Viva voce functions, its dilution, and contribution to the proliferation of predatory universities

Keywords: viva voce, doctorate, thesis, dissertation, attribute, predatory, university


Since the Middle Ages, it has been a custom in universities to examine doctoral candidates orally through a “viva voce”. In this way, the doctoral examination consists of two components: a written thesis and a viva voce. Despite justifiable differences between universities around the world, the practice of the viva voce has changed from time to time. In general, the rigour and impact have diminished to such extent that, there is now an emerging practice of not holding a viva at all. In this paper I focus on the impact that the dilution of the viva can or might have on the selected classical functions of the viva. I also explore the possible link between this dilution and the proliferation of predatory universities. Using a qualitative approach, I conclude that the dilution of the viva voce undermines its classical functions and broadly  contributes to the proliferation of predatory universities. I, therefore, recommend African universities that are in the process of establishing doctoral programmes to attach great importance to the viva voce examination.


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eISSN: 1813-2227