When you are undertaking your doctorate you rarely think beyond submission and almost never beyond the viva. However, the viva is not usually the end of your doctorate. Usually there will still be a bit more work to do and in some cases substantially more. Each institution will have its own regulations about viva outcomes and how to let the candidate know. Find out before you go into your viva so that you know what to expect. Typically they fall into one of the following categories:
- outright pass. Your work is judged to be outstanding and to need no correction
- minor corrections. Your examiners are broadly happy with the thesis, but have a few minor suggestions that they would like you to incorporate
- major corrections or resubmission. Your examiners feel that the thesis needs further work to be of doctoral standard. This might include doing more research, rewriting sections or reading new literature
- suggestion that you resubmit for, or are awarded, a lower degree. Some institutions use the MPhil degree to recognise research that is of good quality but that is too narrow for a doctorate. MSc degrees have also been awarded
- outright fail. This category is only usually used in cases of plagiarism or where the examiners judge that the candidate will never be able to complete a doctorate.
Most people fall within the minor or major corrections categories. This means that you will have some corrections to complete. However, regardless of the number of corrections that you have to do at this stage the overwhelming majority of people who reach viva go on to get their doctorate relatively quickly.