External examiners for taught provision

The University appoints external examiners for taught provision to ensure that undergraduate and postgraduate taught degree programmes are nationally and internationally comparable in standard and quality.

Student Administration and Support Division manages the administration of the external examiner system for taught provision.

Departments or Schools, as appropriate, are responsible for recommendations for the appointment of external examiners.

Faculty Executive Pro-Vice Chancellors - or academic designee(s), such as Chairs of Faculty Academic Quality and Standards Committees - are responsible, under delegated powers of the Senate, for the appointment and re-appointment of external examiners.

The University operates an online workflow system, known as HERMES (Tulip) to facilitate the administration of the external examiner system for taught provision.

For a list of staff members with access to and involvement in the external examiner system please consult the HERMES Staff User Directory.

External Examiner Operational Guidance

This External Examiner Guidance/Handbook for staff was produced by AQSD and approved by QAPRG in consultation with Faculties and the SAS external examiners team to provide guidance to staff on all aspects of the External Examiner process.

Purpose and functions

The external examiner system is intended:

  • To assist the University in monitoring the standards of its awards;
  • To verify that standards are appropriate for the award or award elements which the external examiner has been appointed to examine - such verification will require reference to national subject benchmarks, national qualifications frameworks as well as University programme specifications;
  • To ensure that awards made are comparable in standard with those for similar subjects and awards in other United Kingdom Universities and that the performance of students is consistent with those awards;
  • To ensure that the assessment processes are appropriate, rigorous, fair and fairly operated and in line with both institutional regulations and published programme guidelines and;
  • To ensure that, where appropriate, that accreditation requirements of any professional, statutory or regulatory body are met, and
  • To provide recommendations for, and informative comment on, good practice identified via the external examining system for taught provision, and the enhancement of the quality of learning opportunities provided to students

In order to achieve these objectives, external examiners need to be able:

  • To participate in assessment processes for the award of degrees;
  • To arbitrate or adjudicate on problem cases;
  • To comment and give advice on programme content, balance and structure, on award schemes and on assessment processes.

Key information for appointments of external examiners

  • External examiners are appointed on an annual basis, with a maximum tenure of four years or for the duration of the programme in question where it exceeds four years (re-appointed annually);
  • A nominal fee is paid for undertaking moderation work at the University; this fee is currently based on a combination of: the number of modules assessed, the number of students attached to modules, and the programme level (annual fees may therefore vary);
  • External examiners normally hold no more that two external examiner appointments for taught programmes at any point in their tenure (excessive burden form)
  • The University will pay reasonable UK-based expenses incurred by external examiners as a consequence of moderation work, providing the expenditure was incurred within the previous 6 months. For further information please refer to the External Examiner Expenses Claim Policy

Forms to submit for new external examiners