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I wouldn't

I know something about this. I know a person in Europe who had a job at a relatively obscure university ... and he was encouraged to get a PhD at another university through prior publications. This has benefitted him at his current job. But I doubt one would be competitive on the market with such a Ph.D. His case was special as he already had the job. So anything that looks like a shortcut to an academic career in philosophy is probably too good to be true (as this option is).

Recently Australian

I may well be wrong but from my understanding (having completed a PhD in Australia recently) a thesis by publication in Australia still requires all the relevant publications to be obtained while a PhD student. And to be based on research undertaken during that time (I even had to include a declaration that included something to the effect that prior research was not included).

I.E. the difference is only in the structure of the thesis (more self-contained papers rather than a monograph). It isn't, as far as I am aware, something you can base on papers you have already published before you start (which seems to be what the OP imagines).

Given that understanding of it, I would say that it is generally held in higher regard than a regular thesis because it requires getting several papers past review. But it is also generally advised against for the same reason.

The most standard thing to do where I went was to essentially write 4-5 papers (hopefully sending them out for review) and then edit them together as standard monograph chapters, so that getting your PhD doesn't depend on the vagaries of peer review.

Recently Australian

Following up from above, here is the relevant text that I had to include:

"This work was done wholly while in candidature for a research degree at ____. No part of this thesis has previously been submitted for a degree or any other qualification at this University or any other institution."

I guess that technically leaves open the possibility of prior research that wasn't done while a student or towards a degree, but I suspect that is intended to be covered too.

(This was for a thesis where two of the chapters where already published, but which was presented as a monograph.)


Who's going to know? It's not the kind of thing you'd specify on your CV. As long as it's from a recognized university, it would be regarded the same as a regular PhD from the same institution.

academic migrant

Just offering agreement with Recently Australian. It's basically the same thing: we were told to write a dissertation with the clear intention to publish chapters as seperate publications. If say, more than half were accepted, then it's a phd by publication. If not, then we just need to tell a coherent story of why all the stuff is a dissertation with a unified theme. But given that they are the same thing, but the former secures more publications, the former is clearly better.


I am the OP. I am aware of PhD programs that require or encourage published work as a part of the PhD. What I am thinking about is something like this: https://warwick.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/courses/phdbypublishedwork/

Basically, you present a dossier of already published work and defend it in a viva voce, usually with an enrollment of 6 months to a year. It is rarer and some institutions only allow it for staff and alumni. I suppose it is much rarer than even I realized.


I'd never heard of this, but as someone who has been on search committees it seems like a sound plan if you want an academic job or to move jobs. I think not having a PhD would have ruled you out of our search (officially and perhaps unofficially), but I don't think that anyone would have thought less of this kind of PhD than a standard one. As Marcel points out: that is, if we even had noticed.


Speaking specifically to the American context: most Americans will not know that a PhD by publications does not entail necessarily having completed coursework in philosophy, so this would likely not count against you. More relevant (though this is true for most non-American PhDs) is going to be the fact that the PhD didn't involve teaching, either--most American PhDs teach at least a course or two as primary instructor before going on the market, which isn't especially common elsewhere. In very few cases is it possible to get a job without relatively substantial relevant teaching experience anymore.

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