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External examiners

External Examiners are experienced, senior academics or industry professionals with expertise in their field.  They are appointed by and report to the University. 

What do external examiners do?

External Examiners play a central role in assuring the quality and continuing enhancement of your programme.  Their role is to act as independent moderators and to consider student work with impartiality. The duties of External Examiners include the following:

  • To attend meetings of the Assessment Board of which they are a member.
  • To comment when consulted on the content and form of all assessments.
  • To scrutinise all work recommended for first class/distinction grades, or for failure, and a representative sample of work in each classification (where applicable).
  • Produce and submit an annual report to the University.

Why are external examiners important?

By drawing on their expertise and experience External Examiners provide one of the principal means by which the University ensures the programme remains comparable to national standards. 

The impartiality of External Examiners is paramount to ensuring equity for students and furthermore to ensuring the fair application of the regulations. 

External examiner reports

Each External Examiner is required to produce a report at the end of the academic year and is asked to provide comments on the following:

  • Programme design, content and standards,
  • Student performance (general comments, no individuals are named),
  • Assessments: structure, design and marking,
  • Effectiveness and quality of feedback to students on their work,
  • Recommendations or actions for change,
  • Areas of good practice which should be shared.

These reports are an important part of how each School and the University monitors its academic provision.  These reports are also considered during Boards of Study meetings where student representatives are given the opportunity to view the report.  If you are interested in knowing the opinion of an External Examiner you can find a copy of the report in your programme area in Moodle. 

Who is the external examiner for my programme?

If you wish to know who the External Examiners are for your programme you can find this information in your programme handbook. As External Examiners are appointed to look at specific modules rather than programmes there will often be two, three or maybe more External Examiners involved in assuring the academic quality of your programme.

Important: details of External Examiners are provided in the interests of transparency; so you can see how we ensure that our marking and decisions regarding qualifications and classifications are scrutinised and that they are in line with national standards. It is inappropriate for any student to make direct contact with an External Examiner for any reason, especially regarding a complaint or an appeal.

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