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Code of Practice on Viva-Voce Examinations

1. This Code of Practice shall be read in conjunction with the General Regulations for Undergraduate Awards, Assessment Regulations for Undergraduate Awards, General Regulations for Modular Postgraduate Awards and Assessment Regulations for Modular Postgraduate Awards.
2. A viva-voce examination can only be instigated by the Chair or Deputy Chair of a Programme Board. Consultation with the External Programme Assessor would be expected where the decision of the Programme Board contributed to the award of a degree or diploma. No student has an automatic entitlement to a viva-voce examination.
3. The viva-voce panel shall be not fewer than three members of the Programme Board who shall include:
For Undergraduate Programmes:
  • The Chair or the designated Deputy Chair of the Programme Board
  • The External Programme Assessor if the Programme Board is held to promulgate the Pass List for the Final Part of a Programme; by prior permission of the Director of Registry Services, the External Programme Assessor may be replaced by any External Examiner of the University
Any viva-voce panel may co-opt to its membership any External Examiner of the University.
For Postgraduate Programmes:
  • The Chair or the designated Deputy Chair of the Programme Board
  • The External Programme Assessor if the Programme Board is held to make an award.
4. Viva-voce examinations shall be used sparingly to ensure that candidates are fairly treated and shall be instigated where the Chair/Deputy Chair of the Programme Board wishes to obtain further information about a particular candidate in regard to such matters as:-
  • unexpected results
  • some borderline candidates
  • claims for impaired performance
5. No candidate shall be disadvantaged by virtue of undergoing a viva-voce examination.
6. There is no compulsion for a candidate to attend a viva-voce examination. By non-attendance the candidate would lose the opportunity to improve their position, but would not worsen their position.
7. The findings of the viva-voce panel and its recommendations, if any, shall be reported to the Programme Board which shall take them into account in reaching a decision on the candidate.
8. Viva-voce examinations are not intended and shall not be used as a disciplinary procedure.
9. Departments shall publish, as soon as the date of the Programme Board is determined, the date on which any viva-voce examinations will take place. Departments shall contact any candidate invited to attend for a viva-voce examination as soon as possible and not less than one working day before the date of the viva-voce examination. Departments shall ensure that they have the means of contacting the candidates concerned at the appropriate time.
10. Departments shall seek to avoid setting dates for viva-voce examinations which would require candidates, particularly those from overseas, to travel considerable distances to attend.

Approved by Senate 4 March 1998

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