External examiners: nomination

Appointment of external

Appointment of external examiners

Period of appointment

External examiners are normally appointed for four annual assessment cycles (usually four years).

An exceptional extension of the appointment may be requested for a maximum of one year for cases where programmes are ending so the external examiner is able to see out the programme(s) and maintain quality of provision for the remaining students.

Where an extension is required, a rationale should be submitted in advance to the AQS Quality Manager (Externality) for approval.

External examiners should normally hold no more than two external examiner appointments for taught programmes at any one point in time.

The University applies specific criteria for the appointment of all external examiners, which are derived from the national set of criteria.

Criteria for appointment of external examiners

The University does not consider the prior involvement of an external examiner in the validation/review of a programme to be a conflict of interest. Therefore, external examiners who took part in the validation/review panel can be nominated as an external examiner.

External examiners should normally be in post for the annual start of the programmes they are responsible for. The approval of external examiners should take place as early as possible in the academic year, prior to the current external examiner completing his/her term of office, or the first start date of the new programme.

Nomination and Appointment process

Nomination and Appointment process
  1. Identification of preferred nominee to act as external examiner: The Programme Lead or Director of Programmes is responsible for identifying a preferred nominee to act as external examiner and arranges for a nomination form to be completed. For a collaborative partner, it is the Institution Link Tutor who would be responsible for identifying a nominee and putting forward a nomination form to to approve. Occasionally, the Director of Programmes may wish to nominate an individual who may not fully meet the selection criteria. In these instances, the Director of Programmes should set out clearly the rationale for doing so, for approval of the Quality Manager (Externality) who may have to seek additional approval from the Director of Academic Quality Service.
  2. Signing of Nomination form: The Director of Programmes should forward the signed nomination form to the Deputy Dean of the Faculty for approval. For collaborative partner provision, the Institution Link Tutor should get the head of the institution to sign, or if authorised, sign on their behalf and forward the nomination form to the university link tutor for approval.
  3. Submission of nomination to Academic Quality Service: The Deputy Dean of the Faculty will forward the approved and signed nomination form to the Quality Manager (Externality) to process.
  4. Issuing of the appointment: The Quality Manager (Externality) will review the nomination form, check for any conflict of interest issues or reciprocity issues and will draft the appointment letter to send to the nominated external examiner with the acceptance form and other documents.
  5. Confirmation of appointment and Right to Work Check: Once the external examiner sends back the acceptance form and their right-to-work documentation, the external examiner team will verify eligibility to work in the UK by conducting a right-to-work check. Once the right-to-work check has been completed, the external examiner team will send through the link to the online induction material and will inform the programme team that they can now arrange for a programme-specific induction.
  6. Induction of external examiner role process: The external examiner will receive a link to the online generic induction materials and the programme team will contact them to arrange the programme-specific induction.

Revision, extension, resignation, interruption or termination of appointment

Extension to appointment

Requests for exceptional extensions should be submitted in good time before the end of original appointment. Failure to do so may result in the external examiners’ personnel records being closed which can lead to delays in reinstating the external examiner on our systems.


Where an external examiner wishes to resign before the end of the term of office, they are requested to provide reasonable notice (at least six months) and complete their duties for the current year of appointment where possible. Immediate steps should be taken by the Programme Leader and Director of Programmes to identify a replacement.


An external examiner’s contract may be terminated by the University as a result of the following circumstances:

  1. Non submission of annual reports
  2. Regular non-attendance at assessment boards
  3. Non-fulfilment of external examiner duties as detailed in the University Regulations
  4. Expiration of eligibility to work in the UK
  5. In the event of a conflict of interest arising during the term of office – the external examiner’s contract will be terminated from the point at which the conflict of interest arises;
  6. Withdrawal of, or non-recruitment to, the programme(s)
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