Existing Published or Creative Work PhD

Apply Online

Students must apply via one of the following online application forms:-

Closing date for applications is 20th January 2020

Course starts: 01 February 2020Apply now

Apply now

Take the fastest route to a PhD. Convert your previous research outputs into a qualification which will increase your employability and open up new opportunities. Progress your academic career and add credibility in applications for research funding.

Register your interest


A PhD by Published or Creative Work is designed for individuals with an existing portfolio of published work addressing a central research question. This degree will be awarded to a candidate who has critically investigated an approved topic and demonstrated an understanding of research methods appropriate to the chosen field.

A submission for PhD by Published or Creative Work may comprise of academic papers, chapters, and monographs, scholarly editions of texts, creative practice, artefacts, or curatorial production.

Why us?

  • A PhD is “probably the most internationally transferable qualification” according to the Higher Education Policy Institute 
  • We're ranked 2nd in the UK for students’ overall satisfaction with their research degree programme according to the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey 2018
  • This is the fastest route to a PhD, usually taking less than 12 months to complete
  • Based on outputs that you have already produced, such as articles in peer-reviewed journals
  • Typically, candidates are academics with high-quality research outputs who have not previously undertaken a PhD

Course structure

A submission for PhD by Published or Creative Works may be awarded on the basis of existing published work or creative output that shows evidence of originality and independent critical judgment at the level appropriate for the award. All work should normally have been published in the last ten years and be traceable in publicly available databases such as catalogues and must be accessible to scholars or other interested persons. The work submitted must have been subjected to peer review by the relevant academic community.   

There is no defined number of publications but candidates need to ensure that the range of publications demonstrates that their work forms a coherent and significant contribution to knowledge. This should be of an acceptable national, or preferably international, standing.  For a substantial proportion of all the publications submitted, the candidate must be the sole or senior author.

If your application is successful, you will be assigned one or more supervisors who will advise on which of your publications should form your final submission to be examined and how your commentary should be written. The commentary (usually between 10,000 and 20,000 words) describes the aims of the research you have undertaken to produce your publications, incorporates a critical discussion of the impact of your work and will be examined through an oral defence.

Entry requirements

All candidates should hold at least an honours degree (first or upper second class), or equivalent.

To apply, please complete the online application form (see the Apply Now button), together with the following documents to be uploaded through the application portal, see below:

  • Details of Published or Creative works
  • Statement of Authorship - This statement is made by collaborating researcher(s) confirming the contribution you have made to the research. This statement is only required if all or parts of the work are the result of collaborative research. Please arrange for the collaborators to complete the pro-forma if this applies to your work
  • Qualification certificates
  • Birth certificate or personal details page of the passport
  • Curriculum Vitae

Without all of the above documents, we will not be able make you an offer on this programme.

In addition, in the ‘personal statement’ section of the online application form, please provide a statement of no more than 1000 words outlining:

  • How and in what respect the work has made a significant and coherent contribution of knowledge.
  • The impact within its discipline
  • The methodologies used
  • An appropriate contextualisation of the research
  • Clear indication of any parts of the work which may have been carried out in collaboration with other parties/authors

Duration of programme: Minimum period of registration is six months and maximum two years.

The intake dates are 1 October, 1 February and 1 May each academic year.

Fees and finance

2019/20 fees

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £3,980 if you are from the UK or EU
  • £4,835 if you are from outside of the EU

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

You are viewing entry requirements for visitors from United States. Not from United States? Change your country preferences.

This information was correct at the time of publication.

City Campus by night


There is pressure on teaching staff at universities to demonstrate that they have higher qualifications than those whom they are teaching. A PhD is often required for academic posts in research-intensive institutions.

A doctorate is becoming an increasingly common requirement for recruitment and promotion in university teaching roles.

A PhD also adds credibility in applications for research funding.

Doctorates are now held by at least eight out of ten full-time teaching staff in top institutions, based on data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

The PhD by Existing Published or Creative Work is a fast track for you to gain doctorate-level recognition for work that you have already done. It is therefore well suited to academic staff who would like to develop their careers.

More broadly, the achievement of a doctorate demonstrates your ability to make a major contribution to the development of new ideas, techniques and approaches. There is a strong association between successful postgraduate study and professional employment, according to the Higher Education Policy Institute.

Meet the team

Sign up to receive more information

Sign up to receive emails about your subject area.

Keep me up to date relating to my interest in the University of Sunderland via:


You may unsubscribe at any time.

Oops! You've not opted in to receiving other useful information about the University of Sunderland.


Using Your Personal Information
The University of Sunderland is collecting this data in order for you to receive information on your chosen subject(s). Your information will be stored securely in our Customer Relationship Management system which is provided by a 3rd party and used only for the administration and provision of this information. Should you choose to opt in to further communications we will also use your information to facilitate other useful marketing information based on your preferences. Further information on how your data is stored and used can be found in our Privacy notice - marketing.