Graduate Research School Policy & Procedure HDR PhD by Prior Publication Procedure

HDR PhD by Prior Publication Procedure

As at 18 December 2018 this Procedure is Under Review.  Applications for the PhD by Prior Publication will not be taken while the Procedure is being reviewed.

HDR PhD by Prior Publication Procedure


To enable a researcher associated with JCU to obtain formal public recognition of published unsupervised research outputs that represent an original contribution to knowledge equivalent to a PhD as judged by external examiners of international standing. The degree will conform to the Level 10 requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework. Domestic candidates will not be offered a place under the Research Training Scheme. Both domestic and international candidates   will be required to pay fees.


A candidate for this degree must be:

  1. a graduate of a Bachelor, Honours or Masters degree from James Cook University of not less than five years’ standing, or
  2. a graduate of another university, whose qualifications are deemed to be equivalent to those above and who satisfies the Panel, defined below, that he or she is justified in seeking the degree from James Cook University rather than from another university.  Such graduates will be expected to have had at least two years’ active involvement with scholarly research within this University.


Prior Publication means that all the publications included in the thesis have been published or accepted for publication prior to enrolment in the PhD degree.

Terms mentioned in this document and not defined here are defined in the Glossary of Terms for Policies in the Student and Teaching and Course Management chapters of the University Policy Library and in the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements.


1.    Evaluation of the Application

1.1  Application for candidature will normally be made in writing to the Dean, Graduate Research and will include particulars of the publications to be submitted for the degree.  Publications that include any work submitted for a degree to this or any other university must not be included.

1.2       The Dean, Graduate Research will appoint an Expert Panel:

a.         to review the application;

b.         to recommend whether the applicant should be allowed to proceed to candidature; and

c.         to oversee the external examination process.

1.3       The expert Panel will include at least two members of appropriate standing from the discipline or interdisciplinary field of the application and the Dean, Graduate Research (or nominee) as Chair.

1.4       In reviewing the application, the Panel shall recommend one of the following to the Research Education Sub-Committee:

a. that the applicant be allowed to proceed in accordance with the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements, plus any specific requirements outlined in this Procedure (which have priority where a disparity exists), and approve the subject of the work to be submitted; or

b.         that the applicant not be allowed to proceed, and the applicant be advised of the Panel’s decision by the Graduate Research School.

2.    The Thesis

2.1       The thesis must comply with the generic conditions of the HDR Thesis Format Guidelines and must contain:

a.         An independent and original general introduction to the aims and design of the candidate's research that incorporates an independent, up-to-date and original review of pertinent existing work in the field that is entirely the candidate's own work.  This introduction will contextualize the candidate's project and research question in relation to the present state of knowledge in the field and/or the relevant social, cultural or policy contexts.

b.         The publications submitted for the degree in a logical and cogent sequence leading to an argument that supports the main findings of the thesis.

c.         An independent and original general discussion that is entirely the candidate's own work and that integrates the most significant findings of the thesis and presents the needs and prospects for future research.

d.         A statement explaining that it is a thesis for a PhD by Prior Publication.

2.2       Where the research outputs have been jointly authored, the nature and extent of the candidate's work must be precisely identified for each output (for example, to the extent of identifying which figures or passages of text represent the original work of the candidate).  In addition, the nature and extent of the intellectual input by others to the work reported in the thesis (whether otherwise cited or not) must be clearly delineated and acknowledged in the Statement of Contribution by Others in the introduction material at the beginning of the Thesis in accordance with the HDR Thesis Format Guidelines.

3.    Examination

3.1      The thesis will be examined in accordance with the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements and the HDR Thesis Submission and Examination Procedure. The examiners will be advised that it is PhD by Prior Publication in a covering letter.

Approval Details

Policy sponsor:

Dean, Graduate Research

Approval authority:

Research Education Sub-Committee

Version no:


Date for next review:

2 years from date of approval (19.02.16)

Modification History

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date


2na25 January 2018Administrative update of links.


19 February 2014

15 December 2014

Fees approved at SFACAC 24 November 2014