Appointment of External Examiners

What is the Appointment Process?
  • Approach a possible external examiner to seek his/her agreement in principle.
  • Swansea University staff should fill out the relevant nomination form (depending on whether overseeing an undergraduate, taught postgraduate programme or research student).
  • Staff must then submit the completed form with a current CV and copy of passport (and visa, if appropriate) to Academic Quality Services for initial scrutiny (your College/School may ask you to route all nominations through a central College/School Office first).
  • The Chair of the Progression and Award Board/PVC Academic will review the proposed nomination.
  • If approved the External Examiner is sent a contract, a welcome pack, and a copy of previous External Examiner’s annual reports by Academic Quality Services.
  • All new External Examiners are invited to an annual Induction Event where they have the opportunity to spend time at the relevant College/School meeting key contacts and obtaining relevant information and support.
  • The College/School sends the External Examiner the relevant information on the programme, such as the programme specifications, assessment marking criteria, handbook and assessment policy.

What are the Criteria for Appointment?

External Examiners must meet the criteria specified in the Academic Regulations 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.

External Examiners must also be eligible to work in the UK and must provide the relevant evidence to the University.

What if the Nomination is Rejected?

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.

How do I Know When the External Examiner's Period of Office is Due to End?

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.

When do I Need to Appoint an External Examiner?

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.

Extensions to the Period of Appointment or Accommodating Special Cases

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 Awards 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.

What if the Programme Structure Changes and/or Student Numbers Increase?

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.

How to Add an Additional Module/Programme or Extend the Contract Period

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.

Appointment of External Examiners - Research Programmes


< Code of Practice – External Examiners | Appointment Criteria >