David Russell Mosley
Margaret of Antioch
20 July 2015
The Edge of Elfland
Dear Friends and Family,
While I provided an update on my earlier post, I thought I’d write again to let you know how things went. When entered my viva today (what the British call their thesis defenses) there were five possible outcomes: 1. Abject failure. I walk in and they tell me, “Nope, sorry.” 2. Referral, this is not technically a pass but nor is it abject failure. This means there’s a significant amount of work to be done, with the possibility of another viva at the end. This option provides 12 months to fix the thesis. 3. Minor Corrections, 3 months. The thesis is good, but needs a bit of work, nothing 3 months can’t sort out. This counts 4. Minor corrections, 1 month. Same as minor corrections, 3 months only there are fewer issues. 5. No corrections. Pretty self-explanatory. I walked in believing number 2 the most likely, given the circumstances under which I finished my thesis. Also one of my supervisors wanted to make sure I was prepared for this possibility. So, I assumed this would be my outcome. Before I tell you the outcome, let me tell you a bit about the process.
A viva, short for viva voce which essentially means to live by one’s voice, is an oral defense or examination of one’s thesis. You are set down with two examiners, one from your university and one from another, and they ask you questions about your thesis. Their job is to ensure that you are master of the information you have compiled and created. They have to push you. They have to get you to concede when you were wrong and to defend yourself when you’re right. For me, this went on for two hours with each examiner asking a series of questions. There’s also a person called a chair or moderator. Their job is ensure everything is on the up-and-up, that you get no undue punishment or praise. After enough questions have been asked and answered, you’re sent out of the room for a bit. After which they call you back and are given one of the above five responses. I was given minor corrections, 3 months. This means I have passed and am, provisionally, Dr David Russell Mosley.
I thank my friends and family, especially my parents, my wife and children, my colleagues at the University of Nottingham, the church, the saints and angels who are always with us, and the almighty Trinity.