See the sections Scrutiny of Nominations, Administrative Matters in appointing External Examiners and Criteria for Appointment in the Regulations (see Useful Links) for more details.
See the flowchart showing the nomination process in the Useful Links.
External Examiners must meet the criteria specified in the Regulations (see Useful Links) for taught programmes. When completing the nomination form, these criteria are appended as a useful checklist, but must also be completed.
There are restrictions on who can be an external examiner of taught programmes. A case can be made for accommodating special cases. See the sections Conflict of Interest and Administrative Matters in appointing External Examiners in the Regulations (see Useful Links).
External Examiners must also be eligible to work in the UK and must provide the relevant evidence to the University.
If the nomination is rejected, reasons will be given and you may submit further information and justification in support of the nomination. The PVC Academic has the final decision. See the section Extensions to the Period of Appointment or Accommodating Special Cases in the Regulations (see Useful Links).
Academic Quality Services staff contact the Head of College/School, usually in the January prior to the end of an External Examiner’s contract. Please contact us at any time for details about your current External Examiners and their periods of office.
Every programme of study that leads to a Swansea University award must have an External Examiner. The External Examiner oversees those modules and components that contribute to the award. At undergraduate level, an external examiner is often not required until the second year of the programme (foundation degrees are however appointed to oversee the first year). For taught postgraduate programmes, external examiners oversee all elements of the programme.
When new programmes are validated, programme proposers are reminded that they must allocate the programme to an existing/new Board of Studies and initiate the external examiner nomination process.
If you wish to appoint or continue to appoint an External Examiner, who, in exceptional circumstances, contravenes the general criteria for appointment, the College/School must submit justification why the continued appointment is necessary.
Submit your justification to Academic Quality Services, where staff will first scrutinise the request to examine the basis of the exceptional circumstance or whether the extension of time is permitted. Incomplete or ineligible requests for extension will be returned to the College/School for further information/re-nomination of an alternate.
In appointing special cases, the term of office is typically only one year.
Completed and valid requests for extension/special circumstances will be examined by the Chair of the Progression and Award Board (for extensions of office up to a fifth year) or the Chair of the Academic Regulations and Cases Board (for all other special cases) who have authority to approve or decline the continued period of appointment or exception to regulations. The decision of the Chair of the ARCB will be documented against this case. Where nominations are not approved, the College/School may re-submit the nomination providing further details to justify the nomination.
Decisions on rejecting any nominations are retained by Academic Quality Services. College/School staff may appeal any rejected nomination through provision of enhanced information or evidence to justify the validity of the nomination.
External Examiners' contracts and fees for undergraduate programmes are made on the programme structure and enrolment numbers at the time of appointment. Should these arrangements change significantly, contact Academic Quality Services with the relevant information and the contract may be amended.
Taught postgraduate examiners’ fees are calculated each year on numbers of students assessed.
£750 is the maximum fee payable per External Examiner for both undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes; if fees reach this, we will contact the College/School and strongly recommend nominating additional examiners to share the load.
We can add additional modules/programmes, provided the numbers of students are not excessive and the number of concurrent examinerships is not above the "normally only two" rule as only two External Examiner appointments should be held at any one time. Contact the External Examiner to ask if they wish to take on further duties, then contact Academic Quality Services to request and extension form/additional modules form/additional programme form.
We can also extend the period of Office, see Extensions to the Period of Appointment or Accommodating Special Cases in the regulations, found in the Useful Links.
The criteria for appointment match indicator 5 of Chapter B7 of the QAA Quality Code (see Useful Links). They are attached to the nomination form for your reference.
External Examiners shall normally be appointed for a period of four academic years, with a possibility of re-appointment for a fifth year subject to the approval of the Chair of the Progression and Award Board.
To avoid potential conflicts of interest, External Examiners should not be appointed if they are any of the following:
In order to comply with UK Immigration Law, all External Examiners must be eligible to work in the UK and must provide the relevant evidence to do so.
The University will conduct a Right to Work check to verify that every individual working for the University is eligible to work in the UK, prior to them commencing any work with the University. This requirement includes External Examiners and is in accordance with UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI), a department of the UK Government Home Office. The External Examiner will be asked to present or email a copy of their identification to Academic Quality Services, usually a passport (and visa, if relevant), before they commence work with the University. The original documentation will need to be presented on the External Examiner's first visit to the University premises.
Please refer to the following link for further information:
Four academic years is the normal appointment period, with a fifth extension year being possible. In some special cases, the term would be for one year only.
For undergraduate programmes, the period of office is usually the academic year, October 1st to September 30th. For taught postgraduate programmes, the ending period would be to December 31st of the relevant calendar year.
See also How to appoint an additional module/programme or extend contract period (see above) for further details.
There must normally be at least five years since their last period of appointment before an External Examiner can be reappointed.
An External Examiner is only permitted to hold two external examinerships concurrently. See the sections Terms of Office, Period of Appointment and Extension to the Period of Appointment or Accommodating Special Cases in the Regulations (see Useful Links).
Research External Examiners are appointed to examine specific students. There are no restrictions on the number of research students that an External Examiner can oversee for the taught element. For the thesis element there is a restriction on the number of theses.
The University has two types of External Examiners:
There is no set number, but you need to be aware of the total student FTEs enrolled on the programme, the subject diversity of the programme and any professional body requirements as these will influence how many examiners you may need to appoint.
You will need both subject-based External Examiners, along with a Chief External Examiner who will oversee the standards across each of the disciplines. The Chief may be one of the subject examiners or someone else appointed to oversee the programme.
Contracts with External Examiners can be terminated before their term of office has expired. Reasons for termination might include:
The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) is authorised to issue letters of premature termination upon the recommendation of the Chair of the Progression and Award Board.
If the circumstances of an External Examiner change and/or a conflict of interest arises during their term of office and he/she wishes to resign, a formal letter of resignation should be directed to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic). A three month period of notice will be required.
Should the termination of contract arise during the academic year, or an examiner wishes to temporarily suspend their involvement due to personal reasons, a temporary appointment will be made to cover the rest of the duties during that academic year until a permanent nomination is obtained, where necessary.
See section Termination of Contract in the Regulations (see Useful Links) for more details.