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After reading this question, I am curious as to the publication expectations for part-time students. I am a Mlitt Student (working full-time and studying part-time) and am in the process of switching from my (uncompleted) masters programme to a PhD programme. My own personal feeling is that if it is expected that a full time student publish before they get their PhD then the same should be applied for a part-time one. It may take me longer to do a PhD but should the same expectations to publish not be there?

As I'm in the process of changing to the PhD I'm not sure yet if there is a requirement to publish to gain it, which of course may make the decision anyway. I am aware as per the answers in the linked question that this can vary between different institutions and disciplines. I am in the Humanities.

I am mainly asking in the context that in my Mlitt it was expected that I write my research thesis and possibly present at a conference, but there appeared to be no real pressure to publish an article etc. If this is something that will change, I'll have to factor it into my work-plan.

Edit(additional info): When I originally posted this question I attempted to keep it a generic as possible so didn't include info from my own case. I think this example shows where there can be slight differences between what can be expected from a full-time and part-time student. In my university full-time students have to do a blended PhD(about 20% coursework, 80% Thesis) whereas due to working 9-5(or more) I'll be doing a traditional PhD of Thesis only (an option not allowed to full time students). Personally I don't think this should have major impact on expectations on students to publish but does highlight that as a part-time student I shall be getting(hopefully!) my PhD by way of a different process to full-time student so there may be different expectations.

The easy answer is 'Ask your supervisor' and I will but it would be great if someone was either a part-time PhD student or supervised one etc, could give some insight on if there is an expectation in academia that a part-time PhD student publish?

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    1. Why would you expect the expectations for part-time PhD students to be different from those for full-time PhD students? 2. Shouldn't you ask your advisor this question? They can advise you on the expectations that are appropriate for your field and institution. – D.W. Dec 18 '14 at 22:07
  • @D.W. 1. In my question I said I didn't think there should be a difference and 2. I did say I would ask my advisor but this is a question and answer site so I was asking for the community's insight on it. – gman Dec 18 '14 at 22:22
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The expectation to publish does not depend on whether you are full-time, half-time or spare-time student, it is based on the general expectations on students in your field, department, or academic culture, or some combination. If a PhD thesis is a monograph then the main focus will be to complete such a thesis. this commonly does not preclude publishing as well. If you need to write a thesis that consists of published papers and manuscripts then that is what you need to do.

I doubt the advisor is the key player here although that person will be representative of what you can expect from your graduate school education in terms of expectations on your writing. So check what is written in the form of PhD these and you will know. Communicating your results will inevitably be required so some form of written result will be on the horizon.

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    +1 This. It does not matter if you are "full-time, half-time or spare-time student". The PHD requirements are the same for all students in the same department – Alexandros Dec 18 '14 at 15:52
  • @Alexandros Didn't put this in the question as wanted to try and make it as generic as possible but in my university full-time students have to do a blended PhD(about 20% coursework, 80% Thesis) whereas due to working 9-5(or more) I'll be doing a traditional PhD of Thesis only (an option not allowed to full time students). Again I don't think this should have major impact on expectations on students but does highlight that there could be possible different requirements between a "full-time, half-time or spare-time student" – gman Dec 19 '14 at 12:06
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While it (usually) isn't a deal breaker to not publish, failure to do so will hurt you in one way or another.

During my defense last week, one of the committee members suggested that the work wasn't significant, and commented on lack of peer-reviewed publications. That didn't prove that the work wasn't significant, but having a journal publication in hand makes fielding a question about significance as easy as quoting from a review report, while having none means that you will have to provide justification in oral arguments.

(Context: part-time PhD in Electrical and Systems Engineering, now "all but deposit")

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    "While it (usually) isn't a deal breaker to not publish, failure to do so will hurt you in one way or another." I think the will is too strong. I agree that a lack of publication leaves the significance of your work entirely up to your advisor and committee members. I don't agree that a publication guarantees significance: it the committee's job to decide either way. In some fields, one simply doesn't attempt to publish one's thesis work until after the thesis is completed. I think this is especially true in the humanities: the thesis is the first draft of a book. – Pete L. Clark Dec 18 '14 at 19:28
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    Also in mathematics, whether and how much a candidate has published is rarely used as a criterion for evaluating the work. Things are changing a bit and pre-PhD publications of something are more common, but as a general rule the strongest math PhDs do not submit their thesis work while they are students. The way to get a top postdoc is not to have some respectable publications of partial results; it is to have the right person talk about the great work you are still doing. – Pete L. Clark Dec 18 '14 at 19:31

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