Appointment process

This page provides information about the appointment process of external examiners at the University of Surrey and its Associated and Accredited Institutions (AI).  If there are any queries regarding this page please email the External Examiner Inbox.

New appointments are made before the start of the academic year.  All external examiners for undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes are appointed for four academic years starting on the 1st October.

Overview of responsibilities for selection, initial approval and final endorsement of appointment of external examiners

1.  Selection process

The overall responsibilities for the selection of potential external examiners process lie with the Associate Dean (Learning & Teaching), who should liaise with Heads of Department/School and Programme Directors in identifying suitable candidates.

The Directorate of Quality Enhancement and Standards (QES) will send regular updates detailing which appointments are due to expire/have expired and need to be replaced. 

2. Documentation 

The Nomination Form for external examiner appointments can be downloaded here. Section A of the Nomination Form should be completed and signed by the candidate and Section B should be completed by the programme team.

3. Faculty-level checks and approval

The completed nomination documentation should be checked and signed off by the Associate Dean (Learning & Teaching). It is extremely important that all appointments are unreciprocated, impartial and made in accordance with the the University of Surrey's Code of practice for external examining: taught programmes.

Paragraphs 14-15 of the Code of practice for external examining: taught programmes give the full criteria for the appointment of external examiners, however please note the following scenarios within which individuals cannot act as external examiners:

  • former staff or students of the University or its Associated and Accredited Institutions unless a period of five years has elapsed and all students taught by or with the external examiner have completed their programme(s);
  • the succession of an external examiner by a colleague from the examiner's home department and institution;
  • a reciprocal arrangement involving cognate programmes at another institution.

After initial approval by the Faculty, documentation for all external examiner candidates should be sent electronically to  

4. University-level checks and final approval

The Nomination documentation is processed by a relevant Academic Quality Officer in QES. Nominations are then approved, if they meet the criteria in paragraphs 14 and 15 of the Code of practice for external examining: taught programmes, by the Director of Quality Enhancement and Standards on behalf of the Vice-Provost (Education and Students).

A bi-annual report on new external examiner appointments is submitted to the Senate Progression and Awards Board (SPAB) for subsequent endorsement, and after that the formal approval process is completed.

5. Appointment letter

QES will send official letters of appointment to external examiners, which define the terms and period of their employment, including the annual honorarium and any other relevant fee if applicable.

All newly appointed external examiners are strongly encouraged to attend one of the Induction Days held in November and January each year.

Induction Day for new external examiners

All new appointees for University of Surrey taught programmes will be invited to an Induction Day at the University, which is usually held in mid-November. A repeat session is held in mid to late January for those unable to attend the date in November. Please note that external examiners for Associated and Accredited Institutions will have a separate induction process, which will be organised by the relevant institution.

N.B. You may be aware that there are now commitments on employers to ensure that staff are eligible to work in the UK (Summary Guide for Employers on Preventing Illegal Working in the UK).  This requirement also applies to external examiner appointments.

The University of Surrey accepts the original version of an in-date passport/travel document for these purposes.

All new external examiners should present their current original passport (photocopies are not acceptable) during registration at the Induction Day, to allow recording of sight of the original passport. In cases where external examiners cannot attend the Induction Day, they should present their passport to the Faculty on their first visit to the University.