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Researcher Development

Researcher Development

Experiences of the viva

A research degree viva can last for anything between one and four hours. While you are entitled to a break after two hours – which we’d heartily encourage you to take! – the fact remains that you’ll be talking for a significant length of time, which can be a real challenge if you’re not used to it.

It’s difficult to offer any concrete advice on how to approach the viva itself, since each viva is different and its format is dictated by the thesis itself, and the direction of discussion between you and the examiners. With this in mind, we’ve drawn together a selection of comments from our interviews with examiners, which outline their key pieces of advice for when you’re ‘in the room’ (whether real or virtual).

Listen: Michelle Bolduc explains the importance – and the difficulty – of listening carefully to your examiners in the heat of the moment. You can also download a transcript of this recording.

Listen: Bice Maiguashca expands on her idea of the viva as a ‘conversation’. You cna also download a transcript of this recording.

Listen: Jon Blount explores why it’s important to ‘stay cool’ during the viva. You can also download a transcript of this recording.

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