My supervisor is too busy to find an external examiner for my PhD thesis, so the job will probably fall to me. I know all the academics who may potentially be an internal examiner, but I don't know any academics outside of my own institution. To be honest, I do not know where to begin.

My area is computer science, but it overlaps with medicinal fields as well. There are presumably any number of people who would have some expertise in some part of my research, but very few who would cover all of them.

I feel that cold calling academics who are some way related to my research (maybe ones that I am citing in my thesis) asking if they will become my external examiner is a particularly poor strategy, but it is the only one that is apparent to me at the moment.

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    Btw, your "advisor" is a jerk if they cannot find time to do this. Don't trust them on anything else, ... Srsly, people know their responsibilities, and to shirk them does require a conscious effort, ... and is a bad sign for everything else. My sympathies. Jul 10, 2019 at 22:18
  • same problem here!! I was writing the same question when the website recommend me to read your question. Have you managed to find a solution? If yes, I would love to hear how...thanks
    – Krebto
    Jan 17, 2020 at 8:12

2 Answers 2


Start by going through the bibliography of your thesis draft. For each author, consider whether they might reasonably be an external examiner (e.g. are they established scholars with a reasonable reputation, do they hold positions as professors in your discipline, etc.) This should produce a large list of potential external examiners.

I'd encourage you to get your advisor to contact prospective external examiners rather than contacting them yourself.

  • Just wondering: when you mention establishment and reputation, do you mean this in terms of their likelihood to agree to be an examiner, or is there some other implication in relation to these criteria?
    – Stumbler
    Jul 10, 2019 at 22:17

You need to ask faculty in your field of research at your university for advice. They will know how the invitation is issued, who is likely to accept, and the reputations of different examiners. Invitation of external examiners is an important networking opportunity. Someone with a good network can suggest good choices.

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