External examiners (taught provision)

xternal examiners (taught provision) are appointed to provide the University with impartial and independent advice and informed comment on the institution's academic standards and student achievement in relation to those standards, through oversight of the assessment process at the module and programme/award level. All University programmes of study, and modules therein, leading to an award of credit at foundation, undergraduate or postgraduate taught level must have one or more external examiners appointed.

Code of Practice

Central to the University’s External Examiner System (Taught Programmes) is the Code of Practice. All external examiners appointed by the University are required to adhere to the Code of Practice and within the University it is the responsibility of the Head of School or their nominee to ensure the information in this Code of Practice is adhered to and communicated to the nominated Examinations Officer and all academic staff designated as internal examiners. Legislation are cohort specific. The Code of Practice should be viewed specific to the year the students started their studies

Code of Practice on external examining 2020-21 (taught provision) (PDF - 616KB)   is the current Code of Practice for students entering in 2020-21

Code of Practice on external examining 2021-22 (taught provision) (PDF - 609KB) is the current Code of Practice for students entering in 2021-22

Cohort specific legislation provides links to legislation specific to earlier cohorts of students


The guidance below supports the Code of Practice and staff working with external examiners should ensure they are aware of the information in each.


Guidance for external examiners

Guidance for External Examiners (PDF - 273KB) is sent to external examiners when they are first appointed and is also available on the University’s web page www.birmingham.ac.uk/external.

Guidance for those who work with external examiners

External examiner guidance for University staff (PDF - 442KB) contains information about the nomination of external examiners, procedures for extending an external examiner’s appointment and the annual reporting process. The relevant forms are listed below.

Guidance on responding to external examiner reports

School responses to external examiner reports provides guidance about responding to reports and some examples of letters.

Guidance on setting external examiner fees

Guidance for setting external examiner fees (PDF - 218KB) contains general guidance external examiner fees for taught programmes

Guidance on paying external examiner fees

Schools are responsible for paying an agreed fee for the service provided by the External Examiner. Payment is conditional upon receipt of the report(s) for the programme(s) examined. Fees may be paid via the non-staff expense claim form. This form may be used to combine both the examiners fee and any expenses and is available from https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/finance/A-Z-Forms.aspx.

Guidance for students on the role of external examiners

A guide for students on the role of external examiners (PDF-274KB). We recommend that this is included if University staff are giving out any information to students which refers to external examiners (i.e. programme information).


Useful contacts

General enquiries

College Academic Policy Partners (CAPPs)

Each 'CAPP' works in partnership with a college and their remit includes external examiners. To find out who your 'CAPP' is please see College Academic Policy Partners contacts  

Head of School/Director of Education

To find out who your Head of School or Director of Education is please see:

Research Student Administration Team

For information about external examiners for postgraduate research programmes (not taught programmes)

Research Student Administration Team

AdvanceHE Professional Development Course for External Examiners

The AdvanceHE Professional Development Course for External Examiners (self-paced online and Zoom) is available for all interested Birmingham staff with an interest in external examining (admin/QAA, aspiring, new or experienced External Examines) as well as current and incoming External Examiners to Birmingham programmes.

The course will:

  • provide an understanding of the role of the external examiner as articulated in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education, 
  • consolidate understanding of the nature of academic standards and professional judgement, and explore the implications for external examining
  • develop an ability in using evidence-informed approaches to contribute to impartial, transparent judgements on academic standards and enhancing student learning.

For more details and to book onto the November and December course please register here
For more information contact the Higher Education Futures Institute (HEFi) hefi@contacts.bham.ac.uk





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