In majority of universities around the world, the PhD examining committee should meet and allow PhD student to defend his/her thesis. Based on the thesis content and student performance in the viva, the committee decides whether to grant PhD to the candidate or not.

In most of the cases that I have seen, there are 4 types of decisions

  1. Accept as it is (Distinction in some universities)
  2. Accept with Minor Revisions (without re-examination of thesis)
  3. Accept with Major Revisions (without re-examination of thesis)
  4. Major Revisions with re-examination
  5. Reject (No PhD; some universities grant MSc instead of PhD if the work is fine but its contribution is small).

Now my questions are:

  1. How often do employers ask for PhD examination Committee decision report at the time of application/interview?
  2. Considering the PhD requirement by almost all universities for the professorship positions, how the decision by the committee members impacts employment. My main concern is about the first three decisions of "accept." Can a PhD graduate who has "accept with major revision" never gets job in good places"?

3 Answers 3


At least in the US context, I've never heard of such a report being asked for.

In fact, in the case of my own PhD (at MIT) no report ever existed. In the major US research universities I've been at, PhDs are ungraded. You either get one or you don't.

For sure, the outcomes on your list are all possible. Where I've been though, there is a sheet of paper that has to be signed by the faculty committee members saying that the thesis was successfully defended and accepted. The details of what needed to happen to convince the faculty that the thesis or its defense was good enough were the criteria that the committee used to decided when to sign the sheet (your cases #1-4) or when to tell a student that they never would (your case #5) but they were never part of a formal report.

Perhaps in countries where the specifics of the examination process are more clear, this might be asked for? It's still hard for me to imagine.

If you're going into academic jobs, the letters from the committee members, and the dissertation itself, will tell folks much more than any formal report on the first draft of a dissertation will. If you're heading into academia, you will be asked for those things.


Most faculty know that dissertation defenses can be capricious. A single holdout can ask for unreasonable changes.

If there's any doubt in my mind (as a member of a search committee) as to the quality of the dissertation, I'll read the dissertation.

  • Unfortunately, I have seen this unreasonable situations a lot in the country I did my PhD (I don't know others). But, asking recruiter to look at the thesis is somehow less practical due to time and location implications. Anyhow thanks. One upvote for the truth.
    – Espanta
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 5:48

I've never seen the decision asked for in job applications. I don't know whether it is something that could reasonably be asked for (that might depend on what country you are in, or what subject).

Personally, I suspect there might be more of an indirect effect. Minor revisions I would expect to be pretty much the same as no revisions, but a request of major revisions might indicate that the thesis isn't so good, which could correlate with chances in job applications. On the other hand, it may well be that the meaning of 'major revisions' varies considerably by university, so no meaningful comparison could be made.

  • 1
    I have seen them ask very rarely. But, there are. Look at this example for a postdoc in Denmark (employment.ku.dk/faculty/?show=685713).
    – Espanta
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 7:03
  • Given they want someone to start work only a month after the application deadline (!), it may be the main point is to be sure the person will complete their PhD in time - there can be funding issues if someone tries to start a postdoc without having graduated at least unofficially.
    – Jessica B
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 20:04
  • So you mean it is an exception? aand people usually do not ask such document?
    – Espanta
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 5:19
  • I don't know. As I said, I've never seen it asked for before. It may depend on discipline and/or location.
    – Jessica B
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 6:43
  • @Espanta, I've never seen that before in US or UK applications and I'm actually a little unsure what they mean by a "provisional of final evaluation" and if that really refers to the report you are suggesting.
    – mako
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 3:49

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