Quick questions, if you were submitting early summer, would you go on a 6 weeks tour of Europe between your sumbission and your viva? Is it even wise?
I've heard that theses sumitted in summer doesn't get vivaed until late September, but you just never know (I don't know the viva date yet...)
Or would preparing for the viva take 2 months? (in which case I am happy to nto go as my PhD is obviously my first priority).
What would you do?
My thesis was submitted 1st April and straight away I went on holiday for 2 1/2 weeks. I have still not been given a viva date after 8 weeks of waiting. To be honest a longer holiday will take your mind off the wait and as long as you are available for contact via email or mobile I cannot see a problem. It is difficult to motivate yourself for viva prep when there is no date to aim for. If they email you of provisional dates you can then decide to cut your trip short if necessary.
I think I would go but would advise my supervisor beforehand that you were going to be out of the country for that length of time. Also I would make sure to put 'an out of office' message on my email, just in case you were contacted by the exam board during the time you were away.
You sound close to submitting Pink, I'm really happy for you:-)
you guys are great, I would've never got this far without your support, so thank you :)
I'm trying to figure out what info I need to make the right decision. So far, I think I should email the office to see if they have set a provisional date (as I can't see the actual viva date being any earlier than this). They chased me up about when I was intending on submitting so that they would arrange this, so I am assuming they are planning a provisional date?
I'll also speak to my supervisor. She might think it's the worst idea in the world, or the best. Either way, as Ady said, I need to speak to her about it anyway.
What other info would you need to make a decision on something like this?
The thing I think that would be niggling away with me is the chance that the viva 'might' be say 8 weeks after submission. So if you are going away for six weeks immediately after submitting, in theory you might only have a fortnight to prepare which would be tough, especially after working so hard these last few years. If, however your supv et al can reassure you that it won't be 'til at least September, start packing those bags!
Can't think of anything else. Certainly don't think it would be a good idea to take any PhD related material with you as you are pretty unlikely to look at it and then the guilt sets in... Organise your papers etc so as to be able to start your viva prep when you get back.
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Hi Pink Numbers,
My experience is probably a complete outlier in terms of everyone else here, but I was made to wait for 4 months for a viva date, then 12 days before the original viva date, my viva date was cancelled as my examiner refused to mark it (because my thesis exceeds the word limit, yet he received it 2 weeks after I submitted my thesis). I had to wait another 5 weeks for a new viva date and my new viva will take place in just over two weeks time (Arrrrghhhh!)
In sum, assuming I'm not faced with further delays, it has taken around 8 months between submission and my viva. If I had known there was going to be such a big delay, then I would have definitely taken some time out away from my thesis, ideally a travelling opportunity.
I'm now knuckling down with my viva preparations (and currently revising some of my thesis tables ).
Waiting for a viva date completely depends on the examiners availability, their time scale and to some extent whether there are problems with the thesis (in my case an overly long thesis, although was accepted by my university! grrrrr).
Two months seems like a very long time to prepare for a viva- perhaps a little over kill (but that's just a personal opinion). However, I've tried to keep up to date with everything since I submitted, but in reality, I've allocated two weeks for solid viva preparation. I still don't know if I'm going to pass my PhD at the end of all this :-( I'm really struggling to cope with viva stress at the moment- especially when my supervisors seem to be ignoring me and keep highlighting that an MPhil is a possibility. Perhaps if I had spent more time preparing for a viva then I would feel more relaxed about the whole process. But, due to work commitments and family illness, I've only had a limited amount of time to devote to this thesis.
If it was me, I would GRAB the opportunity for travelling :) I only wish I had the funds to travel!
Also- check with your admin staff or whoever has responsibility of communicating with examiners re dates, your supervisors may not have any idea about set dates. My postgraduate officer of my department is sending me regular emails about dates from my examiner and I have to keep my supervisors informed of any developments re dates. Unlike my supervisory team, she's also sending me lots of supportive 'hang in there' type emails which is helping me keep my stress levels under control.
I would recommend a break though, but not a 6 week one. That sounds far too risky for me. Surely getting the PhD viva ASAP is the priority, including preparing properly for it. I would also not take a huge break until after my corrections are signed off. I wouldn't think I'd earned it myself.
Thank you so much guys :)
I am totally hearing what you are saying. I also spoke to the admin people that deals with us PhD students and they said if you can wait, it's best to wait till at least the viva is done. I have realised that this is very sensible!
We are still going on a 6-week trip, but not this year. If I only get an hourly paid teaching job this coming academic year, I will still be free to go on a long holiday, and I will have way more time to prepare everything. I realise how silly it is to think that I could finalise my thesis AND book a trip of a life time in a month or so!
Thank you so much for all your opinions, they were really helpful in making me see things objectively :)
I finished my thesis on 21 January. Today is 16 June and I still have no date for my viva. The delays are a constant worry because I need to move house and find a job and I can't keep my life on hold indefinitely. I'm in danger of forgetting what I wrote and of being overwhelmed with subsequent publications relevant to my research.
It happened like this: first, my supervisors told me not to worry about the Intention to Submit form when I prepared it and asked for their signatures last Autumn. Three months later, I insisted and finally got it signed, but by then the thesis was about completed. When it was completed, the supervisors read it. First one, then the other. Each took about 4 weeks. Finally I got the minor changes back and made them in less than 2 working days. Then I submitted formally, but the key administrator was on leave. Eventually, after a few more weeks, the administrator came back from leave and I saw that my documents were still on her desk. She told me that I'd submitted a quantitative thesis in a department which had gone wholesale over to new paradigm qualitative methods, so there was nobody who was numerate enough to understand what I'd done! The ones who understood statistics were too inexperienced to be approved and the experienced examiners either didn't like or couldn't understand the stats. If the process straggles into another academic year, I need to re-register and pay fees. I'm stuck in limbo.
The Uni guidance says nothing about time limits for examining my thesis, although I am aware that other universities expect to examine within 6-8 weeks. Is there anything I can do to bring this process to a conclusion? It's getting to the point where I just need to find a job and don't give a damn if they ever examine my work. Who wants a doctorate anyway..?
Hi Selma, what a horrible situation. I submitted at the beginning of feb and have just had a date agreed for July, the delay being a lost copy of my thesis destined for my internal examiner. That said, I can totally relate to your frustrations of the delay and your need for closure on this part of your PhD so that you can move on. I too am relocating in August so stated this as an influencing factor for the viva date. I am concerned that I have lost a connection with my thesis as I have not been actively working on it for a few months and of course there is worry that someone may publish similar works as mine (although this is a very specialised area). I couldn't work seriously on viva prep until I had a viva date, deadlines always help productivity! I think you need to speak with the uni administrations office asap to establish the delay and what action is being taken. Also, is your supervisor helpful in dealing with this, if not go higher up the chain. The uni has a duty to give you a viva examination with appropriate examiners - they knew the topic area far in advance of submission. You are not obliged to pay further fees for the next academic year as you have submitted, just an exam fee should be due. So my advice would be to try to make contact with the uni asap prior to the holiday period. Normally vivas in the UK should be within three months of submitting and if not then they need to justify why and what is being done about it. Good luck (up)
Thanks for the encouragement! My supervisors are not helpful because one is very senior within the department and doesn't seem to want to rock any boats. The other has a chair elsewhere and is only part time at my university.
It does give me some hope that you have had a date though! I hope mine won't be much longer now. I'm trying to read and bring my thesis work up to date with the publications subsequent to submission - my subject area is quite a fast moving area, with the exception of my research. I've also used quantitative methods and my department is not keen on statistics, so they seem to find it difficult or distasteful to examine it. The submitted copies of my thesis haven't even left the administrator's desk yet and it is so frustrating to see them still gathering dust there after so long!
A colleague at another University did say that HEFCE might have some standards for timing of vivas. She thought they were set at about 3 months, but I can't find any reference yet. If I could locate such a quality standard, it might save other students from such long delays in future, even if it didn't help us.
Best wishes for a brilliant viva!
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