VIVA PREPARATION AND PROCESS
A Personal Experience
Congratulations! You have already submitted your thesis to your institution. Now you need to wait for an invitation to an oral examination or viva so that you can defend your thesis to show that you are worthy of being awarded your doctorate. Viva voce, a Latin word which means live voice, word of mouth or oral examination, is a defence of your thesis in front of your examiners (Pierson, 2004). You need to express yourself orally to defend your thesis in response to questions from your examiners. Don’t forget to have your mock viva in front of your faculty members and listen to their comments. (Carless & David, 2002).
A PhD or a Doctor of Philosophy degree, is a universally recognized academic and scholarly qualification conferred by institutions on a PhD candidate upon completion and submission of his/her thesis and a successful defence of his/her research and findings in front of examiners. Let’s discuss the viva process and how you are going to defend yourself orally when invited to do so
THE PURPOSE OF VIVA
1. To check whether you have written the thesis yourself.
2. To assess your understanding of what you have written.
3. To evaluate your study to see whether it has contributed to new knowledge.
4. To officially welcome you on board.
The procedure is simple. Get the thesis submission form from your department and ask your supervisors to sign it. Make six copies of your thesis, and together with a signed form, submit them to your institution. Your institution will send your thesis to the appointed examiners (internal and external). The examiners will evaluate your work, complete an evaluation form, and send it back to your institution with the following possible outcomes:
1. Accepted as it is, NO Correction.
2. Accepted, with major Corrections.
3. Accepted with minor Corrections.
4. Rejected/Re-viva/recommended for a lower certification than a PhD
Your institution will inform you the date and time of your big day (viva) and all the internal and external examiners will be notified too. Your supervisors and your department representative are also invited. Be patient, as sometimes the waiting time is really long owing to the external and internal examiners’ tight schedules
The following advice might be useful while waiting to be called for the viva:
Read, read, and read your thesis to the point that you should know what information is on what page.
Make notes of important points such as your contribution, objectives, methodology, main findings and your research problem.
Know your findings, especially the principal results.
Invite your friends to a mock presentation.
Ask your supervisors to prepare a mock viva so that you are
Write down all the comments from faculty members and
your supervisors after the mock presentation.
A few days before the viva, eat nutritional food so that you
will be mentally and physically more alert.
Do exercise regularly to keep fit.
Sleep early and wake up early to revise your notes on the
day of the viva.
Have confidence in yourself; believe that you are a scholar
and everything is fresh in your mind and that you can do it.