Firstly, I understand what matter are the regulations from my own college and advice from my supervisor. I would like to ask this question more as a survey of experience and opinions.

It happens that my supervisor has suggested an external examiner that has lead a lab for numerous years, with extensive experience, knowledge and publications in the field of my thesis, who would surely be suitable in examining the quality of research work by expertise, but also one who comes from a research institute that does not use the titles "Lecturers" or "Professors".

According to the written regulations, an equivalent or higher rank is required, without specifying the nature of origin institute. As I search for more information to understand more of the general practice, I saw some writing "universities or research institutes", while oftentimes this is not specified.

It would be nice if anyone could share more on what have you seen and been thinking so far. Thank you so much!

  • And sure, the nominee has a PhD
    – Claire
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 4:43
  • Looks like a shopping question ...
    – user9482
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 7:42
  • I had a professor (with a PhD) direct me to a professor (without a PhD) for detailed advice (on supersonic flow :Prandtl Meyer expansion if that detail helps) as the non-PhD professor had more knowledge and exerience in the topic. So a PhD may not mean “font of all knowledge” ie an external examiner can be chosen for relevant experience and usually is.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 8:03

2 Answers 2


Yes. For universities that use external PhD examiners, typically the examiner can be from a university, non-university nonprofit/government research institution, or an industrial research laboratory. Typically the examiner has a PhD.

University faculty are most commonly selected.

  • Thank you so much for your prompt response. Yes, the nominee has a PhD. Btw, mind sharing where (like which continent) you are right now? Sure no problem if you prefer to be a bit more "anonymous" haha ;)
    – Claire
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 4:43

From a UK perscpective:

Yes. External examiners can come from non-university affiliated institutions. It is normal in such situations for the supervisor/examiner to be asked to provide evidence not just that the examiner is knowledgeable in their field, but also that they understand the requirements for being awarded a PhD. The most common way to do this is to present evidence the examiner has either supervised or examined PhD students before.

  • Thank you very much for sharing. It makes sense for requirement on the supervision part.
    – Claire
    Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 5:12

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