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PhD awards for published researchers

Explore how you can turn your existing peer reviewed research publications into a PhD qualification

What is a PhD by publication?

A PhD by publication is a postgraduate research degree that's based on research you've already undertaken and had published (excluding self-publishing) before registering with us.

Depending on the subject area, peer reviewed academic papers, complete books, chapters in anthologies, or equivalent materials accepted for publication, exhibited or performed may be eligible. You'll have to submit these materials for examination between 6–12 months after registering with us.

These materials will be accompanied by a commentary of 5,000–10,000 words, which outlines your work's coherence, significance and contribution to knowledge, and you'll be examined through an oral defence of your research, known as a viva voce. Applicants must have held a first or higher degree from a UK higher education institute – or a recognised equivalent non-UK degree of the same standard – for at least 5 years.

Once you've been awarded a PhD by publication, you'll be in a great position to move onto further research or to use your new postgraduate qualification to progress your career.


The cost of getting a PhD by publication in most of our subject areas is £4,500 for external candidates – check your research subject area page for more details.

How to apply

To be considered for a PhD by publication, you'll need to have held an undergraduate or postgraduate degree – awarded either by a UK higher education institute or a recognised non-UK equivalent – for at least 5 years.

To apply you'll need:

  • A CV and the names of two referees
  • A title of the proposed PhD
  • A listing of the published work on which the application is based
  • A statement of not more than 1000 words setting out your view of the nature and significance of the work submitted

Apply from the relevant subject area page.

If your application is successful, you'll need to submit the already-published materials – those that you wish to be considered as part of your PhD by publication award – between 6–12 months after registering with us.