As well as receiving direct feedback during the viva, your examiners will produce a report that outlines any corrections. It’s common for students to be given some form of corrections and so you should expect the PhD process to continue at least a few months after the viva. Any recommended revisions should be discussed with your supervisor so you can create a detailed action plan for the final completion.
If you receive a pass, then you’ll have no corrections and will go on to receive your doctoral qualification.
Most students are likely to be given corrections before receiving a pass. These can span from spelling mistakes to major revisions.
- Minor corrections – Achieving this status means that your work will need tweaking. Often comments will refer to grammatical errors, formatting issues, or will ask you to incorporate a few suggestions of improvement. Usually you’ll have about three months to implement the feedback.
- Major corrections – If you’re given major corrections then the thesis will need considerable improvement before you can achieve doctoral status. Rewrites and additional research will probably be necessary. Completion will usually be expected within six months.
If the thesis requires major revisions that cannot be completed in a six-month period, then a resubmission may be advised. An extension of 12 months will be given, and you may or may not be asked to undergo another viva.
If your research appears to be too narrow for a doctorate, then you could be downgraded to an MPhil or MSc. Usually your research will still be recognised as good quality, just not fitting for the PhD qualification.
Receiving a fail is not very common and will only be awarded in instances of plagiarism or if the examiners determine the project to be incompletable.