PhD by Prior Publication

The PhD by Prior Publication award is designed to recognise current Royal Holloway staff members who have produced a significant body of research which is equivalent in standard to a PhD.

Please read appendix 4 of the Research Degree Regulations for further details. 

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact

Admissions criteria for the PhD by Prior Publication

In order to be considered for admission on the PhD by Prior Publication programme, you must:

  • be an established member of the Royal Holloway academic staff`or teaching fellow at Royal Holloway, who has been in post for at least 2 years.
  • provide prima facie evidence that:
  1. there is a coherent body of work
  2. there is evidence of a significant contribution made to the field
  3. the extent of the work is equivalent to that expected of a standard Doctor of Philosophy

Admissions process

In order to apply for admission on the PhD by Publication programme, you will need to complete the PhD by Prior Publication online application form and pay an initial assessment fee of £250.:

  • As part of the application, you will be required to upload a 1,000 - 1,500 word supporting statement and any relevant evidence (normally a list of the publications you intend to submit)
  • Please note that the personal details requested are required details for every student record that is created.
  • On receipt of the application form, a student record will be created for you and Student Administration will contact you with details of how to pay the £250 initial assessment fee.
  • Once the initial assessment fee has been paid, your supporting statement and the list of publications you wish to submit will be forwarded to the relevant Director of Graduate Studies.  The assessment for admission to the programme will be carried out by the member of staff who will be your supervisor and is subject to the approval of the Director Graduate Studies.
  • Student Administration will inform you whether your application has been successful.

Process after admission has been granted

If admission is granted, you will be registered on the PhD by Prior Publication.  Please note that there is a charge of (tbc) for you to be registered on this programme.

You will be appointed a supervisor who should:

  • provide guidance on the coherence and quality of your published work to be submitted for the examination
  • advise on the preparation of the supporting critical appraisal
  • provide guidance on the preparation for the oral examination
  • normally arrange up to 6 supervisory meetings a year

It is expected that you will submit your PhD within 12 months of registration.

Requirements of the PhD by Prior Publication

The candidate must submit the following:

  1. a portfolio of peer-verified outputs which are in the public domain and / or published research which must constitute a substantial and coherent body of work which is comparable to the extent of work required of a standard PhD programme.
  2. a critical appraisal of 15,00 - 30,000 words which must:
demonstrate how the outputs form a coherent body of work
demonstrate methodological and conceptual rigour
articulate the contribution to the field
clarify the individual contribution made the candidate in cases where the work has been co-authored
Further details can be found in paragraphs13 - 16 of appendix 4 of the Research Degree Regulations.

Guidance for Examiners

Examiners of the PhD by Prior Publication are expected to:

  • evaluate the intellectual merit of the candidate's cited published work
  • establish if a satisfactory case is made for coherence between the publications
  • assess the contribution to knowledge represented by the publications and made apparent in any critical appraisal
  • evaluate the rigour with which the candidate has contextualised and analysed his/her publications in any critical appraisal
  • evaluate the appropriateness of the methods employed in the research and the suitability of their application
  • assess the candidate's contribution to the various phases of the research embodied in multi-authored works
  • establish the candidate's 'ownership' of the published work and appreciation of the state of (historical and current) knowledge within the candidate's research area
  • assess the candidate's research skills in terms of his / her potential as a continuing, independent researcher.           


The examination process for the PhD by Prior Publication is very similar to that for students doing the standard PhD.  Please see below for  further details:

Pre Viva

Deadline for submission

  • It is expected that you will submit your PhD within 12 months of registration.
  • If you would like to confirm your submission deadline, please contact
  • Failure to submit by this deadline will normally result in the failure of the degree.
  • If you experience circumstances which affect your ability to submit your portfolio and critical appraisal by the set deadline, you should apply for a request to extend your College registration.  Please note that requests for extensions will be assessed by the Vice-Principal (Education) and will be granted in only exceptional circumstances.You will need to obtain the support of your Supervisor and Director of Graduate Studies who will explain how to make the request and what documentary evidence is required.

Examination Entry form

  • The PhD by Prior Publication Entry form must be submitted to Student Administration at least two months prior to submission.  If you fail to submit your entry form two months to your submission, it is likely that this will result in a delay in the subsequent examination process.
  • PhD by Publication Entry form
  • Details of the regulations surrounding the nomination of examiners can be found in paragraphs19 - 22 of appendix 4 of the Research Degree Regulations.
  • Please note that all relevant pages must be signed,  Electronic signatures are acceptable but we are not able to accept typed names.


Submission of critical appraisal and portfolio

  • Two securely bound (e.g. spiral bound, comb bound or cloth bound) copies of the critical appraisal and portfolio must be submitted to Student Administration.
  • These must be presented in accordance with the    A template for the Declaration of Authorship can be found here.
  • You should also submit a Declaration of Number of Words form, signed by yourself and your supervisor.
  • Further details about submission can be found in paragraphs 23 - 26 of appendix 4 of the  Research Degree Regulations.
  • If you are submitting the bound copies in person, please go to the Student Services Centre in the Emily Wilding Davison Building.
  • If you are submitting them by post, please address them to: Student Administration, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX and give the contact number tel: 01784 414647 if it is being sent by courier.


Details to follow

Post Viva

Details to follow









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