PhD by publication advice

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by warguns, Nov 29, 2023.

  1. warguns

    warguns Member

  2. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I considered this route. Since both my master's were course-based with no thesis, I decided I didn't have enough experience to pull it off and opted for the regular PhD.
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  3. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

    Seems like a tough route; negotiating the details may be quite complex for an outsider.
  4. Suss

    Suss Active Member


    Tara Brabazon, Dean of Graduate Studies at Charles Darwin University (Australia) has several videos about earning a PhD through prior publication. The first one I link above was about 7 months ago; the second one listed took place November 28 or 29 this week (depending on the time zone) and was an interactive Q&A session. Very helpful.
  5. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Emphasis on the word "prior."

    IIRC, these programs are not necessarily designed to be done by the new researcher. Rather, they're designed for established researchers who can bundle previous publications along a cogent throughline, held together by additional writing that takes those individual articles and creates a focused dissertation-level product, albeit arrived at via a different route.

    If you don't already have those publications, it would make sense to do a "normal" dissertation-only PhD.
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  6. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I tried this myself and it was very difficult to find a professor that is familiar with your work, the dissertation requires 3 published papers that can be integrated and preferably you as the first or only author. The journal also has to be acceptable by the supervisor and this can be subjective. The time is going to take you to do all the work, you might as well write another dissertation. The problem with the UK PhD is not so much writing the dissertation but finding the right supervisor and it can be very expensive as you pay as an international student about 30K USD a year, it might take you about 4 years to finish so you can end paying more than 100K for a PhD.
    The ROI is negative as it is very difficult to find a tenure track in the US or Canada with a British PhD unless it is from a top UK university. The American or Canadian faculty normally look down at the British PhD because they lack comprehensive exams and course work, it is just dissertation.
  7. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    What? I've never heard this before and I've had British, Australian and even South African professors with research-only PhDs in the US and Canada.

    What matters for getting a TT position (and then tenure) is the quality and quantity of your research, your grant funding and to a lesser extent your teaching skills. I've never heard of anyone say that coursework in a PhD affected employability in the tenure track.

    If you have sources I'd appreciate reading them.
  8. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Personal experience, I have an Australian Doctorate. The blog below also suggests this but there is no formal research about this.
    "I would never recommend a British PhD. They are looked down as easy in the US."

    Again, perhaps we should be more specific "tenure track at research institutions". The typical PhD from an American or Canadian research institution takes about 5 years full time. The typical PhD at a British or Australian institution takes about 3 years. Another reason for this could be the lack of GMAT or GRE requirements for admission at the UK institutions. Most top schools in Canada and the US require at least a GMAT of 700 over 800.

    The British or Australian PhD is normally ok for tenure track at a non research and more teaching based institutions.
  9. Suss

    Suss Active Member

    In the second YouTube video above (the one with the postage stamps of participants), Dr. Brabazon explains how to do the PhD via prior publication (PPP) route starting from scratch. (That is, with no or very few existing publications.) Basically you plan a couple of years of research and writing that generates at least 6 peer-reviewed articles related to that research. Only then should you enroll in a PPP program for one or two semesters, where you will write up the 10,000-40,000 word contextual statement, which integrates and ties the articles together and demonstrates your significant original contribution to knowledge in the field. The journal articles and contextual statement in the PPP will add up in total word count to the length of a traditional PhD dissertation (80,000 to 100,000 words).

    It's basically designed for those who already have a master's degree or the equivalent in the discipline of interest.

    I see advantages and disadvantages.

    --Only 1 or 2 semesters of fees, instead of 6 or more. (E.g. $6000 to $20,000 for a PhD instead of $36,000 to $180,000.)

    --Candidates so-inclined can do this while still working/caretaking.

    --The focus is on one's own research and writing, and not on other activities some universities require of PhD candidates (teaching undergraduate courses, for example) in exchange for some fellowship money.

    --One needs a strong capacity for time management, self-study and self-management. (If you have these capacities, this isn't a disadvantage.)

    --American universities are not as familiar with this route to a PhD, so prospective students may have to look abroad.

    --Academics experienced with supervising PPP students may not be easy to find, but more are joining the ranks.

    --If starting from scratch, many of the resources available to enrolled university students involved in early research probably won't be available to someone not enrolled (things like computer access to run statistics programs, easy enrollment in mini-courses to address skills that may be needed, access to journals and other materials in a research university library, etc.).

    --It may take longer than expected to get 6-10 refereed articles published. Some journals have turnaround times as long as a year--and that's if they accept the article for publication.
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  10. Suss

    Suss Active Member

    Earning a PhD in Europe and the UK take less time because one needs already a master's degree or the equivalent to enroll, whereas in the USA, students enter PhD programs with a bachelor's degree. That adds two years to the Americans' programs. Also, American universities are not free; unless you're flush, you'll get a fellowship which has a work requirement attached. So in some fields it can take 7 years or more to finish because of this work requirement. European, British, and Australian PhD programs come government-funded (what we used to call "free"), and as such there are no extraneous work requirements--and an interest in making sure the student does not stretch that funding into the greater part of a decade, as often happens in the USA.

    I doubt that an Oxford, London, Edinburgh or other Russell Group PhD (British) is useful only for tenure-track positions in non-research or teaching-based universities.
    RoscoeB likes this.
  11. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I don't think that's customary. Most people I see here working on Doctorates have Master's - e.g. @Dustin, @TEKMAN, @SteveFoerster for three that come to mind right away. Plenty who already had Master's before they earned Doctorates. - e.g @Rich Douglas.

    I know Bachelor's to Doctorate has been happening in the US - for at least 60 years, - it's been that long since I first heard of it, from a professor here, who was from Texas. But I thought it was an exception, not a General Rule. Any idea what percentage of US Doctoral students follow this path?

    I just checked - from this article it WOULD seem to be exception, rather than the rule. A lot of caveats. Article here;

    Suss? Anyone else? Call for comment is open. I think I could learn something, here.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2023
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  12. Xspect

    Xspect Member non grata

    Don't forget about me. I had three masters before I got a Doctorate. Im still at UOC working on the Phd in leadership
  13. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    My colleague, Susan, went from her bachelor's program into a PhD program. Along the way they encouraged her to write the necessary thesis to get an M.A. She did. Then she went into the workplace using it and almost didn't finish her PhD. As she was building her career she also bumped up against the time-in-program limit. So, she took a sabbatical and wrote her dissertation and got her PhD. But by then she'd left her field (economics) and was in leadership development, where she remains some 30-odd years later.
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  14. Suss

    Suss Active Member

    The members of this group are not typical of grad students. I suspect the majority of grad students do not already have three master's degrees and are looking to add a couple more for fun, like some of us here.

    I should have used the term "historically" in describing students degrees before entering a PhD program. In the USA students applied for PhD programs on the eve of finishing their bachelor's degrees. They were admitted, and were expected to earn a master's (even "just" a master of philosophy) among other milestones before being approved as a candidate for a PhD. They were around 20 to 24 years old when they finished the bachelor's and applied, and most were male.

    So yes, they had masters degrees on the way to the PhD, but when then entered grad school with the intention of earning a PhD, all they had was the bachelor's.

    The historically word is important because much has changed: The majority of students in the USA are women over 30, and both men and women come to the PhD table with all kinds of backgrounds, with and without masters degrees.
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