Viva preparation

Although Schools try to give students a feel for what their viva will be like, it can still be one of the most stressful parts of the whole PhD process. Preparing properly for this examination is important in allowing a student to demonstrate their communication and research skills and do justice to the work that they have carried out during the years of research. 

The University Graduate School has created a Canvas course to help you prepare for your viva. It includes a video of a viva examination, information on the regulations surrounding the viva, and advice on how to prepare on the day.


By the end of the course participants will:

  • have a clear idea of the structure of a viva
  • understand what examiners will be looking for from the viva
  • understand what you need to do in preparation for the viva
  • have a better idea of how to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding in a viva.

Skills and abilities

Attending this course will help develop skills in the following RDF sub-domains:

  • Communication and dissemination
  • Career and professional development
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Creativity
  • Personal Qualities
  • Knowledge Base


This session is most relevant for postgraduate researchers who have submitted, or are about to submit, their thesis. This is a self-enrol course. To register, go to the Canvas virtual learning environment and enter your log in details. 

Your school or college may also have discipline-specific support, including mock vivas or viva preparation workshops. For more information speak to your school.

Viva podcasts

Listen to PGRs talking about their own viva experiences, including tips on surviving your viva. More will be added throughout the year.

View viva podcast transcripts.

If you would like to share your viva experience as a podcast, please get in touch at the email address below.

Further information

If you have any queries please contact

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