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These web pages are a useful resource to assist the University’s external examiners with their duties and responsibilities.

External examiners are a vital part of the University’s quality assurance processes. The role of the external examiner is to ensure that the University’s academic standards are maintained and that sector expectations/requirements are met.

The full guide for the University’s external examiners can be found here:

Guide for external examiners

Course documentation such as unit descriptors and programme specifications can be found on Solent Online Learning (SOL) by clicking here. A guide to accessing SOL can be found here:

SOL instructions for external examiners

Duties and responsibilities

The role of external examiners is to ensure that the University's academic standards are maintained and meet sector expectations/requirements.

The University appoints both unit and award external examiners due to the operation of a two tier assessment board structure.

Both the QAA and HEA give a clear statement about what is expected with regards to external examining. The University’s policies and processes are aligned to the QAA and HEA requirements, which can be found at the following links:

HEA: A Handbook for External Examining

QAA quality code: Chapter B7: External examining

A unit external examiner’s duties and responsibilities include:


Unit external examiners may also be asked to advise on proposed unit and course modifications and new units as they arise.

Unit external examiners will be nominated by Academic Services to attend Unit Assessment Boards (UABs). Only two externals are required to attend each board. Their role is to endorse the UAB’s outcomes and confirm that decisions were reached in accordance with University policy and any professional, statutory and regulatory body requirements. 

An award external examiner's duties and responsibilities include:


The full rights and responsibilities of unit external examiners and award external examiners are detailed in Section 2I of the Academic Handbook.

External examiners' briefing day

The University’s briefing day events are normally held in September of each year and all new external examiners are invited to attend. The aim of the briefing day is to welcome new external examiners and provide a useful induction by:

  • introducing delegates to the University and its recent developments,
  • introducing University and School level administrative and academic staff,
  • briefing external examiners on their responsibilities, and
  • providing participants with the opportunity to ask questions about their role.

The following materials were made available at the event held on Tuesday 12 September 2017:


Details of the next external examiners' briefing day will be released in 2018. In the meantime, you can watch presentations from our last briefing event right here on our Solent Online Learning website:

Building an Excellent University
Presented by Mike Wilkinson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
This presentation provides an overview on the strategic position and direction of the University.

Quality Assurance at Southampton Solent University
Presented by Dr Dave Dowland, Academic Registrar
This presentation provides an overview of quality assurance at the University.

External Examining at Southampton Solent University
Presented by Ian Harris, Head of Quality Management
This presentation details the duties and responsibilities of the University’s external examiners.

External Examiner Support
Presented by Mike Firth, External Examiner Officer
This presentation outlines the support and documentation made available to the University’s external examiners.

Assessment and Moderation in Practice
Presented by Keith Davison, Student Assessment Manager
This presentation details the University’s assessment and moderation process and how the external examiners are involved.

External examiner annual reports

External examiners’ annual reports are a key indicator for the University in assessing the quality and standards of our awards, and they play a vital role in the quality assurance processes of the University, including course and periodic review. The report should cover the conduct of the assessments over the academic year and the standards being set and achieved by the University.

In June an email will be sent by Academic Services to all external examiners with details on how to access and complete their annual report.

Unit external examiners annual reports should be provided within four weeks after completion of moderation for the academic year, or, if requested to attend, after attendance at the final UAB for the academic year.

Award external examiners should complete and submit a report four weeks following attendance at a PAB.

The University will give full and proper consideration to comments and recommendations contained in external examiner reports. Appropriate staff within the University will provide detailed written feedback confirming any actions taken or planned in response to the report within six weeks of receiving it.

The QAA’s UK Quality Code for Higher Education; Chapter B7 states that external examiner reports should be made available to students. External examiner reports are shared with students via course representatives and course committees. The student portal and virtual learning environment informs students that they can also request external examiner reports directly from Academic Services. 

The UK Quality Code for Higher Education also indicates that the external examiner name, job title and institution should be made available to students. This will be done via the Solent Online Learning (SOL) virtual learning environment. 

Analysis of external examiner annual reports

At its first meeting of the year, the University's Academic Board receives a paper on the emergent themes arising from the most recent external examiner reports received by the University. The links to the papers for the last 3 years can be found below:

Emergent themes from external examiner reports 2015-16

Emergent themes from external examiner reports 2014-15

Emergent themes from external examiner reports 2013-14

Below are statistics from the external examiner reports for 2015-16:

Relevant policies and regulations

The policies and regulations that external examiners are most likely to be involved with are accessible below:

Academic handbook section 2B: Academic framework for credit-bearing provision

Academic Handbook, Section 2K - The purpose and conduct of assessment boards

Academic handbook section 2I: External examiners

Academic handbook section 2O: Assessment policy

Academic handbook section 2O: Annex 1 Assessment regulations

Academic handbook section 2O: Annex 2: Grade criteria

Academic handbook section 2O: Annex 3: Grade marking criteria

The full version of the University's policies and regulations can be found here.

Fees and expenses

External examiners are entitled to a flat fee, as well as additional fees for attendance of assessment boards and to cover expenses.

Unit external examiners are paid an annual flat fee of £500. The fee will be paid upon submission of an annual report.

Where you have been requested to attend a Unit Assessment Board, you will receive an additional fee of £100 (per board) plus expenses. The additional fee will be paid following attendance at the board. 

Award external examiners are paid an annual flat fee of £500. The fee will be paid upon submission of the final board report for the academic year.

Expenses claim form

The expenses claim form should be used to claim back any expenses for visits to moderate student work, interim visits to schools and external examiners' briefing day expenses.

The expenses claim form can be found here

Claim forms must be accompanied by the appropriate receipts where applicable. The University will reimburse all reasonable travel and subsistence expenses.

The claim form should be completed and submitted to the external examiner officer, either via email or to the address below.

External Examiner Officer 
RM101 Academic Services
Southampton Solent University
East Park Terrace
SO14 0YN

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