viva today


Just thought I'd share my viva experience as so many others in this forum have.
I had my viva this morning and was so nervous - I couldn't even eat my breakfast, my stomach was churning from 6am.
I arrived at my uni at 10am, half an hour early for my viva. My supervisor took me to his office and came with me to the examination room at 10 30. Thankfully the chair told me at the start that I had passed and then the external & internal took turns asking me questions. They started by saying how much they enjoyed reading my thesis which was wonderful to hear! The questions I got asked were very specific to my work rather than generic ones. The questions lasted about 45 or 50 mins, then I was asked to step outside. When I came back in the chair told me I had been awarded the PhD without amendments! I couldnt believe this as some of the comments implied I should have added a little more in one chapter and remove some repetitive text fr
om another.
I won't lie - I found the lead up & the actual viva really stressful, but my examiners were so happy with my work and so complimentary that I really can't complain! I don't think it has sunk in that I don't have any corrections to do - there were a few suggestions made during the viva that I will probably add anyway! My supervisor (the one who knows my name) was so proud too - made me a little emotional!


Congratulations Emma ! Time to celebrate !

Avatar for CtSilver

Wow, that's fantastic news! Very well done, even better with no corrections to make. I hope I can be as successful as you in the future. :-) I wish you all the best!

Avatar for Pjlu

Wonderful news for you Dr Emma; well done!!! Hope the celebrations are helping to keep the moment alive and best wishes for future plans...and to have such positive feedback-that's really amazing and a tribute to your work. Now it all seems worthwhile doesn't it?


Thanks so much everyone - I had a nice steak dinner and bottle of wine at home with the bf that night then came home to a bottle of champagne, card & box of chocolates from my dad & sisters on sat. Lovely. Now just have to figure out what to do with myself...


Hi Emma, if you don't mind, could you share some of your experience of surviving your PhD. What were the main problems that you had in your studies and how did you overcome them ? What were the positive points ? I am interested to know your experience, as a fellow Humanities students. Thanks.


One of the biggest problems I faced was the unwillingness of certain institutions to grant me access to their collections & archives. A MASSIVE part of my thesis was primary research and I had no luck getting in to a large institution in my region of interest. To this day I still dont know what archives they have and if these would have been useful or not - but that is part of archival research I think. I was just lucky every other institution or library I contacted was more than happy to help.

I was worried my examiners would pick up on the fact that I hadn't used archives or information from the said (hard to get in to) institution but they didnt - the effort I put in to the rest of the primary research paid off and they didnt even comment on it, until after the viva when we were chatting and we all had a wee moan about how useless they have become.

I was also worried about whether the examiners would 'get' it - my argument, my topic, my whole approach. But they really did. My thesis was historical so I was worried they would push me more towards the criticial/theoricial (like one of my supervisors) but they got that is was a historical approach - which was valid in and of itself - the external even commented that alarm bells ring for him when theses are packed full of theoretical arguments that dont necessarily fit.

Also write up is a pain. It just is. A thesis, in the humanities anyway, is huge - mine is 417 pages long & the main body of the text is around 90000 words. You need to be somewhat organised to get through it. I created folders on my desktop for different chapters and put in images, papers and various chunks of text I had written up. If you havent decided on chapters yet I'd arrange by topic/sections or whatever makes most sense to you, but you need to do something to get through it. Hope this helps some of you!