School of Computer Science

PhD examination

A PhD examination is a formidable undertaking.

Submitting your thesis for examination

When you and your supervisor agree that your thesis is ready for submission, you should


Examiners and the Examination Committee

The School of Graduate Studies will ask your Head of School to nominate examiners. They may not be staff members of the University of Auckland, and they will not have been involved in the research and preparation of your thesis at any stage.

You will not be involved in the selection of examiners. The identity of the examiners remains confidential and neither you nor your supervisor(s) may communicate with the examiners at any stage of the examination. Your supervisor can comment on the examiners’ reports and may also attend the oral examination as your support person as long as they are requested by the Chair.

At the time of appointment of the examiners, an Examination Committee will also be appointed. The Examination Committee is the body responsible for considering examiners’ reports and recommending the final outcome of the examination. It consists of the Faculty Associate Dean (Postgraduate), your Head of School and the Head of School Nominee - another staff member nominated by the Head of School, who has thorough knowledge of the general field of your thesis, but not necessarily of the thesis topic.


The examination process

The examination process can take many months. After six to eight weeks, the School of Graduate Studies will contact the examiners, reminding them that their reports are due. Once the examiners’ reports are submitted, they are sent to the Examination Committee for consideration.

The oral examination

After Examination Committee has assessed the examiners' reports, the oral examination is scheduled. Only the candidate, the Chair, the Oral Examiner, the Head of Department nominee and the main supervisor can attend the oral examination.

The oral examination can last between one and three hours, and you are examined on the subject of the thesis and other matters relevant to the field. Be prepared to defend your thesis and the decisions you made when researching and writing.

Outcomes from the oral examination

Examiners are asked to make one of six recommendations with regards to your thesis:

  • to award the degree
  • to award the degree after minor specified corrections are made
  • to award the degree after revisions have been made to the thesis to the satisfaction of the Oral Examiner or HoS Nominee
  • to award the degree after revisions have been made to the thesis to the satisfaction of the External Examiner
  • to permit the candidate to revise and resubmit the thesis for
  • not to award the degree.

Note: The School of Graduate Studies will handle any enquiries you may have throughout the examination process.


Visa extensions for international students

Doctoral students will be granted a seven-month enrolment extension of their study visa from the day the thesis is submitted.

Once they have submitted their thesis, they need to request the Graduate Centre to enrol them in the 'Thesis under Submission' course.

The insurance fee ($341.25) needs to be deposited into their Student Services Online account. (If they have an alternative compliant insurance policy they will need to complete an insurance waiver form instead).

Once they have been enrolled and have paid their insurance fee they can apply for a student visa.

If they have further questions they need to contact the International Student Information Centre (Room G23, Old Choral Hall) or alternatively visit their website.