My situation is as follows. I used to be enrolled at a British university in a social sciences PhD programme. This was a decade ago. For various personal and professional reasons, I did not manage to complete the programme and eventually dropped out/was ex-matriculated. I however continued working and publishing in academia, on individual research papers, but also on my thesis.

The thesis is now almost completed. I was hence wondering whether there are still universities in Europe, where one can enroll, pay tuition and within a fairly short amount of time (e.g. two semesters) submit a full PhD-thesis without having to do a "classic" three year doctoral programme? There is also the possibility of a cumulative thesis submission in Austria and Germany, that I am aware of, however, I would prefer to submit the thesis as a whole.

I would appreciate any suggestions.

  • Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer.
    – Community Bot
    Nov 15 '21 at 14:51
  • 4
    Have you approached your original university, and perhaps your advisor, for help with this? Some places might be willing, if rules permit, to make some accommodations.
    – Buffy
    Nov 15 '21 at 15:49

I've seen the votes to close, but I think that there is a simple answer, that should be given: Yes, at a German university there is no need at all to attend a PhD program. However, you need a supervisor and the necessary qualification (a master's degree in the respective field). You do not even need to be enrolled at the university. Finding a supervisor will probably be difficult, as you really need to find somebody who is willing to do the work (even if your thesis is almost finished, the supervisor might want to read the thesis first before they are willing to act as formal supervisor).

That said: It basically never happens that somebody submits a PhD thesis at a German university without having collaborated with some faculty member there. So while this technically answers your question, it may not solve your problem.

  • If I read the rules in Germany correctly, a doctorate can be given for a previous "body of work" not a dissertation. Not exactly a "stapled" dissertation, but to recognize an already accomplished researcher. I don't have a reference handy. Sorry.
    – Buffy
    Nov 15 '21 at 19:43
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    Your answer is correct (+1), but I would like to emphasize the last paragraph. Most supervisors actually want to supervise their PhD candidates in one way or another. You would have to be very convincing to be successful. PS: I hope my edit is correct, feel free to roll back if appropriate. Nov 15 '21 at 21:59
  • @Snijderfrey Thanks for the edit! Good catch!
    – Dirk
    Nov 16 '21 at 9:33
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    @Buffy This varies from place to place. Some places may allow a "stapled thesis" as a dissertation, other don't.
    – Dirk
    Nov 16 '21 at 9:37

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