I am in 3rd year of PhD and I was suppose to graduate after 1 year, but suddenly due to some unknown reason my adviser gave me 2 months to write my PhD dissertation. He said I have published 7 SCI journals (as a first author) and what I need to do is just compile all articles into single document.
I know it is common to publish article based on PhD dissertation. Is it also common to compile a PhD thesis based on published SCI journal Articles?
More tricky part is that out of 7 only 2 articles are written on same topic rest of work is totally different. But he insist I can create a link between all articles, which in my opinion doesn't make any sense. It something like saying apple and orange are same fruit.
Let say I have no other option except compile my dissertation within 2 months. Is it possible that the PhD dissertation chapters may cover unrelated topics? Let say one part is related to Operating System and other part is related to Future Internet?

  • 2
    So-called "stapler theses" are quite common. Surely the articles are not that different, as you worked on all of them. You need to think of some unifying theme to join them together, even if it is a bit forced. And, you don't need to include all 7 papers if that makes it easier to join them.
    – Thomas
    May 23, 2017 at 5:55
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    A PhD merely shows that you are qualified to conduct research. So, finishing it quickly has advantages. E.g., promotion. Ask your supervisor if there's any reason to finish early. Perhaps he has an agenda that's mutually beneficial (e.g., promotion).
    – user2768
    May 23, 2017 at 12:45
  • And, the 'stapler thesis' is a real thing - I have several from various colleagues on my shelf. They really are reprints from journal articles stapled between two cover sheets with the thesis title on the front. They all seem to be Scandinavian in origin, so your mileage may vary.
    – Jon Custer
    May 23, 2017 at 13:02
  • Thank you all for the comments and answer. Seems like there is no particular agenda and I feel maybe it's a kind of funding issue. I am trying to take it positively but feel uncomfortable to see I have a week PhD dissertation. I had some ideas plans for my dissertations which now I might publish in Journal in coming future.
    – Mohaqiq
    May 24, 2017 at 0:52

1 Answer 1


First of all, writing a PhD dissertation in 2 months is one hell of a task. You should probably talk to your supervisor about more time.

I believe it is not uncommon, as Thomas stated in the comments, that people assemble a PhD disseration from the publications they had during their time. Many people work of different topics at the same time, but usually there is something that combines them. The title of your dissertation can be very vague and cover a wide topic. In your dissertation you can split it into different chapters of sections according to your covered topics. Of course, it is good if you find a common thread and can build upon that. Even if you don't, I still think it is okay. After all, that seems to be what your supervisor wants.

If you are really unsure, there is no way around talking to your supervisor about it. Ask for his expectations and tell him about your plans. Then, you will be able to meet somewhere in the middle.

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