A viva voce (oral examination) is compulsory for PhD and Professional Doctorate degrees
The viva voce provides you with an opportunity to defend your thesis and it assists the examiners in deciding whether or not you have met the requirements for the PhD degree.
The Examination Committee will examine:
Once the viva voce is competed you will be invited by the chairperson to withdraw from the room so that the examiners can deliberate. The Examiners will complete a joint report which will include a recommendation to:
(a) Award the Doctoral degree - no corrections required
(b) Award the Doctoral degree – revisions required
(c) Revise thesis and submit for re-examination
(d) Do not award the Doctoral degree - recommendation that the candidate transfer to an appropriate graduate programme
(f) Do not award the Doctoral degree
In most cases you will be invited, through the Chairperson, to hear the examiners' provisional recommendation once their discussions are complete.
Once you have the approval of the internal examiner that you have met the requirements of the Examination Committee you may submit your Final Thesis
Please see answers to frequently asked questions relating to vivas
Your supervisor and School will organise the nomination and approval of your Examination Committee about three months in advance of you submitting the thesis for examination. The viva voce examination will normally be held within two months of receipt of the thesis by the examiners. It is the responsibility of the chairperson of the viva voce to make all the arrangements for the oral examination. Viva voce examinations are normally held on campus.
Note: due to COVID-19 restrictions, vivas may take place virtually or semi-virtually. Please see here for further guidance on conducting a viva remotely.
You will need to be prepared for a general discussion of your research area and a detailed explanation of your research and its conclusions. You also must be prepared for the examiners to approach the thesis from a different starting point than you and to emphasise different aspects of the thesis than you considered. You will be given the opportunity to defend your thesis in every respect. You should enlist some help from your supervisor in your preparation.
There are differing opinions on the value of doing a mock viva voce. Some consider this practice run helpful in getting you talking about your research and hearing yourself speak. Talk to your supervisor about this and if you think it would help, ask them and/or other members of academic staff to put you through your paces.
You must be present, together with the Chairperson, Internal and External examiners. Your supervisor may attend in a silent capacity, if invited to do so by you, and the Chair of the Examination Committee agrees to this.
There are no rules concerning the length of time of a viva voce. Examiners have the discretion to make it as long or as short as they think necessary. Each combination of thesis, student and examiners is unique.
Normally the viva voce examination for doctoral candidates and other research degree candidates, where applicable, will take place at a University College Dublin campus. However, under exceptional circumstances, including the current COVID-19 pandemic, a viva voce may be conducted virtually. See further information here.
View information and guidelines on conducting a viva virtually or semi-virtually
View the lifecycle of the PhD programme at UCD, from application to conferring