Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

Viva voce Examination

Arrangements for the Viva Voce

A viva voce examination is a mandatory requirement in the examination of a Ph.D. thesis. The internal examiner will make arrangements in conjunction with School-based administrative staff for the date and time for the viva voce. The external examiner should contact the internal examiner directly, not the Graduate Studies Office, concerning these arrangements

The Conduct of the Viva Voce

The conduct of the examination is the responsibility of the examiners, in consultation with the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) and/or the Chair of the examination. All viva voce examinations must be chaired by the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) or her or his nominee. The role of the chair is to clarify College regulations, where appropriate, and to ensure that the viva voce is conducted in a courteous and professional manner. The Chair must intervene if the examiners do not adhere to these regulations. While there is no specified length for a viva voce examination, when the examination exceeds 2.5 hours the Chair should offer the student and examiners a comfort break of 10 minutes.

The student, if they wish, may be permitted to have their supervisor present during the viva voce exam. If this is the case, the supervisor attends entirely in an observational capacity and should not participate in the examination.

Although in-person viva voce examinations with all parties physically co-present remain the standard form of examination, the options of an online combination or in-person and on-line participation can be considered, if one of these formats are deemed desirable by the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) following consultation with the examiners, the supervisor and the student.

The Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) manages the process of determining the preferred format for a viva voce examination in respect of each student, taking account of the preferences of all those involved, the availability of relevant specialist expertise and the feasibility of travel for external examiners.

Responsibility for granting permission to conduct any element of the viva voce online rests with the Dean of Graduate Studies, but this responsibility may be delegated, on annual basis and with the permissions of the Graduate Studies Committee to the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) within each School.

Further guidance on the procedures for the operation of an online viva voce examination is available in the section below.

The Result of the Viva Voce Examination

The possible outcomes of the viva are:

  1. The degree be awarded for the thesis as it stands,
  2. The degree be awarded for the thesis subject to minor corrections, for which two months are allowed from the time of notification,
  3. The thesis be referred for major revision and subsequent re-examination, for which six months are normally allowed from the time of notification,
  4. A lower degree be awarded, if necessary, following minor corrections to the thesis, or
  5. The thesis should be failed.

Guidelines and Resources

If you have any questions please contact the Administrative Officer in Graduate Studies or check for answers on our FAQ page.