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Dissertation Viva

What to Wear We do not wear gowns for oral examinations at Cambridge.

Whilst the Faculty would advocate being comfortable, most participants tend to wear smart, professional and respectful attire.

Once you have submitted the form, your Degree Committee will contact the University’s Disability Resource Centre (DRC) who will advise the Degree Committee on the appropriate course of action.

You may be contacted by the DRC if additional information is required or to provide you with an offer of additional support.

The examination is undertaken with the two examiners and may include an independent chair if the Degree Committee has deemed it appropriate.

There are no rules for its duration, but as an approximate guide, the examination will normally occupy at least 90 minutes and is likely to conclude within three hours at a maximum.

You have 3 months in which to submit your corrected thesis and list of corrections to your Examiner(s).

Water will be available in the room where you will be examined but you may like to take your own with you.

You must not return for your viva on a general visitor visa.

The Degree Committee may exceptionally approve that an oral examination is undertaken by video conference.

Possible outcomes: [top] The Board of Graduate Studies may confirm that you need to make corrections to your thesis before full approval can be granted for your degree.

This decision will be emailed to you by the Student Registry within two days of the Board of Graduate Studies meeting.


  1. From entering for your examinations through to submitting your thesis, taking the oral. Find out what to expect during your viva, how it is arranged and what.

  2. I am sure every person has his own list of tips and “do's and don'ts” on how to face these type of exams although a viva can go in many different.

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