Top 20 PhD Viva Questions

Fig. 1: Summary of PhD. process

I would like to share some good general questions for PhD viva. Useful for PhD candidates and also for examiners. Credit to my main supervisor who forward this information.

  1. What is original or novel about your work/thesis?
  2. What are the main issues / debates in your subject area? What is the current state of the art in your field?
  3. What were the crucial research decisions that you made? How did they impact what you did?
  4. How have you analysed/evaluated your work?
  5. Why have you tackled the problem in this way? What alternatives did you consider?
  6. What do your results mean? Are there longer term implications for industry?
  7. How could you improve your work/thesis?
  8. What had not been done on this topic/field before?
  9. What theories or models or analytical techniques did you use?
  10. Are the techniques you have used appropriate for this topic?
  11. What are the theoretical basis/underpinnings to your work?
  12. How long do you expect your work to remain innovative? How do you expect the field to develop in the next 5-10 years?
  13. What sets your work apart from others? Who are the leading researchers in your field?
  14. What issues arose during this work? How did you resolve any issues which arose in the course of your research?
  15. What have you learned from the process of doing a PhD? How will you apply what you have learnt in your future career?
  16. How did you deal with the practical/fieldwork aspect of your study?
  17. Do you think that your recommendations are appropriate or widely applicable?
  18. Is there scope for further study on this topic? What would you recommend the next student on this topic to do?
  19. Do your contributions have a limited timescale? When do you think your work will be obsolete?
  20. What have you done that merits the award of a PhD?
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