What happened in my 3 hour Viva!!


======= Date Modified 16 May 2011 13:57:11 =======
My Viva was at 2pm and I arrived at 1pm. I went to tell my supervisor I hadarrived and then went down to the café and got a big bottle of water and abanana (brain food). Admin lady came down and sat with me for 5 mins to wish meluck and to calm me down. I went and sat outside the room about 5 mins beforeand was seriously thinking of bailing when my internal came to get me.

We were all very polite, introductions etc. and they told me how it was goingto run, some general questions and then go through the thesis chapter bychapter. My external started by asking me to describe my thesis in onesentence, which threw me a bit but I managed to muddle something together. Thenmy internal asked me to describe my ontological position. I described myself asa post structuralist with a belief that respondents have their own experiencesand that we can only translate those experiences within our own ontology. Theythen both said that they felt that my thesis had been written whilst I was suppressingmy own beliefs and that there was no evidence of me in the work (well mysupervisors had told me I wasn’t allowed!!). Anyway it went on, theycomplimented my methodology asked how I had retained my sample. They questionedmy use of statistics in a quali study. They asked me to elaborate on some of mytables then challenged me on one of my major findings, which I did not agreewith and said so (diplomatically). Then the internal said could we take acomfort break and asked if we all wanted a coffee. So I nipped out to spend apenny and couldn’t believe it when I looked at the clock and we had been at itfor an hour and a half! With a coffee in hand we started again and this time myexternal asked me about feminist views and why I hadn’t included any feministliterature (could you imagine asking my two supervisors if I could includethat). Then they questioned my use of outcomes rather than processes. Then theyasked why I hadn’t included work on womens mothering roles. I reminded themthis was a funded study but they said that was irrelevant it was my thesis andnothing to do with the funders!! Eventually they said it was time to deliberateand I left and retreated to the supervisors room!!

He asked me what they had asked me about and then he had to ring his daughter as by now it was past 5pm and he wassupposed to be taking her out!! I was convinced it would be a bad result, Imean how can they question you for 3 hours and it be good?! It was about 20mins when examiner came to get me. We walked back in and I think my sup mentioned that she was smiling so it couldn’t be all bad. I sat down and myexternal complimented me on my work especially such a robust methodology. ThenI heard the word “congratulations” and started to blub and then I heard “pass with minor amendments”


then I heard “pass with minor amendments” and I really had to stop myself howling!! I barely heard their amendments. Then the examiner stood up and said “can I congratulate you Dr Senior and I think you have earned the right to use the title” at this point my supervisor piped up…”but she can’t call herself that yet can she?” to which she replied yes she can!!!! I shook hands with everyone and ran out of the building!!! It was a really positive experience overall. They handled it really well.

They have given me suggestions for reading for the amendments I need too do. I am not going overboard with it, just doing what I need to satisfy their demands. I think the amendments are more about their personal interests than mine but hey if that’s what they want!!!! After 6 weeks I am on the last part of the amendments and hope to re-submit them at the end of this week and hopefully get them signed off!!!
Thought people approaching their viva would be interested!!! Good luck


Very interesting stuff! I have only just started my PhD, but I am already pondering what this Viva means. Well done to you Dr Senior and thanks for sharing. :)



Thanks for such a brilliant, evocative account of your viva. You gave a real 'feel' for what it was like and yes, it just goes to show that becuase they kept you there for 3 hours doesn't mean that it was bad news.

Well done Dr. (up)

Avatar for Caterpillar27

Congrats!!!!! and thanks for sharing your story :-)


Congratulations! Well done!


Congratulations! :-)

Thank you for sharing your viva story, very interesting.


congratulations! And thanks for sharing your interesting story. I'd love to know what your thesis was about if you want to reveal more (or PM me!)


Congratulations Dr Senior!!! It is lovely to hear your viva account, the part about bailing out at the exam room door is how I am feeling now. Well done for defending so well. It must be fantastic to about to finalise and move on with your life (up)


Congratulations Dr(up) What a marvellous account of your experience- well done(up)


Congratulations! I'm finding viva stories give me goose bumps now.


Congratulations on a job well done, doctor!(up)


Well done! You must be so relieved. Thanks for sharing.


Congratulations, Dr!!! Well done and thanks for sharing your experience :-)