The anti-climax of submitting “thesis_FINAL.pdf”

And so, the last leg of my PhD experiences came down to this:

Thesis correction list received from external examiners- read.
Thesis edited as per corrections listed – done.
Corrections sent to external examiners for approval – yes. 
Corrections approved by external examiners – yes.
Final check of thesis for other typos etc. – done.
Final version of thesis – submitted (online). 
Thesis received by university administration – approved

And that was that!

Throughout my PhD I thought the final thesis submission would be this big deal. Like some fireworks or trumpets or, I don’t know, some kind of “TA DA!” sort of moment.

My thesis submission was definitely NOT this eventful!

In reality, it felt more like a quiet sense of relief. I think the run up to the viva and the aftermath that followed was certainly the most memorable point of my (UK-based) PhD experience. Everything that came afterwards had this sort of bureaucratic feel to it. I suppose emotionally I was less involved, so when I pressed “submit” for the last time, I felt very calm, almost detached. It wasn’t a negative feeling or an overly positive one either. Maybe once I print out the hard copy of my thesis this will all feel more “real” but for now, I’m glad this part of my PhD experience is over.

(Comic by Jorge Cham via


Guest blog post on STEPS

stepsThis week’s blog post is published on STEPS, a University of Manchester PGR blog. In this blog post I discuss the questions asked during my viva which may be of interest to those looking for more examples of viva questions. Please click on this link to read my blog post:

Image by rahego via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Thesis corrections submitted (whew)

I had my viva several weeks ago but since then it’s been full steam ahead! I was so focussed on preparing for my viva that I put off preparing for my lectures until the weekend before teaching started. Basically, I’ve been on catch up mode ever since!

This post is a short one on my experiences completing thesis corrections. In the UK PhDs have different categories based on the number/type of corrections requested by the examiners. The time allocated to carry out the corrections is calculated by the examiners according to how much they think you can do in a certain amount of time. It’s not an exact science so there’s a range of interpretations.

I was given four weeks to complete my corrections. What I found out was that four weeks did NOT mean that I had a full four weeks to work on my corrections. In actual fact I had three weeks, with one week for the external examiners to read and approve my corrections, then send it back so that I can submit the final version of my thesis.

You’d think this would be a huge motivator to get my corrections done asap, but the fact was that I left the bulk of the work to do during the third week. I can’t really pin point why. I could say I was busy with other responsibilities, but I think after my viva I was feeling tired. Like deep-down tired. So I took a week off. Did nothing thesis related. Week two I started on the more straightforward corrections: fix these typos, check this reference, change this word etc.

My third and final week was when the panic settled in, and I went in hard, completing the main bulk of my corrections. I finally submitted the revised version of my thesis to my examiners by 5pm on the day they were due. I know it wasn’t the best use of my time, but strangely don’t feel guilty about putting off doing the work. Anyhow, I should hear the outcome from my examiners sometime next week so, fingers crossed, it’ll be enough.

Image my own. Supervisors notes from viva.


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