Viva coming up soon, Thesis has too many typos! What happens to failed PhDer's?


My PhD has not gone well. I had an bullying supervisor and thesis was not proof read by anyone but myself. I reread it and while the science is solid I've made a number of mistakes and even referred to one or two terms incorrectly. I know what the proper term is! And I'm so annoyed at myself for allowing these mistakes through, it makes it look like I don't know the field! I really don't see the viva going well and am prepared for at the very best R&R, but most likely a fail.

I completely burnt out by the end of my PhD and was regularly waking up to throw up leading up to submission. The department and my supervisor completely abandoned me on an ill defined and broad topic and I was stretched way too thin with the resources available. I became over worked and completely stressed out to the point that my physical and mental health has completely deteriorated. I wanted to quit, but everyone around me kept telling me to keep going. I wish I hadn't listened. I wish I'd been true to myself. I'm now burnt out, completely exhausted, suffering from depression and will most likely not be getting a PhD or even an Mphil.

How will this look when I'm looking for future employment? I get the feeling that employers believe that if you can't hack grad "school" you can't hack the real world. I feel like I'm looking at a life-time of underemployment and missed opportunity. I can't believe how badly I've screwed up. Anyone got any advice?


Ok, wow, take a breath. Note all the mistakes in your copy or have a list ready at the viva. That's your defence of your work, explain anything they ask, accept that there are mistakes and don't stress over it.


Every thesis has mistakes, the examiners aren't out to fail you if you can show good science and address everything they bring up during the viva. They may have concerns over it but they'll give you an R+R at worst


Please report back here with an update after your viva. Like the others said, if the science is good but the thesis is bad, the worst you are going to get is R&R. And I doubt it would even come to that. I bet you pass with minor corrections.


You won't fail because of some typos, and there will be a chance to fix the errors before you submit the final version. I agree with making a note of any errors just in case the examiners bring them up ( though they may not even notice).

I know how depression can make everything seem hopeless, but it's probably not as bad as you think. Sorry you had such a struggle during your PhD. I had similar and got an R&R in the end, but there's every chance you will pass with minor correction. Good luck!


Hi Youaregonnapass

There is some really good advice above. I hope this presentation helps you to prepare for your viva with full confidence and pass. I try not to talk about myself unless it helps others. But may I say that I feel like my story was near identical to yours when I was a doc submitting in 2014 and I passed. None of my examiners recommended major revisions (not that my doctorate was special or anything...enough to get over the line). Please keep in contact with postgraduateforum buddies...the advice above is first class accurate given your current state. Best to you - Jay


I fell into a similar position in that I found several typos throughout my thesis after the first submission. This happens more often than you think. I was given advice to prepare a list of what needed changing and I started making amendments prior to my viva. I passed with minor corrections and I am sure you will too. There is some really excellent advice here on what to do, I would just prepare now as best you can in the time you have for the viva.

I found great advice on University webpages as to how to prepare for the viva and that advice really helped (even though it was the page of a different University that I used).


You're not going to fail because of typos. My thesis was full of typos (English is not my first language); they gave me three months to fix it and pointed out the typos. I did it and passed. I have seen much worse that my thesis since then, so I highly doubt they will fail you because of it. Also, they will realize at the viva that you know your stuff (or dont!), so no need to stress so much!


I found about 80 typos in my thesis when I looked through it before the Viva, I had to submit in such a hurry it was inevitable! At the viva my examiners just said 'there are a lot of typos but we can see you have found them too (my copy was full of post-its marking out where the typos were), you know to fix them we won't mention it again. I got Major corrections but not for the typos, for stats stuff they wanted me to add. I guess some examiners might be more upset than others about typos but they can't fail you for it. I doubt there is a PhD in existence without a few typos still lurking!