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Ph.D. Viva-voce Examination

(rules & procedures)


If the reports of the external examiners as well as the report of the Research Guide are all positive, and only minor changes or revisions are required, the Convenor, on behalf of the SBP, gives the permission for the Viva-voce Examination (or thesis defence). Till this permission is received, the Research Guide should not undertake any communication with the external examiner(s).


Once the permission is received, the following committee is set up to conduct the Viva-voce examination.

(i)      the Research Guide;

(ii)    the external examiner who works in India;

(iii)   a representative of the Subject Board of Physics.


The Viva-voce examination will be set up at a date and time convenient to all concerned, with the help of the University Cell. The Research Guide is normally expected to use his good offices to help the University Cell in setting up the examination. One or more of the principals may participate by video-conferencing, if required. The travel and local hospitality of the external examiner, if he/she travels to TIFR for the Viva-voce examination, will be taken care of by TIFR, in addition to the honorarium due for his/her services.


The Viva-voce examination consists of three parts.

(a)    An open seminar by the candidate, lasting not less than 45 minutes, which highlights the research work presented in the thesis. This may be attended by any interested person(s), in addition to the examiners.

(b)    An open question-and-answer session, during which anyone in the audience of the open seminar (including the examiners) may ask questions or make comments on the material presented in the seminar.

(c)    An in-camera examination, where only the candidate and the examiners will be present. In this part, the candidate may be asked searching questions to determine his/her level of involvement in the research work presented in the thesis (see below).

At the end of the examination, the examiners, after due deliberation, may decide if the Ph.D. degree can be awarded on the basis of the thesis and the Viva-voce examination. This must be recorded on the Viva-voce Evaluation Form and signed by all three examiners. If any of the examiners is participating by video-conferencing, he/she should promptly send a scanned copy of the filled-in form, signed by himself/herself to the other examiners for signing. The signed form should be submitted immediately to the University Cell for further processing.


The Research Guide or any of the examiners may inform the candidate of the results of the Viva-voce examination as soon as the form is submitted to the University Cell. A Provisional Certificate will be issued to the candidate within one or two days from submission of the results.


The presence of the Research Guide during the Viva-voce (in person or by video-conferencing) is mandatory. In case of joint guidance, at least one of the Guides should be present.


If the external examiner working in India is unable, for some reason, to attend the Viva-voce examination, a substitute examiner may be appointed by the Convenor, SBP. This should, however, be considered a last resort.


The SBP representative on the panel of examiners is usually either the SBP representative for the relevant Department, or the Chair of the Department. However, any other member of the same Department can be nominated as substitute, if it found necessary. The SBP representative on the panel of examiners will chair the session during the Viva-voce examination and the deliberations which follow.


Before deciding to award the Ph.D. degree, the examiners should satisfy themselves of the following points.

(i)      The results presented in the seminar are, on the whole, identical with those presented in the thesis.

(ii)    The candidate can present the research work competently and comprehensively, without help from any person(s).

(iii)   The candidate can answer searching questions indicating that the work was actually carried out by him/her.

(iv)   Any queries, doubts or clarifications raised by the external examiners have been answered adequately in the revised version of the thesis.

(v)    The candidate can think clearly and rationally about the topic of his/her research.


In case the examiners are not satisfied with the Viva-voce examination, a re-examination may be set up at a date and time convenient to the candidate and the examiners. In extreme cases, a negative report of the Viva-voce examiners may lead to denial of the Ph.D. degree.



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Subject Board

Allotment of Guide

Department change

Exit options

Ph.D. Registration

Synopsis submission

Open Seminar

Thesis submission

Thesis defence

Award of Ph.D.

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Last updated: September 12, 2015