I am presently doing MSc (Information Technology) in India. I really like teaching and have a passion for it. Based on my Masters degree I will get a designation of Assistant professor (hope so I get it!), but to be a Professor we need a PhD degree, so I was thinking of doing a Phd (Computer Science) not right after the Masters but after some years of teaching experience. At present I don't have much knowledge about PhD (nearly zero).

I know we need to publish the thesis in PhD,but my question is do we have to publish books (about courses like Java, Operating System etc, since I am talking about IT/CS i gave these subjects) in PhD? This is because right now in my Masters I was thinking of publishing a book for a local course of Bachelors (BSc IT) in my region.

So if we need to publish certain number books in PhD, then I should wait for writing and publishing that local book till I join a PhD or should I start writing and publish it right in my Masters and this published book will be considered in my PhD?

  • Since your field is Computer Science, I would say publishing one article in top journal or a conference will be better than writing regular java book.
    – seteropere
    Nov 25, 2012 at 5:42
  • At least in the UK a Professor is someone that LEADS a large research team. Has India downgrades professors to the same meaningless level they have in the USA?
    – Ian
    Aug 7, 2014 at 14:47

4 Answers 4


A PhD should be based on an original contribution to knowledge. This is generally published at research conferences and in journals.

Material, such as a book, treating topics that already are well-known generally do not contribute to the PhD dissertation. The only exception is if you were to write an excellent synthesis of a field, then that could be included as a part of your PhD dissertation, as such a thing would be an original contribution to knowledge.

Writing a book may actually hinder your progress to obtaining a PhD, because it too will take a lot of time. That said, I do not wish to encourage you on this issue. But there are already plenty of books about Java and Operating Systems, and I questions the value of writing more.

  • @Dave-- Yes you are correct that there are many books on subjects like Java but what i am trying to publish is not a reference book, which is to be used by everyone. I was just thinking of publishing a book which is as per the syllabus of my University i.e. neither a country-level nor a state-level book, a book which is as per my University in my city--A local region book. Nov 24, 2012 at 16:46
  • @Dave-- What i am trying to ask is that a PhD student is not required to publish any books but only required to work in his/her research area and publish the dissertation, is that true ? Nov 24, 2012 at 16:49
  • It is correct that you are not required to publish any books. You need to work in some research area, publish original research, and write a dissertation about the work. Nov 24, 2012 at 17:50
  • A regional book about Java is probably useful, especially considering the price of textbooks. Nov 24, 2012 at 17:52

No. Absolutely not.

Do not even start writing a book until you have tenure, unless publishing a book is a requirement for tenure (which would be very strange for computer science). Writing books well is extremely hard; it requires significant time away from your research (which you need to finish your PhD, get a job, and get tenure), teaching, paper-writing, professional networking, job-hunting, proposal writing, and advising. And writing books badly can only hurt you.

  • 2
    +1 I would devote the time you would spend on the book on writing some journal articles. Those will help you get tenure, a book not. Nov 24, 2012 at 22:55
  • 2
    I have a friend who co-authored a book with his PhD adviser while he was still a PhD student. He found it to be quite an enriching and worthwhile experience. However, in his case, the book was based on their research (published papers), he was in the humanities, and his adviser was also in it.
    – Legendre
    Dec 1, 2012 at 21:11

Regardless of when the book is published, if the book is relevant to your doctoral studies and displays a high level of scientific skill, then it is certain it will influence positively the opinion of your eventual PhD defence committee.

But a course book is not a thesis. You will still need to write a separate thesis

Also, the chances that your doctoral research topic will be related to the topic of your book are small.

  • Yes most probably the 2 topics(thesis and book) will be different. So that means in PhD, no one is going to ask "How many books you have published or will be publishing during one's PhD course or period ?" In PhD we are concerned about working and publishing our thesis i.e. our research topic only, am i correct ? Nov 24, 2012 at 15:26
  • Yes, this is indeed the case. On the other hand, you should also consider that writing a book will be a good exercise that will make writing your thesis and academic articles easier in the long term. It is thus an investment that may increase the throughput and quality of your PhD research. So even if it does not "count" directly in the eyes of a committee you may largely benefit indirectly from it.
    – kena
    Nov 24, 2012 at 22:24
  • @Kena----Though your opinions are different then JeffE and Dave but they are always good for a noob like me........Thanks. Nov 25, 2012 at 3:55

The magazine "The Scientist" has recently published an article about writing scientific books: - http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/32654/title/So-You-Want-to-Write-a-Book-/

I recommend you to read it. It says that writing books requires a lot of time and involvement, and that it is better to wait until you have tenure. I think that the suggestion makes sense.


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