Lancaster UniversityGraduate School
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

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FASS618 The PhD Viva: Tragedy or Triumph? (Final Year Students only)


Module description

This session aims to give students in their final year an opportunity to think about their upcoming viva, to discuss their expectations and fears and to think about ways of preparing themselves for this event. In the session, I will share my own experiences of the viva, from a variety of perspectives: as PhD student, supervisor and examiner. Based on these and other experiences we will discuss the practices of PhD vivas, thinking about conventions, rules and expectations and what could (or could not) go wrong. Together, we will discuss ways of making this event as pleasurable and as successful as possible. As part of the session, we will watch a video showing parts of a viva. We will think about the kind of questions you may be asked in your viva and we will role-play the initial parts of a viva. The idea is for you to have an opportunity to experience what it is like to be the doctoral candidate in a viva.


Aims and objectives

The session intends to help students prepare themselves for the viva. At the end of the session, students are expected to have gained a general understanding of what the viva entails, what rules it follows and how they might wish to conduct themselves during this important examination.



This module is for students in their final year only.


Timing and Location





Number of sessions:

1 x 3 hour session

Timing and Location:

Monday, Week 25, 10.00-1.00, Management School Lecture Theatre 10


Additional information

Minimum quota: 6

Maximum quota: 35


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