Consideration of the Examiners Reports
It is important to remember that the final outcome of an examination is determined by the University and not by the examiners. In making the final decision, the Dean of Graduate Studies or Student Matters Sub-Committee (SMS) will consider all the examiners reports, together with, where applicable, the recommendations from the School and the Faculty Higher Degrees Committee.
The process for consideration of the examiners reports is detailed below:
- If both examiners recommend the award of the degree without amendments, the Dean of Graduate Studies will normally accept the recommendations of the examiners and the outcome of the examination will be to award the degree
- If both examiners recommend the award of the degree subject to amendments, the Dean of Graduate Studies will normally accept the recommendations of the examiners and the outcome of the examination will be to award the degree, subject to the specified amendments being made to the thesis to the satisfaction of the University
- If the examiners present divergent recommendations and at least one examiner recommends that the thesis be revised and resubmitted or the degree not be awarded (recommendation categories 3 or 4), the supervisors will be sent copies of the examiners’ reports and the principal supervisor will be asked to comment on them and to make a recommendation on behalf of the supervisory panel. The Faculty Higher Degrees Committee will then consider all the documentation presented and recommend an examination outcome or recommend that a third examiner or arbitrator be appointed. All the examination reports and recommendations will be reviewed by the Student Matters Sub-committee (SMS) of REDC who will determine the next step in the examination process.
- On rare occasions where there is a stalemate in the examination process; for example, the examiners' recommendations are such that it is not possible for a consensus decision to be made, an arbitrator will normally be appointed. The arbitrator will be given copies of the reports from all the previous examiners, together with the supervisor's report and will be asked to adjudicate. The recommendation of the arbitrator is generally accepted and treated as final.
Where SMS considers it expedient, or, in the best interests of a student to do so, the process outlined above may be varied. Variations will occur rarely and will be determined by SMS on a case-by-case basis. For example:
- appointment of an arbitrator instead of a third examiner;
- appointment of an entirely new set of examiners