PhD Thesis Examiner Policy and Procedures


Examiners of PhD theses undertaken at the University

This document applies to theses submitted by PhD candidates who are registered under the 2011 or 2016 PhD Statute – examiner guidelines relating to other PhD Statutes can be found here.


To outline the policy and procedures applying to examiners of PhD theses submitted by a candidate registered under the 2011 or 2016 PhD Statute


1.    Examiners must not be staff members of the University or have been involved in either the thesis research or the preparation of the thesis

2.    Examiners must hold a doctoral degree or have equivalent expertise and experience, and be expert in the field of study which is the subject of the thesis

Procedures and Responsibilities

Examiner responsibilities

3.    Examiners must contact the School of Graduate Studies immediately if they consider they may have a conflict of interest - see Postgraduate Examiner Conflict of Interest Guidelines

4.    Examiners are not permitted to communicate with each other about the thesis during the reporting process

5.    Neither supervisors nor the candidate may communicate with the examiners regarding the examination at any stage of the examination process except as specified in Regulation 9 of the 2011 or 2016 PhD Statute

6.    If an examiner is contacted by someone other than a member of the School of Graduate Studies in relation to an examination report, the examiner must refer the matter to the School of Graduate Studies

7.    One examiner must be able to participate in the oral examination – see Doctoral Oral Examination Procedures and Doctoral Oral Examination Organisation and Reimbursement Procedures


Examiners’ reports

8.    The PhD thesis under examination must be marked in accordance with the criteria outlined in Regulation1e of the 2011 or 2016 PhD Statute

9.    Examiners must exercise due care and professional judgement in assessing the extent to which the thesis meets, or fails to meet, the requirements of Regulations 1e-k of the 2011 or 2016 PhD Statute

10.    Examiners must not be unduly prejudiced against an argument with whose conclusions they may not necessarily agree

11.    Examiners must report on the thesis as a whole. In the case of a thesis that includes published works, examiners must report on the complete work, including those which may have been previously refereed

12. In the case of a resubmitted thesis, the examination must be of the whole thesis as it is now written

Note: The examination is not to see whether satisfactory revisions have been made, but to decide whether the thesis as a whole now satisfactorily meets the criteria of Regulation 1 of the 2011 or 2016 PhD Statute

13. Examiners must provide the School of Graduate Studies with a written report in English on the quality of the thesis within two months of receipt of the thesis – see Examiner’s Report on Doctoral Thesis template

14. Reports must contain one of the recommendations outlined in Regulation 9g of the 2011 or 2016 PhD Statute

15. The School of Graduate Studies must be informed in writing if an unforeseen delay to providing the report appears likely


Confidentiality of reports

16. The information and reports supplied by examiners is to be held in confidence to the candidate, supervisors and any other parties involved in the formal examination process

17. Part 1 of the report, the recommendation, is not to be released to the candidate

18. The candidate is not to be informed of the names, or other identifying information, of their examiners, except that of the oral examiner, unless this is specifically agreed to by the individual examiner on the examiner’s report

19. Part 2 of the report may be released for the purpose of judging the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Best Doctoral Thesis for those candidates who have been nominated

20. The Board of Graduate Studies (through the Dean of Graduate Studies) reserves the right to remove from an examiner’s report made available to the candidate any material that it considers should not be released


Payment of fees

21. Payment of examiners' fees is to be made once all the examiners’ reports are received

22. Examiners are to be paid a further fee if they are requested to re-examine a resubmitted thesis


The following definitions apply to this document:

PhD candidates are students enrolled in a Doctor of Philosophy at the University

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part time basis 

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries

Document management and control

Owner: Dean of Graduate Studies

Content manager: School of Graduate Studies

Approved by: Board of Graduate Studies

Date approved: March 2018

Review date: March 2021