Vivas can vary with the nature of research, attitude of the examiner and the flow of the conversation. However, there are some standard questions which one can easily expect:
- Can you please give an outline of your thesis and why you got interested in this research area?
- What is the context of your research?
- How would you assess your own research?
- Which are the strongest results in your thesis?
- Which results of the thesis do you particularly like?
- How would you judge the technical depth of the various parts of the thesis?
- How would you judge the contributions of your coauthors in the different chapters of your thesis?
- Can you tell which parts of the thesis will interest which research communities more?
- Where do you see the research heading in the future?
- What are the natural extensions of the research conducted?
- Why is this term introduced here and not there? (justify the logical flow of your thesis)
Apart from standard questions, a few other things can make the viva a smoother experience:
- Prepare a general description of the thesis. This will most likely be your first answer and a good start can calm the nerves.
- Refresh the names of authors you have cited in the thesis. It can create a good impression if you can use the names when you are referring their paper during a conversation.
- Highlight important parts of the thesis to make it more readable and accessible especially during the viva.
- Try to think up questions which you might expect.