External examiners (taught provision)

External examiners (taught provision) are appointed to provide the University with impartial and independent advice and informed comment on the institution's academic standards and student achievement in relation to those standards, through oversight of the assessment process at the module and programme/award level. All University programmes of study, and modules therein, leading to an award of credit at foundation, undergraduate or postgraduate taught level must have one or more external examiners appointed.

Code of Practice

Central to the University’s External Examiner System (Taught Programmes) is the Code of Practice. All external examiners appointed by the University are required to adhere to the Code of Practice and within the University it is the responsibility of the Head of School or their nominee to ensure the information in this Code of Practice is adhered to and communicated to the nominated Examinations Officer and all academic staff designated as internal examiners. Legislation are cohort specific. The Code of Practice should be viewed specific to the year the students started their studies

Code of Practice on external examining 2021-22 (taught provision) (PDF - 609KB) is the current Code of Practice for students entering in 2021-22

Code of Practice on external examining 2022-23 (taught provision) (PDF - 955KB) is the current Code of Practice for students entering in 2022-23

Code of Practice on external examining 2023-24 (taught provision) (PDF - 285KB) is the current Code of Practice for students entering in 2022-23

Cohort specific legislation provides links to legislation specific to earlier cohorts of students

Guidance for external examiners

This dedicated web page for external examiners of taught programmes and modules provides all the University-level information that an external examiner may need throughout their appointment. Their School will provide programme-level information to supplement this. Guidance for External Examiners (PDF - 273KB) is provided via the web page when external examiners are first appointed. 

This web page provides information to external examiners about submitting a report and how we respond. (NB - a report link is sent to each external examiner around 6 weeks before a report is due).

This web page provides information to external examiners about the payment of external examiner fees and expenses.

Guidance for those who work with external examiners

The guidance below supports the Code of Practice. Staff working with external examiners should ensure they are aware of the information in each.


Guidance to support compliance with the code of practice

External examiner guidance for University staff (PDF - 442KB) contains full information about the nomination of external examiners, procedures for extending an external examiner’s appointment and the annual reporting process. The guidance and forms in the below sections supplement this.

Guidance on external examiner administration in Schools

The guidance crib sheet (soon to be added) is aimed at the person/people within a School/College who have the designated over-all responsibility for External Examiner record keeping, and those who support the adminsitration of the process.

Guidance on nominations and appointments

Nomination Guidance Points (Word - 23KB) provides information to support the completion of the external examiner nomination form including how to avoid conflicts of interest.

External Examiner Nomination form (DOCX - 57KB)

External Examiner Extension Form  (Word - 73KB) 

Schools are required to maintain an up-to-date list of External Examiner appointments held at other institutions by School academic staff. This helps avoid reciprocal arrangements when appointing external examiners. Registry will ask for these lists during the year to quality check appointments.

Please ensure that the CV of the nominee includes specific detail to demonstrate their teaching and assessment experience within modules on programmes.

Guidance on provision of information to be shared with external examiners 

External Examiner Report Questions (PDF 351KB) may be a useful reference point for Schools to check whether they have provided all relevant information to their external examiners.

  • programme handbooks (to include programme specifications);
  • module specifications;
  • student handbooks;
  • School and/or programme -specific Degree Classification Descriptors, and a copy of the University OfS Level 6 Degree Classification Descriptors (where applicable);
  • marking and assessment criteria;
  • guidance on marking and moderation practices;
  • materials or information evidencing alignment of English language Proficiency and Degree Classification Descriptors in marking criteria;
  • relevant OfS sector-recognised standards and QAA subject benchmark statements; including how equality, diversity, and inclusion aspects within the benchmark are incorporated into the curriculum, assessment, and course material;
  • details of Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body (PSRB) requirements where appropriate;
  • School guidance and processes to mitigate inappropriate or unauthorised use of Generative Artificial Intelligence in assessments;
  • details of distance learning provision (if applicable);
  • details of Apprenticeship programmes where appropriate (this includes the Apprenticeship Standard, Apprenticeship Assessment Plan, and the knowledge, skills and behaviours);
  • details of programmes delivered on the University’s Dubai campus where appropriate;
  • details of microcredentials where appropriate

External examiner meetings with students

The University encourages external examiners to meet with representative groups of students in order to discuss the students experiences of the programme of study, and feed this back to the School.

  • The School should offer external examiners this opportunity and meetings are usually held in relatively informal circumstances such as over lunch.
  • Make it clear to the external examiner of this meeting opportunity if the meeting is incorporated into another visit, to ensure there is no doubt of the offering (e.g. it may be combined with a lab visit or project day visit).
  • Meetings can be held virtually or in-person to suit the circumstances and arrangements of the programmes, students, and external examiner. Meetings via Skype, for example, are permitted.
  • Only the external examiner(s) and students are to be present at the meeting to discuss student views.
  • The meetings can take place at any point in the academic session.
  • Schools should inform students of the purpose of these meetings, and the limitations (e.g. not being able to discuss individual assessment outcomes).

Annual Reporting

The submitting a report page provides guidance and deadlines for the annual reporting process. Here you will also find a link to the External Examiner Annual Report questions asked of external exmainers. This is a useful reference point for Schools to check whether they have provided all relevant information to their external examiners.

Guidance on responding to external examiner reports

School responses to external examiner reports provides guidance about responding to reports and some examples of letters.

Guidance on setting external examiner fees

Guidance for setting external examiner fees (PDF - 385KB) contains general guidance external examiner fees for taught programmes

Guidance on paying external examiner fees

Schools are responsible for paying the agreed fee for the service provided by their External Examiner. 

Payment is conditional upon receipt of the report(s) for the programme(s) examined and the payment process should begin immediately upon confirmation of receipt of the annual report.

The claim form (and guidance on how to complete it) are available from the transactions services web page


Guidance for students on the role of external examiners

A guide for students on the role of external examiners (PDF-274KB). We recommend that this is included if University staff are giving out any information to students which refers to external examiners (i.e. programme information).

Useful contacts

General enquiries

College Academic Policy Partners (CAPPs)

Each 'CAPP' works in partnership with a college and their remit includes external examiners. To find out who your 'CAPP' is please see College Academic Policy Partners contacts  

Head of School/Director of Education

To find out who your Head of School or Director of Education is please see:

Research Student Administration Team

For information about external examiners for postgraduate research programmes (not taught programmes)

Research Student Administration Team

AdvanceHE Professional Development Course for External Examiners

The AdvanceHE Professional Development Course for External Examiners (self-paced online and Zoom) is available for all interested Birmingham staff with an interest in external examining (admin/QAA, aspiring, new or experienced External Examines) as well as current and incoming External Examiners to Birmingham programmes.

The course will:

  • provide an understanding of the role of the external examiner as articulated in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education, 
  • consolidate understanding of the nature of academic standards and professional judgement, and explore the implications for external examining
  • develop an ability in using evidence-informed approaches to contribute to impartial, transparent judgements on academic standards and enhancing student learning.

For more details and to book onto the November course please register here
(NB – if you are unable to register via the link, or need further information, please contact the Higher Education Futures Institute (HEFi) hefi@contacts.bham.ac.uk





Professional Services