Slight disagreement


My supervisor wanted to sit in my viva but I said no and I've heard nothing since. Do you think this will have an impact on the viva outcome? I don't know what sway my supervisor holds with the examiners.

Avatar for sneaks

I think its more about your relationship with them because it will affect your performance. I know for my I'm a bit timid aruond my sup, but will quite happily be quite bulshy and defend myself and my work better without her there (so I'm not meek-sneaks)

I also worry about my sup contradicting me e.g. if I say I did XYZ because.... and she butts in and says "no you didn't..." it would be awful! And no matter wha thte rules are about butting in, I'm sure she would anyway!

I think if you think its better for him/her not to be there, then its going to be best for you.


Thanks Sneaks. I'm 100% sure my supervisor would never intervene in the process. What I mean is my supervisor would keep their mouth firmly zipped throughout. I don't want them there because the time I really needed them was during my PhD and I think they just want to be there to claim some credit should there be any glory.

Avatar for sneaks

Then it may depend on your examiners - do they need reigning in? If it would help for him/her to be there, to keep them on track and asking suitable questions, then I'd swallow your pride and allow it. But if you think they're nice enough people who act fairly, then go with what you want

Avatar for DrCorinne

I understand your position Delta, and I agree with you.
Also my supervisor offered to come to the viva too, but I politely declined. As you said, I couldn't see the point of him being there, when I had to work by myself for the past three years.

I think that it is just matter of politely say: "Thank you very much, but I would rather prefer not. I will probably be nervous on the day, and I would prefer to be there by myself."


======= Date Modified 10 Nov 2011 14:34:04 =======
======= Date Modified 10 Nov 2011 14:33:48 =======
Tricky one, isn't it although surely a professional exam board would not let something like that affect the outcome.

Having said that, I am in two minds whether I want mine there or not. I feel I would be more assertive a la Sneaks if he wasn't there and yet to not have him there might send some message to the examiners that there is a problem which there really isn't. One pro I have heard about a supervisor being there is that the viva can go by in a haze for the candidate and the supervisor can take notes and remember what actually happened. A friend of mine had his viva recently and was also undecided about his supv being present. In the end she was there but sat behind him, so totally out of his line of vision.

I know you're annoyed Delta with the lack of support you seem to have gotten but if you think it would rock the boat by him or her not being there I would bite my tongue and just let them in. Afterall, present or not, presuming you pass (and you will :-)) it will go down in your department as a success for your supv and the team.

Let us know what you decide


I refused the offer of a mock viva with my supervisor because I knew it would have made me even more nervous than I already was. (Thinking if I couldn't answer anything he asked me I'd be very embarassed and feel worse). I didn't want to think of him judging me at that point as I really didn't need it, emotionally.

I DEFINITELY would NOT have wanted him sat in on my viva. I could not think of anything worse! Fortunately he didn't even suggest it after I'd already refused the mock viva stating that it would make me more nervous.

I honestly don't think it will reflect on your viva and the examiners thoughts. It has to be whatever YOU are most comfortable with at that point, and examiners are more than happy to roll with that because they've been there and DO understand too! I wouldn't worry about the thoughts of your supervisor either. I'm 100% sure you are not the first student to refuse their supervisor to sit in, infact I'm guessing that it is more normal NOT to have them there.


Quote From sneaks:

I think its more about your relationship with them because it will affect your performance. I know for my I'm a bit timid aruond my sup, but will quite happily be quite bulshy and defend myself and my work better without her there


Hi Delta,

Firstly as far as I understand, the sup might not say anything. My examiners literally told my sup (a Reader) that he will not be speaking at all during the viva. (And he did not). He was actually quite supportive. Secondly, I am guessing irrespective of how bad a supervisor might have behaved during the years, probably they will *or at least should* realize that it is actually a matter of their own prestige too in the viva. (e.g. If a student fails, why would future students want to come to them next time?)

In my University at least, the rules clearly state that the sup has no role at all in the examination. And before the award, the examiners' report is vetted considerably before it is approved by the student administration actually. It has been known that sometimes the outcome of the viva can change based on the awards committee.

Anyways all the best for the viva.



Thanks everyone, your thoughts have been very helpful and I'll let you know what I decide.


I completely agree with others, that this shouldn't impact on the final result. Also, I'm sure I've read somewhere that they arrived for their viva and they were told they'd passed before it even started? Was it Bilbo's?

As Mak pointed out, the thesis is discussed prior to the viva and I wouldn't be surprised if result would have been agreed beforehand either (obviously final result would be pending our performance at the viva!).

Good luck and let us know how it goes.


======= Date Modified 11 Nov 2011 11:28:11 =======
edit duplicate post, sorry


It's my understanding that my supervisor gets to submit a report and this is taken into consideration when considering the outcome. My supervisor is not responding to my emails. My feeling is my request hasn't been taken in good spirit but hopefully I'm wrong.


I see where you're coming from now. Could you try to arrange a meeting to discuss the viva and perhaps clear the air?


======= Date Modified 11 Nov 2011 13:23:42 =======
Thanks Skig.