Common Qs About The Viva: What Are Minor Corrections?

I’ve been talking to PhD candidates about viva prep for over four years, and there are some questions that regularly come up at workshops. I’ve started answering some of these on this blog, but thought it might be useful to answer some of the most frequently asked questions all of this week. Let me know what you think in the comments, and please give me some questions for future posts!

What are minor corrections?

I think that this question comes up a lot in my viva preparation workshops because people want to know what might be in their future. Hopefully they know that most PhD candidates have to make some amendments to their thesis, and so it’s useful to know what sorts of things come up. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, typical items on a list of minor corrections could include:

  • spelling mistakes and typos: I was terrible for missing “the the” in my thesis!
  • corrections to grammar: some grammar rules are easy to miss; if your examiners spot things they are not just being pedantic – they want your thesis to be the best it can be.
  • amendments to tables, references, diagrams: usually to make things more clear.
  • small amounts of copyediting: rewording sentences and paragraphs to make the meaning more clear.

There is a hope that a thesis will be read at some future date by someone wanting to build on your research. Corrections are asked for, in part, so that the book you have produced will as helpful as possible.