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Insider’s Guide to Vivas

(Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay)

In this research staff led IAD Pop-Up session we focused on vivas, including online vivas. If you are unsure of what to expect during your viva, or if it seem like a scary process, who better to get some advice from than people who’ve done it and a PI who runs them! This session was designed by experienced examiner Dr Gillian Gray, recently viva’d Dr. Nathanael O’Neill, and postdocs Dr Natalie Jones, Dr Marlene Magalhaes Pinto, and Dr Antonis Asiminas, all from CMVM. They provide their honest insights into how they approached and survived their viva, explain how to have the best overall experience as well as answering any questions participants had about the whole process.

As well as the recording of the session, this post includes the slides and a number of links that came up during the design of the session and from questions we received on the day. It also includes answers to any questions we did not get to answer during the live session.

Recording of the session can be viewed below or by clicking on the link (published under creative commons CC-BY license)

Slides for the session: Gillian Gray – Viva advice, and IAD Support for Vivas

Answers to additional questions 

You can find useful links and support on our IAD webpages for preparing for your viva

The IAD provide a Guide to Viva Preparation, and a new infographic with quick tips for doing online vivas

The Doctoral Education team in IAD have put together a page which includes all the codes and regulations relating to a PhD: PhD Regulations

A few weeks ago there was a session on thesis writing, which might help you if you are still in the process of writing: The Insider’s Guide to Thesis Writing.

Advice for examiners and internal examiners is also available from the Edinburgh Clinical Medical School Athena SWAN website. These slides were presented at a lunchtime forum for ECRs on how to run a successful viva from an examiners point of view.

And remember that preparing for and doing your viva can be a very stressful time. Take care of your mental and physical health whilst you are preparing with the help of other important members of our community.

Our counselling service is still open

Our Chaplaincy are now running weekly mindfulness drop-ins

The University has paid for students and staff to have access to a range of online services including Big White WallFeeling Good and SilverCloud.

Or visit the Health and Wellbeing websites for:

Staff – https://www.ed.ac.uk/staff/health-wellbeing

Students – https://www.ed.ac.uk/students/health-wellbeing

The Covid19 student webpage includes a section for PGRs – scroll down – https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/covid-19/current-students



  1. Hi,

    when i click on the link of the recorded session, it tells me access denied

    could you please help

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