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Postponed viva

Yep, postponed (or rather cancelled) viva happened to me!

Different circumstances though. I waited 6 months for viva date only for external to pull out of viva 2 weeks before the viva, which led to 3 months searching for a new examiner. I eventually obtained my PhD after yet more dramas and waiting games, but it's now all a distant memory....

Completely echo Ian's reply. You're definitely not alone in terms of your frustations with things out of your control. I went through all sorts of anxiety and stress with my university, but I got there in the end :)

Best of luck with the viva.

Been told I will fail my PhD 10 months to go?

Hi Sam,

I'm sorry to read your post.

I was worried about an MPhil outcome throughout my PhD. My supervisor even confirmed this right before I went into the viva, ie that an MPhil was a possibility which really upset me!.

But, the examiners were very knowledgble on my topic (unlike my supervisors) and were pleased with the amount of work within my PhD and awarded me with the outcome I wanted (resubmission). I eventually graduated this summer. So all, all in all, supervisors can be wrong!

Definitely network with academics with expertise in your area and disseminate your work. During the final stages of my PhD, I arranged a meeting with a professor who has written many publications on my thesis topic. She provided me with a much needed confidence boost after endless amount of criticism from my supervisors. Looking to publish some papers with this professor.

Best of luck

Upcoming viva, nightmare supervisor

Quote From Xander329:
Moral of the story, don't pay any attention to your supervisor.... haha.

Agreed (when it comes to my experiences pre viva that is!) :) Congratulations Dr. Xander :)

Struggling postdoc :(

Thanks Ian.

Yes, probably a mistake in not taking a holiday, although, I was unable to afford a holiday over the summer and they wanted me to start straight away. Really will have to take a break after Christmas (or the latter half of January).

From the comments, his ' few concerns' from my first draft probably reflect my writing style (ie using redundant words), some mistakes which I can easily correct (Harvard referencing and change to UK language spelling), some missing important issues and clarification on a few points . Some of the positive comments include 'good writing here' and 'this is a robust chapter', so at least there's some positive feedback to take on board.

He did say that he will hold off from declaring these concerns until he views my latest draft, so perhaps there's a window of opportunity to make this next draft as air tight as possible.

However, I need to stop catastrophising and believing he's going to terminate my contract as it's not helpful. He already said my job is safe and I should stop worrying!

Also need to be mindful of taking on too much.......

Struggling postdoc :(


I've spent the last 5months working within my research fellow role following my PhD journey.

Just received some feedback on my first written report. Despite submitting a 'robust first chapter' (I've basically submitted a book on this topic!), my supervisor has 'a few broader concerns' which he wants to discuss with me in person when he sees the next draft, which has left me worried.

I'm feeling really tired and a little frazzled with the amount of work on my shoulders. Also feel demoralised and deflated considering how much work I've put into my first publication :( My other piece of work is well overdue which I need to finish asap.

I don't think I'm cut out to be in this role (and I think my supervisor and the research assistant think as well by the looks of things) :(

Maybe I just need a break.........

not perfect PhD submission


Sounds familiar.

Some of my references were incomplete within my resubmited draft, but I was still awarded with minor corrections eventually. With minor corrections referring to complete reference list, proofread, rewrite abstract etc etc.

Sounds like a good idea to take these along with the viva. I certainly did, although my examiners didn't want to see my acknowledged limitations tables, but they seemed pleased that I made the effort to identify mistakes which could be used for later drafts.

My PhD thesis is very much behind me now, but there seems to be some flexibility in addressing corrections in later drafts. In my case anyway!

Best of luck and congratulations for submitting.

health issue

Quote From marasp:
For those who are wondering I am getting a long extension. The new resubmission date is early next year. It has to be done, as I am psychologically and mentally fragile and I do not respond well to treatment. BUT I AM NOT GIVING UP!

Thinking of you Marasp. I was wondering how you're getting on.

Here for you if you need to chat.

It IS possible to get through this.

All the very best x

Pass - Merit - Distinction

Agreed, it varies between unis.

With both my MScs, I needed to receive an overall average of 70% plus at least a 70% average for the dissertation for a distinction.

My first MSc awarded merits, whereas my second MSc (at UCL) only awarded a pass or distinction.

Depends on the university, check with module leaders. I averaged around 65% for both MScs, but received a merit in one and a pass in the other.


Hey Kikuka :) I remember reading your thread all those years ago :) Yet another resubmission success story :) Best of luck uttara (and others in similar situations!).

health issue

To put it straight, they look happier and have achieved more in life than myself.

Sadly, the above sounds familiar......

Get well soon Marasp! Supporting you all the way x

Submitted incomplete PhD thesis

Thanks 'hopelessly hopeful'.

In the end, due to deletion of key finding chapters, I basically rewrote my intro, methods and discussion chapters in around 3 months and managed to turn it around. :) I've never experienced that degree of pressure before and I'll never forget it!

I spent weeks developing a table identifying every single error throughout my thesis for my examiners to look through at the viva. In the viva, they said they didn't want to see these 'acknowledged limitations' tables, but that my report would help with the resubmission. My examiners were more interested in my thoughts and reflections about my most notable findings and were impressed with some of my discussion points and wanted me to discuss in greater detail. The viva was more about discussions on how to reduce my thesis to 100,000 words and which material to publish in books and journal papers rather than within my thesis.

I felt very isolated from my university and it felt as if the university had washed their hands of me (ie anticipating a fail). I locked myself away and literally just lived and breathed my thesis for 3-5 months. I knew negativity and doubts from my university slowed my progress so I locked myself away from it, although I met with my supervisors a few times following the viva. Keep in touch with your supervisory team.

With a resubmission, it's basically a second chance for obtaining a PhD award. Candidates only use the doctor title after confirmation from the university along with informally using the title after a minor corrections verdict.

Submitted incomplete PhD thesis


No problem!

I'm sorry you're feeling so down. I can appreciate how difficult it is right now considering that I've walked a similar path.

My examiners were informed before the viva that I simply ran out of time with my thesis and they acknowledged this within the viva.

From what I can remember, I met with my supervisors before the viva and they recommended I concentrate on implementing a plan of action on areas for improvement. I was very worried about the MPhil/outright fail so I was instructed to think more positively and think more proactively about the next steps (easier said than done!).

My examiners probably saw that I was distressed and worried about the viva! They firstly announced their decision (Resubmission for a PhD), congratulated me for producing such a detailed and extensive PhD and the moved onto discussions about reducing this thesis down to a specific area (my original thesis covered multiple areas). Most of the viva focused on ways to narrow down the thesis topic, my thoughts about specific findings and my reflections. They also asked if I was willing to submit for a PhD and if I was able to reduce the thesis within a year. I responded with a definite yes and discussed through my ideas for the next reduced draft.

My discussion chapters were largely incomplete, but the skeleton structure and plan within my discussion chapters showed my examiners the main points for my discussion. The remainder of my thesis was complete, very detailed and included extensive coverage of various areas.

I similarly felt very ashamed before my viva and I really wanted to run for the hills. Right before the viva, I said to my supervisor and the admin lady that I wasn't going to go through with it! I was more or less taken into the room! ;)

In the end, the viva was a relatively pleasant experience :). I was delighted they offered me a second chance (and shook the external examiners hand!) and asked the examiners twice about their decision ;)

Hope this helps :)

Submitted incomplete PhD thesis


Sounds familiar.

Due to my studentship requirements, I was forced to submit an overly long incomplete thesis. I similarly ran out of time. Five months later I was given a viva date. Two weeks before the viva, my external examiner cancelled the viva due to an overly long thesis. This led to a frantic search for a new external examiner. A month later, I sat my viva with new examiners and they awarded a resubmission for a PhD (and were very positive). After a year of working on my resubmission, I resubmitted my PhD thesis on time, then was faced with a five month wait for a decision on my corrected reduced draft. Awarded minor corrections, completed minor corrections within three months and graduated in July 2013.

Given the state of my overly long thesis, I was delighted with the resubmission verdict. I was convinced it would be an MPhil or outright fail, but my examiners were very positive about my work and allowed me to resubmit for a PhD.

In the viva, I was very honest about the limitations of my thesis and discussed ways to improve it. Before the viva, I was in bits! floods of tears and really very anxious. My examiners were really lovely though.

I was awarded a resubmission after my first cancelled viva, so it does happen. But I passed, received my PhD and now well into my postdoc position.

I got there in the end, but I'll never forget the stress I experienced (not to mention anxiety and depression!).

Be prepared for any delays and cancellations. Also work on developing a strong defense. It might also help you to know that it is possible to pass and obtain a PhD after submitting an incomplete thesis. Although I may have been lucky with my examiners.

Hope this helps.

Heartbroken resubmission verdict

Hey :)

Thanks for the mention Marasp!

I managed to pull through my resubmission and graduated this July. It is possible!

In my case, I received very positive feedback from my examiners and during the viva, they said they didn't feel a second viva was necessary. I just needed to cut out a few chapters and rewrite large parts of my thesis to bring it down to the 100,000 words. No additional data collection or analyses required.

Resubmissions happen. It could have been worse (MPhil or outright fail). I was delighted with my resubmission verdict as I was expecting an MPhil (which my supervisor said may happen immediately prior to my viva! grrrr).

A few tips....
- Deleted/deactivated facebook. Pictures and status updates of successful PhD stories along with updates on engagements, marriages, pregnancies typically left me feeling pretty low. Also a massive source of distraction. Deactivating it allowed me to focus on my resubmission.
- In my line of sight above my desk, I stuck a big sign of 'I CAN DO THIS'. This helped me stay positive.
- I reduced almost all contact with my sups as their doubts affected my motivation levels.
- I played motivational tunes on a loop whilst taking a break. 'I'm a survivor', 'keep the faith' etc etc.
- Towards the end, my family (dad) kept asking how it was going. I isolated myself in my bedroom as I didn't need his constant 'have you finished yet' comments.
- Focused on the positive feedback from my examiners. Examiners had the power to fail me, but they saw the merits in my work and awarded a resubmission verdict for a reason.
- Worked constantly and consistently on working through each and every correction
- Towards the end I was working stupidly long hours (4am- 9pm)- NOT recommended! However, I found the early hours of the morning very productive as it was so quiet!
- Zero hour contract job enabled me to take 3 months off to rewrite my thesis.
- Focused on my unique PhD and tried to limit comparisons with other PhDs.

Best of luck :) Feel free to PM!

Improving prospects (PostDoc)

Thanks Jane. Very useful :)