PhD by Prior Published Work


This is an entry route for the PhD award.  If an applicant has sufficient research experience as demonstrated through published scholarly output, then a reduced registration period (with a minimum period of one year) will be allowed.  Furthermore, if a subset of the already published scholarly output can be presented as a coherent body of work, then the applicant, following the guidance of a UCC supervisor(s), can complete a thesis and present it for examination in the normal manner.

Please also see General PhD Regulations.

  1. In order to be considered for the PhD through the entry mechanism of prior published work, a candidate must demonstrate a substantial body of published research output (as per disciplinary norms), and a coherent sub-set of output that will form the basis of the PhD thesis.
  2. Potential applicants for the degree of PhD through the entry mechanism of prior published work should in the first instance contact the relevant School/Department/Unit who will advise the applicant of their suitability for entry through this mechanism and on the formal application process.
  3. After a preliminary discussion with the academic unit and identification of a potential supervisor, the candidate must make an application via PAC which must include the following:
    • The names of the supervisor(s)/advisor as agreed with the School/Department;
    • A Curriculum Vitae;
    • A list of the published research output (as per disciplinary norms) demonstrating their ability as a researcher. This list should include evidence of the public availability and traceability of the publications;
    • A summary of the contribution to knowledge represented by the published output;
    • A statement identifying where and when the research contributing to the published output was undertaken;
    • In cases where any work to be considered has been written in collaboration with other persons, the candidate shall submit a statement quantifying their contribution to the formulation, execution, analysis and publication of the research;
    • The subset of published research output which the candidate proposes to include in their thesis should be identified and a statement provided establishing how the works constitute a coherent body of study.
  4. The application will be considered by the appropriate School/Department/Discipline/Research Centre Graduate Studies Committee. The local Graduate Studies Committee will invite the applicant to present research (in person or by video link), which will allow any issues to be clarified through questions. The Graduate Studies Committee will determine whether the published works submitted demonstrate a substantial research output (as per disciplinary norms) and whether the subset of published research output prima facie constitutes a qualification for the degree. In forming a judgement the Graduate Studies Committee may take account of the general criteria for the award of a PhD, and, in addition, may take into account the following:
    • The number and quality of the individual outputs;
    • The proportion of sole author and principal author outputs;
    • The coherence of the subset of outputs.
  5. The local Graduate Studies Committee may consult with the Professor of the Discipline and external experts in arriving at their decision. 
  6. The local Graduate Studies Committee will determine the appropriate registration period, with a minimum of 1 year.
  7. The local Graduate Studies Committee will make a recommendation to the Head of Department/School in which the programme is to be pursued.
  8. All applications for admission to a PhD programme under this route shall be finally approved by the relevant College Graduate Studies Committee.
  9. If a student's application is approved, s/he must register as a PhD candidate for the year(s) prescribed, as a minimum.
See General PhD Regulations
  1. In considering the application the Graduate Studies Committee will assess the appropriate coursework and training required. Note that the experience of the candidate as outlined in their CV may result in no modules being required.
  2. See General PhD Regulations


The regulations and procedures for the conduct of the PhD examination can be found in the Procedures for Submission and Examination of Doctoral Degrees in University College Cork here.

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