Academic Standards and Quality

External Examinersview of north towers

What is the role of External Examiners?

External Examiners are part of University quality assurance processes and are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from industry, business or the profession, depending what is appropriate for the course. They provide an impartial view of the course and independent advice to ensure courses meet the academic standards and quality expected across the sector.

The University of Essex has two types of External Examiner:

  • Award External Examiners who have overarching responsibility for the standards of the awards to which they are assigned. They are required to attend Boards of Examiners for those awards.  Award external examiners will also be module external examiners for the modules in the awards to which they are assigned, but not for any modules to which a separate module external examiner is assigned.
  • Module External Examiners who have responsibility for ensuring the standard of any particular modules to which they are assigned and will be appointed for their specialist subject knowledge. They do not attend Boards of Examiners unless they are also award external examiners.

External Examiners for courses at partner institutions are nominated by the partner but approved and paid by the University. For more information about our partnerships, please see our Partnerships website

 External Examiners review whether:

  • The programme meets its stated aims.
  • The assessments and types of assessment in modules are appropriate and of comparable standard to other institutions.
  • The marking has been applied fairly on assignments and the marking scheme/grading criteria have been properly and consistently applied.
  • The assessment process complies with the University of Essex Rules of Assessment and the curriculum remains current.

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) have written the UK Quality Code and it is a requirement that all institutions to publish the names, position and institution the external examiner comes from to all students. We publish this information on the module descriptor and programme specifications. The reports will be discussed in detail at the Student Voice Group (formerly Student Staff Liaison Committee), so if students want more information on external examiner reports they can talk to their course representative or Head of Department. External Examiners are in place to provide an independent overview of processes, please do not contact them directly but direct your queries to

The External Examiner system is governed by Ordinance 45 of the University of Essex.

Useful links and resources

For information relating to our partnership arrangements, please see our Partnerships website.

To contact us, please email




Page last updated: 21 August 2019