The system of independent external examination lies at the heart of credible quality assurance. The examination of full Masters dissertations involves three examiners, one internal and two external to UCT (at least one of whom must be at an institution of high academic standing outside of South Africa). The examination of dissertations associated with a coursework Masters is by two examiners – one internal, one external to UCT.
The examiners are selected on the basis of their knowledge in the field within which the research is located. Appointments of examiners of Masters dissertations are subject to approval by the Dean. Supervisors cannot serve as examiners of their own student‟s work.
At the Doctoral level, the thesis is examined by three external experts in the field, at least two of whom are based at an institution of high academic standing outside of South Africa. Appointments of examiners of PhD theses are subject to the approval by the Doctoral Degrees Board.
In all cases, the identity of the examiners is kept strictly confidential from the student. This confidentiality remains in force until the examiners give permission for their identities to be known after the examination process has run its full course (note that the examiners have the right not to give this permission). Supervisors are not permitted to make contact with external examiners during the examination process. No dissertation or thesis will be examined under conditions of secrecy, though it is possible to apply for temporary confidentiality of a dissertation or thesis under examination where there is good reason for a short delay in making the research public.