I'm a young (early 20s) adjunct professor teaching part-time at a private college in the United States - I was very lucky to get my adjunct position!

My full-time job is doing consulting and contract work in business and analytics. My undergraduate degree was in Business Administration, my master's degree in Business Analytics, and I'm considering pursuing a PhD or professional doctorate in the next few years.

I was curious about opportunities to do research and how it works as an adjunct/professional/indepdendent researcher. I'm mostly interested in business-related research with a STEM focus. Can I do research independently with my credentials? Where would I be able to publish? Could I publish a research report if it's not feasible to publish to a journal? If I'm not actively pursuing a PhD or wanting to do research through the college I teach at (adjuncts at my college don't do much besides show up to teach and support students), am I able to pursue research independently?

  • Related: Is it possible to submit a paper to a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal without a PhD and get it accepted?. The potential remaining question is whether your status as adjunct faculty confers any benefits or obligations (specifics will vary widely of course).
    – cag51
    Commented Feb 7 at 9:27
  • I would look for profs who do similar research at your college, and talk to a few of them to see if there is overlapping interest. Then look for opportunities to collaborate on a small project, then build off of that. Being physically at the college/having the college email will increase the probability of responses.
    – Justas
    Commented Feb 7 at 12:19

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can do independent research and submit to journals. Your work will be judged on its merits at any reputable journal. You might even be able to get some support from your university for this and involve students, but that is a decision to be made by them.

It might be difficult to meet the standards of a journal if you don't have a research oriented degree. But if you've read enough in your field to know the sorts of things that get published and how they are developed and written then you have a chance.

I know people who are employed in major corporations and who do adjunct teaching because they like it and it gives them an opportunity to interact with faculty. Not every adjunct is like that, but some are, especially if their "day job" is research at the corporation.

Have a chat with department heads and deans to see what sort of support they might offer, but you can work independently in any case. Journals (reputable ones) are about the "what", not the "who". Produce something interesting and novel that extends the state of the art and you have a shot at publishing it. It isn't easy, but it is possible.


The short answer is yes. The long answer is that it depends.

Most research projects require physical space (a lab, interview room, office space to store books), money (internal or external grants), access to resources (computing power, ability to borrow unlimited books for extended periods), help (undergrad/grad students) or permission from the university. All of these things depend on the university and/or department policy. For example, at most universities only "permanent" (ie tenure or tenure-track) faculty can apply for internal funds or act as a PI in external funding applications. Most universities allow adjuncts to do research projects with undergrad/grad student assistance, but will not allow you to give these students academic credit, which will limit your recruiting. Most universities also not do provide any office space, let alone lab space for adjuncts. But they might provide something similar, e.g. a desk at the library, even one with a locking door. The university library system might give you faculty borrowing privileges (ie full year, unlimited) or treat you like an undergrad. If your research deals with humans (even just interviewing students), you might require permission from a human subject review board, and as an adjunct you might not be able to submit proposal to them to start with.

As I hope you see, it all comes down to the specific details of the resources you need.

If you do not require any resources from the university, then you are free to do whatever you want with your time.

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