Examination and Completion

Award recommendations for the Doctorate are made by the examination committee, comprising the examiners together with a neutral convenor appointed by the GRS. Examiners each write an independent report on the thesis; once these have been returned they are circulated confidentially amongst the examination committee, and it is only at this point that the examiners know each other's identities. Equally the candidate is only aware of the examiners' identities once the oral examination has been organised. The candidate's oral examination (also called a viva voce), is facilitated by the convenor. During the oral, the candidate defends the thesis in front of two examiners, usually the NZ and internal examiners. The third examiner, usually the overseas examiner, does not normally participate in the oral directly unless there is a wide discrepancy among examiners reports, but may have submitted questions in writing for the other examiners to raise at the oral. Supervisors act in a supportive but not participatory role during the oral examination. They should assist the student post-exam in accordance with the outcome of the oral. Logistical arrangements for the oral are administered centrally by the Graduate School, working together with the convenor, and not by the candidate's host academic unit.

Examination in the creative arts have some specific reporting requirements, detailed in the Guidelines for Examiners of Doctoral Thesis involving Creative Works. The examination process varies according to the form the creative component embodies. The candidate holds an exhibition/installation/performance after the exegesis has been received by the examiners. The examiners write a thesis assessment report examining both the exegesis, and exhibition/installation/performance, and finally attend an oral examination.


Candidates should:

  • Prepare for the oral examination as necessary. Candidates can request their academic unit to organise a mock exam. More information about the oral examination process can be found in the forms/guidelines
  • Note the potential outcomes of examination
  • Understand the information relating to the examiners' reports
  • Discuss the reports with supervisors
  • Attend the oral examination in person
  • Complete any required emendations in the time frame given
  • Submit two hardbound and one digital copy of the thesis, a citation and apply to graduate


Supervisors should:

  • Understand the information relating to the examiners' reports
  • Note the potential outcomes of examination
  • Prepare the students well for oral examination, outlining to them what to expect and giving them guidance and support in relation to the examiners' reports
  • Attend the oral examination (maximum of two supervisors may attend the oral)
  • Support the candidate through the emendations process where applicable
  • More information about the oral examination process can be found in the forms/guidelines


Examiners should:


Convenors should:

Doctoral Research Committee (DRC) or Graduate  Research School Administration (GRS)

The DRC considers the recommendations from examination committees on a regular basis at its monthly meetings. Where the recommendation is pass, the DRC will approve the award of the Doctorate subject to receipt of two hard bound copies and one digital copy of the thesis by the GRS for the public record, at which point the doctoral programme is 'completed'. Thereafter, graduation may proceed. Candidates whose research is assessed by the examiners as being of an exceptionally high standard may be considered for inclusion on the Dean's List. Any appeal against an examination outcome must be made within three months of formal notification of the examination result by the GRS.

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