PhD in Middle Eastern history: the mock viva experience (Rousse)

I was completely unqualified to serve as an examiner at this mock PhD viva. What on earth did I know about Middle Eastern history?

I had been persuaded to participate on the grounds that I could ask all the standard questions:

  • What was the overall aim of the research?
  • What inspired you to explore this topic?
  • What is your contribution to the field?

No one seemed to care that I would be completely unable to interpret the answers, nor continue the examination with follow-up questions.

At the viva itself everyone ignored me. They also paid no attention to the candidate. The whole meeting turned into a detailed debate about politics between the Director of Studies and second supervisor. This was no help to the student whatsoever.

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