course Im yet to let my supervisor know my opinions. I thought Id get a feel of how its done before I contact him.

Is the internal very important and does the internal needs to be in my field and know 100% of my area?


Avatar for sneaks

My sup chose for me, claimed to consult me on it, but really bulldozed the matter. She chose high profile people that she's said will probably have an ego fight in the viva, be picky and ask for lots of corrections - just because of who they are, not because of the thesis.

Whilst I'd like to think the prestige of having these people viva me will be amazing for my career, to be honest, I highly doubt it.

I would much rather have examiners who are nice!


I'm with Sneaks on this one, I prefer nice examiners! I just think I'll be nervous enough and I really don't need some dictator-style person. (Sorry, you didn't get to choose yours Sneaks!)

I was told by an unbiased colleague to go for someone who's 'nice and fair'. So that's what I've done, my internal is someone who doesn't know a lot about the subject but has related interests (my topic is a bit too specific) and my external is the 'expert' in the field. Both examiners are nice in the sense that they're there to challenge me but not to put me down (as I've heard some do/have done), but to get me to think about my research.

I've read some of my external's work but not my internal's. I've never met either of them but I trust the people who recommended them to me. So, for me, knowing their work and meeting them in person is not essential at all.


I worked in a very small field, and having done work previously with a number of people, my external ended up being the only other guy in the country who I hadn't worked with. This meant I didn't really have much choice, although the guy was really nice, I'd met him a few times at conferences. My internal knew next to nothing about my subject area, but as my external was an expert this was ok.

I think that the choice of examiners depends on your project and getting a balance right, for example multidisciplinary projects could end up with no examiner knowing the field that well, and if you were doing say Biophysics your internal might be a Physicist and external a Biologist (or vice versa)