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What to Expect from Your PhD Examiners and How to Select Them?

Primarily, examination of your thesis is characterized by its vagueness on what is checked by the examiners due to the specification of examination criteria. Requiring your thesis to be a genuine contribution to academics is regarded the only specification commonly required for a thesis. It is assumed then that examiner selection is vital in the process of writing your thesis.

Selecting an examiner for your PhD thesis is crucial for the entire curriculum as it ensures that you are properly guided in performing your research work. This calls for proper credentialing of the examiner to ensure the acceptability of the methods you used in your research. Examiner selection relates to his or her expertise, qualifications, and experience. The examiner should have professional and personal capability to recognize good work though the methods used in your study differ from what is expected. This indicates your familiarity with the characteristics of your examiner other than his or her work.

The examiner of your thesis can be nominated or appointed by the University Research Higher Degrees Committee (RHDC). The Committee makes certain the examiner’s independence as expressed by means of restrictions. However, an examiner’s appointment within the same department as your department as well as the appointment of over a single examiner from the same department at any educational institution is discouraged.

Nominate three examiners who will be assigned to provide independent judgments for your PhD thesis. You have to nominate those examiners who can view the judgments. These examiners should possess the major criteria that include their reputation, expertise, experience, and publications. An individual examiner is selected to include certain criteria for the whole criteria and to describe the general criteria with the Broad Fields of Study or BFsOS. Meanwhile, the examination panel selection is composed of three examiners emphasizing and examining all the major aspects of your thesis. Take note that the frequency order of the general criteria here is the same as for that of the individual examiner. Such criteria encompass their expertise, reputation, publication, and experience.

Meanwhile, selecting a PhD external examiner in your thesis provides an independent assessment regarding its correctness relevance and accuracy. In selecting an external examiner you have to ensure that he or she has to be an eminent scholar with significant knowledge in the research area of your preference. He/she should not be dependent on you, the supervisor, and the University. This person should not have any interest in the examination result or should have conflict of interest with you or the supervisor. He/she may serve as a referee as this person is vested the authority to make decision on cases of promotion or tenure or in recommending for your research awards or grants. On the contrary, an external examiner should not function as your research collaborator or of your supervisor; should neither be your former supervisor or a student of your supervisor; and should not have adjunct appointment at the university. It is also advisable that your external examiner is not a recent graduate of the university or a former faculty member.

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