How do you apply?
Some of the entry requirements for a PhD by publication are similar to those for a normal PhD by thesis (after all, you’re still seeking to prove that you’re up to the standard required for a doctorate).
To apply for a PhD by publication, you must have a Bachelors degree and may be expected to have held this qualification for several years (as the PhD by publication is for established researchers / practitioners, not fresh graduates). You may also need to have relevant professional / academic experience on your CV, in addition to your publications.
Other admission requirements vary. Some universities state that the applicant must be a current staff member, whereas others allow external candidates to apply (so it is always best to check with the individual institution). In the UK, PhD by publication is more common among staff members, but this PhD model is becoming a popular option for early career researchers in other parts of the world, such as Scandinavia.
The PhD by publication route isn’t normally advertised and students don’t usually begin by searching for a supervisor and presenting a research proposal. Instead, universities encourage applicants to contact the head of department in the relevant subject area before applying. They will discuss your previous research and advise you on the application process.
The application generally involves a postgraduate application form consisting of a CV and a supporting statement, outlining how the publications fit together, methodologies (and why they were used), a brief discussion of findings and most of all, how this research has given a unique and original contribution to the field. You won’t normally need to provide a research proposal as you aren’t planning an extensive new project.
Which universities offer a PhD by publication?
This type of doctorate degree is less common than the traditional one and isn’t usually advertised. Also, due to some universities only offering this form of the degree to internal staff, information about it may not be publicly available.
So, if you are curious about doing a PhD in this way, the best way to find out more about it is by getting in touch with someone at your university of interest. You can also try contacting the people responsible for relevant PhD programmes or discussing opportunities at PhD open days and study fair events.