I submitted my PhD thesis more than a month ago. I was told by the Postgraduate Department that I would have my oral examination in six weeks. It's been six weeks already and I haven't heard any news. I heard from former students that in some cases, the viva could take up to three months to be held.

I am so stressful right now. I have been unemployed for more than 6 months now and I am running out of money. Currently, I am living with my parents to cover my expenses. While they welcome my living with them, they seem to be disappointed that I have yet to land a job. Not to mention I have to worry about my viva as well. I have unsuccessfully applied for jobs while waiting for the viva. Most employers didn't want to hire me because they viewed me as overqualified and they thought I would leave the job once I obtained my Ph.D.

I have reached out to my supervisor to get the information when my viva will be but she said it all depended on examiners. It's so disappointing to know how unprofessional my examiners are. I know they are busy with their work but to think that I paid a large sum of money to get my thesis examined, it's just so unacceptable. Does anyone know what should I do?

EDIT: Large sum of money refers to thesis examination fee. My university increased thesis examination fee by two-fold to get faster feedback from examiners. Although my university has changed its policy in viva examination by making it faster hence increment in thesis fee, it still disappointing to find out that it stays the same.

  • Are there any rules at your university? In mine, the examination committee had X weeks (somewhere between 4 and 8) to do their work and return the result. On a different note, what do you mean with "[you] paid a large sum of money to get [your] thesis examined"?
    – Mark
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 22:44
  • Yes, usually 5 weeks and it has been agreed upon. I paid large fee (almost a semester's tuition fee) for thesis examination fee. Recently my university increased the fee to get thesis examined faster. However, I am so disappointed that they non-chalantly delayed my viva although the university policy has changed with changes/increment in thesis fee
    – alex
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 22:45
  • Can you clarify what exactly is your question? Is it about dealing with the stress of the situation (as implied by the title), getting the viva arranged as soon as possible, making a complaint, or something else? "What should I do?" is too broad a question, you have not specified what you would like the outcome to be. Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 8:44

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, there isn't all that much you can do except to have the people responsible for ensuring reviews are turned in contact the examiners and get them to turn in their reviews of the thesis.

Complaining to the examiners directly will do little good, and your thesis supervisor may or may not have the clout to get your examiners to turn in their reviews.

However, you should be applying for Ph.D.-appropriate jobs right now, so that you're able to move into something once the oral examination is finished. Supervisors of jobs normally taken by Ph.D. recipients will typically recognize that there might be some delays in getting the degree, but will still hire people close to finishing their degree.

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