Nomination of Examiners

Approaching external examiners

One month before the thesis is to be submitted, the Chief Supervisor in consultation with other supervisors, should nominate the external examiners. At the discretion of the Chief Supervisor, the candidate may be consulted about the nomination for the examiners.

Supervisors are advised to take care in the selection of external examiners in order to reduce the likelihood of polarised examiners' reports and/or delays or failure in the return of examiners' reports.

All examiners must be external to the University and must not be directly connected with the candidate or the candidate's research. For doctoral degrees, at least one examiner will normally be external to New Zealand. Each examiner makes an independent report on the candidate's work.

During initial enquiries with the proposed external examiners and before officially nominating them, the Chief Supervisor should obtain their informal agreement to be an examiner and to complete their examination of the thesis within six weeks of receipt. The New Zealand examiner (in some cases Australian) should be informed that he/she will be expected to attend an oral examination, at which he/she will put to the candidate both his/her own questions and those of the overseas examiner.

It is important to note that there should be no communication between the supervisors and the examiners while the thesis is under examination.

Criteria and protocols for external examiners

External examiners should:

  • Be an expert in the topic and/or methodology of the thesis and have sufficient current research and/or professional experience to evaluate whether or not the thesis fulfils the requirements for the degree
  • Hold a degree at least at the same level as the thesis under examination
  • Be independent and impartial
  • Agree to complete their examination within six weeks of receipt of the thesis

External examiners should not normally:

  • Have been involved in the supervision of the candidate as a supervisor, co-supervisor or adviser
  • Be, or have been, involved in any research collaboration with the candidate or provision of advice to the candidate beyond the "minor consultative role on some aspect of the candidate's research" permitted
  • Be currently enrolled in a degree in the same subject and at the same level as that being examined
  • Currently hold any appointment, paid or honorary, at the University of Waikato or have held such an appointment during the candidate's enrolment in the degree under examination
  • Have any current or previous familial or personal relationship with the candidate, members of their supervisory team, or members of any panel involved in recommending the examiner nomination
  • Be, or have been, involved in any substantial research collaboration of more than one publication, core supervision of a student or externally funded research with any of the candidate's supervisory panel within the last five years
  • Be a graduate of the University of Waikato in the same or related discipline unless the examiner's degree studies at Waikato were completed prior to the candidate's enrolment for the degree under examination

Information to be provided to external examiners

When making an informal enquiry to a potential external examiner, the Chief Supervisor should provide the following information:

  • an abstract or outline of the research topic
  • an indication of the length of the thesis and the expected completion date
  • details of any connection of the research with paid employment or research contract
  • an explanation that the reports will normally be made available to the people involved in the examination process including the candidate, once the examination process is complete, unless the examiner agrees to providing all or part of the report to the student prior to the oral examination
  • an indication of what is expected in the examiner's report
  • whether or not the thesis is restricted by confidentiality requirements.

Since the standards, regulations and procedures for higher research degrees differ from country to country the Chief Supervisor may provide a copy of the relevant higher degree regulations from the University of Waikato Calendar, or direct the potential examiner to the Calendar and Postgraduate Studies websites. A copy of the regulations is included by the School of Graduate Research when it sends the thesis copy.

Information required from external examiners

The following information is required to accompany the Nomination of External Examiners Form:

  • brief biographical information which includes statements of academic qualifications and academic position;
  • brief outline of status and expertise in the field, together with some evidence of recent publications or research work in the field
  • brief details of PhD supervisory experience
  • full names, title, addresses, email, and telephone numbers of the nominated examiners

Nominations are made by the Chief Supervisor, endorsed by the Chair of Department/Head of School and the Associate Dean (Postgraduate), before being forwarded to the School of Graduate Research, for approval by the Postgraduate Research Committee.

Timeline for examination

Once approved by the Postgraduate Research Committee the external examiners are sent the thesis by the School of Graduate Research. Where theses are under embargo examiners will be sent a confidentiality agreement along with the official invitation. The School of Graduate Research seeks to complete the oral examination process within three months of submission of the thesis.

The Chief Supervisor should discuss with both external examiners the timeline for the examination. Normally it is expected that the external examination will be completed within six weeks of receiving the thesis.
Any deviation from the agreed timeline should be advised to the School of Graduate Research and the candidate.

Related documents

The Nomination of Examiners form should be completed for all nomination of examiners to be approved for an MPhil/PhD/EdD/DMA/SJD thesis examination