The University welcomes applications for PhD by Published Work. This route is for candidates who have already completed and published their research – in the form of a series of academic publications (journal articles, books etc) – at PhD standard.

As part of your PhD registration period, candidates will be required to write a commentary (5,000 words for science and technology subjects, 10,000 words for arts, social sciences and humanities).

A key part of your application is your research proposal and you should follow the guidance below. You are encouraged to contact us to discuss the availability of supervision in your area of research before you make a formal application, by visiting our areas of research.

What is your research proposal used for and why is it important?

  • It is used to establish whether there is expertise to support your proposed area of research
  • It forms part of the assessment of your application

How long should my research proposal be?

It should be 2,000 words (4 pages) long.

What should be included in my research proposal?

Your proposal should include the following:


  • Your title should give a clear indication of your proposed research theme and related research questions addressed through your publications.

Portfolio of publications

You should include:

  • identify your discipline
  • outline which publications are to be considered for your PhD (full publication details must be provided) along with the percentage of contribution to any collaborative publications
  • copies (electronic or hard) or links to your publications to be included in your PhD
  • demonstrate how your publications are of appropriate quality to contribute to a PhD, noting that you will present the publications as a whole, accompanied by a commentary (to be completed during the registration period), in an overarching thesis

Research questions

You should provide details on:

  • the underlying research (rationale, aims, objectives)
  • demonstrate the original contribution to knowledge
  • how you will integrate and synthesize your portfolio of publications through the required commentary

Plan of work and time schedule

You should include a time schedule for the completion of the commentary, and for any accompanying researcher development/training and other doctoral research engagement, noting that you have a maximum of two years to complete your PhD.


You should include:

  • a list of references to key articles and texts relating to your research topic, and discussed within your publications

How to apply

For further information on applying to a PhD at the University of Westminster, read our step-by-step guide:

How to apply for a research degree