How Research Works

Surviving the Viva: PhD defences remembered

The PhD viva (or defence) is likely one of the most stressful moments of many academics’ professional lives. What’s worse is that this rite of passage doesn’t even follow the same format across institutions or countries, making preparing for your viva even more difficult. Will it be a public or private defence? Will you make corrections before or after defending? Will you be faced with internal or external examiners, and how many? To shed at least a little light on the experience, Cultured Scene asked early-career researchers who studied in a variety of countries to explain how their defence worked, and to offer advice to students preparing for their own defence.