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Awinita Citlali

Working on a mixed methods research, I had to find a consulting company that was capable of handling both my qualitative data and quantitative data. You will find no firm that’s as knowledgeable in both domains. My prospectus was almost instantly approved, and before I knew it, the AQR had granted approval on my PhD dissertation.

Lysette Olive

ARC worked with me for the entire process. They made sure that all my dissertation requirements were adhered to perfectly. I’ve heard that my school has very rigorous editing requirements, but ARC made this go very easy. Now I can go on with my life and use my Theology PhD degree for a good purpose. A truly wonderful experience!

Tyrrell Divina

When I was stuck on my dissertation, I was very unhappy with my chair and how hard he was to deal with. Solomon solved all my dissertation problems, and sometimes I felt like he was my chair! When I first reached out to ARC, the initial email feedbackI received was enough to make me confident that I will obtain my PhD successfully.

These guys at ARC really knowwhat they’re doing. If it weren’t for Approval, l’d still be working on my dissertation right now. I had no idea how to start research for my prospectus, and thať’s when Solomon from Approval came in to help. My chair immediately liked my research topic that ARC helped me choose, and the rest was history.

These guys are amazing! I found out about ARC while procrastinating on my coursework one night, and oh boy did they deliver! Not only did I pass all courses on my first try, they really expedited my doctoral research and dissertation writing progress to get me to the graduation stage in record time. Worth every penny!

Gytha Silver

Thank you ARC! Wonderful job helping this busy professional with juggling family and career obligations that were not allowing me to spend adequate time on my education. Approval Ready does all the work so it’s submitted on time and properly edited to address committee requests. They even prepared me for my defense! Highly recommend to say the least!

Ros Graysen

Props to the ARC folks for being my dissertation lifesaver! I had a lot of passion for my research, but I was struggling to find direction and my PhD program was very hard for me beginning my dissertation at an old age. The ARC team was a big part of the process, with all their research, writing, and APA editing help. They even gave me a little discount.

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  •       Resources       Publish or Perish: Graduate Students' Guide to Publishing

Publish or Perish: Graduate Students' Guide to Publishing

In addition to endless piles of reading, demanding expectations in the classroom, student teaching responsibilities, and the always-looming awareness that they need to research, write, and edit a high-quality dissertation before graduating, today’s Ph.D. students also commonly feel stress about another topic: publishing. As more prospective employers expect degree seekers to get their names in academic journals and conferences while still in school, many learners feel overwhelmed by the prospects of making the grade. The following guide answers some of their most pressing questions, provides guidance on the ins and outs of publishing while still in school, and offers expert advice from a professor who knows better than most what it takes to publish rather than perish.

Understanding Publishing in Graduate School

Getting published as a grad student can feel overwhelming at first, because there’s so much to learn about the process and expectations surrounding it. With a bit of research, however, students can familiarize themselves with the specific language surrounding publishing and make in-roads towards getting their first paper published.

What Does it Mean to Get Published?

Within the context of graduate school, publishing refers to getting essays, papers, and research findings published in one of the academic journals or related forms seen as a leader in the field. As jobs in academia continue to become more competitive, it isn’t enough for learners to simply do well in their coursework. The degree seeker who hopes to land an important post-doctoral fellowship or find a teaching position at a college or university must make themselves stand out in other ways.

When Should a Ph.D. Candidate Get Published?

Getting a paper published takes a lot of time and effort, and those students who wait until the final year or two of a doctoral program may fail to actually have any published materials by the time they graduate. According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Graduate Connections program , getting a paper published – especially if it’s your first – can take up to three years. In addition to the fact that most journals publish quarterly, the panel review process typically takes a significant amount of time and those submitting for the first or second time usually need to make a large number of edits and complete rewrites in order to reach a publishable standard.

How to Get Published

In order to get published, students submit their work to the journal or conference of their choosing. They frequently also provide a cover letter outlining their research interests. Most journals put out generic calls for submissions once or twice a year, while some may ask for papers addressing specific topics that have a much shorter turnaround time. Grad students may find it intimidating to go up against more seasoned academics, but another option revolves around partnering with their dissertation supervisor or another professor with whom they work closely with to co-author a paper. This not only helps ensure the validity of their findings, but alerts the academic world know that this other, more recognized faculty member believes in the research the student is doing.

Who Should Get Published?

Learners most anxious to get published are those who see their future careers in teaching and research. Because the world of academia is relatively small when divided into individual subjects, it’s important for students who want to break into these ambitious arenas to make a name for themselves early on and create a curriculum vitae that captures the attention of hiring committees.

Where Should Students Get Published?

When deciding which publications to pursue, students should consider the research aims of each and their likelihood of getting published. Newer journals tend to take more submissions as they are still working on building up their roster of contributors. While less venerated than other publications, getting printed in these can help build up name recognition and make it easier to break into the top-tier publications over time.

In terms of where work is published, the majority of students look to academic journals when sending out cover letters and examples of their work. But other options exist as well. Presenting papers at conferences is a popular avenue, as are chapters in books. The following sections takes a more in-depth look at how and where to publish.

Realities & Challenges of Getting Published

Getting published, especially while still in grad school, takes tenacity, focus, and a thick skin. Those who continue working on their craft, presenting at conferences, collaborating with others, and not taking no for an answer, however, frequently find success. Some of the challenges students may encounter include:

Lack of time

It’s no secret that doctoral students have busy schedules that seldom allow for outside – or sometimes, even related – interests to take up much of their days. Because publishing is not a degree requirement, carving out the time needed to research, write, and edit the type of paper required for publishing can feel impossible. With this in mind, student should look for ways to multitask. If presenting at a conference, think about how that paper could be transformed into a journal article.

Lack of confidence

Studies have shown that mental stress and illness frequently increase in grad school as students feel intense pressure to stand out from their peers. These feelings are often intensified when considering publishing, as learners are going up against academics and researchers who have been working in the field far longer than them. It’s important to remember that each of those renowned individuals had to start somewhere.

Lack of funding

Completing the research needed for a competitive paper doesn’t only take time – it requires money. Whether traveling to archives or printing all the necessary documentation, funding for outside research can be scarce while in school. Some programs provide competitive grants for research travel to help offset these costs.

Intense competition

As discussed earlier, competition for publishing is fierce. Academic journals and conferences only have space for so many authors and trying to get noticed can feel like a losing battle. In addition to seeking out newer publications and co-authoring with more notable figures, consider taking part in symposiums at the school you attend to get your foot in the door. While research on the average number of rejections is lacking, don’t feel discouraged if it takes a long time to be chosen for publication.

Finding the right publisher

While getting your name in print within an academic journal you greatly admire is the ultimate goal, it may take some years for it to come to fruition. One of the biggest mistakes students make is applying to ill-suited publications. Look for journals with editorial board members whose names you recognize. If a professor knows one of them, don’t be afraid to ask if they can help get your paper in front of them.

Adequately addressing feedback

Getting a paper published often requires intense editing and even completely restructuring and rewriting what you conceived in the initial abstract. If an academic journal shows interest in your essay but suggests rewrites, pay close attention to their requests and try to work with an advisor to ensure you meet all the stated requirements.

What do Graduate Students Publish?

Academic journals may receive the lion’s share of discussion in the publishing world, but graduate students can actually choose from numerous outlets and paths for getting their work to a larger audience. Students should review the options listed below and think about which format might showcase their work best.

Tips for Publishing

Despite the great amount of work required to publish, students who meet the challenges and persevere stand to position themselves favorably for future job opportunities. The following section addresses some of the most common questions about the process and alleviates general fears about how publishing (or not) reflects upon them.

How many papers should a Ph.D. student try to publish before graduating?

According to scholar-practitioner Dr. Deniece Dortch, no single answer exists. “There is no hard and fast rule as to the number of publications students should have prior to graduation,” she notes. “The reality is students in STEM disciplines and those who use quantitative methods are more likely to have publications prior to graduation because they often work in research teams and labs. This is not to say that qualitative scholars or those in other disciplines aren’t, but it’s a much more standardized practice in STEM for students to graduate with two or three publications. Personally, I had one sole-authored publication accepted prior to graduation, one first-authored piece, and one second-authored piece.”

How many journal articles is it possible to publish during a PhD?

“The answer varies and is determined by factors such as length of program, research team access, and faculty relationships,” says Dr. Dortch. “I’ve seen folks finish with as many as 10 publications, although this is extreme and doesn’t happen often.” She continues, “Imagine you are in a four-year program and you get your idea to write an article in year two. You submit that article in year three after getting approval, collecting data, analyzing it, and then writing your paper. Year three you submit that paper; it may be accepted in year four after months of revisions at the request of the editor. You finally have one published paper as you graduate.”

Are there PhD students who have no journal publications? Should they be worried about that?

“It depends on the type of employment the student is seeking upon graduation,” says Dr. Dortch, “Students applying to or wanting to work in institutions and organizations with the highest levels of research productivity who have no publications may want to consider post-doctoral positions so they have the time and space to work on increasing their publication record after graduation.” She continues, “Postdocs are a very common practice in many disciplines and are used as a way to gain additional training and expertise in research and teaching.”

Is it absolutely essential to have publications to apply for a PhD program?

In a word, no. Individuals working toward doctoral degrees have many reasons for doing so, not all of which require them to publish. Admissions panels also recognize that students focus their efforts on many different goals (e.g. jobs, internships, presenting at symposiums) throughout bachelor’s and master’s programs. As long as learners can demonstrate an ongoing commitment to scholarship, publishing is not an absolute requirement.

Does publish or perish begin before starting a PhD program?

It’s true that many students begin worrying about publishing before starting a Ph.D. program, but the reality is that they have ample time during and after completing a doctorate to make their mark on the world of scholarship. According to a recent article by Inside Higher Ed , some individuals in the academy now wonder if too much emphasis is being placed on grad students publishing. Learners unsure about this should speak to a trusted advisor or mentor to figure out when to focus on getting published.

What is the difference between a published article and a Ph.D. thesis?

While a Ph.D. thesis is required for satisfactory completion of a degree, a published article is not. A Ph.D. also takes a much longer form than a published article, averaging approximately 90,000 words. Academic journal entries, conversely, are usually between 4,000 and 7,000 words.

Should I first write my Ph.D. thesis or publish journal articles?

Though publishing at the doctoral level is increasingly seen as a requirement in the job market, it is not part of degree requirements. With this in mind, students should prioritize the research and writing of their thesis above all else. If they have the time and mental clarity needed to publish journal articles, this can be a secondary focus.

From the Expert

Dr. Deniece Dortch is a scholar-practitioner known for her commitment to diversity, social justice and activism. Dr. Dortch holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an Ed.M. in Higher & Postsecondary Education from Columbia University, an M.A. in Intercultural Service, Diversity Leadership & Management from the School for International Training and a B.A. in Spanish from Eastern Michigan University. Hailed a graduate school expert by NPR, she has published numerous articles on the experiences of historically underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students. She is the creator of the African American Doctoral Scholars Initiative at the University of Utah and currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Higher Education at The George Washington University .

Publishing as a student can feel intimidating. Why is this process important for learners to go through?

Long gone are the days of getting a good job by just having a solid dissertation or an award-winning thesis. Publishing your work while in school demonstrates a commitment to answering and understanding our world’s most complex problems. Further, institutions want to know that you have the capacity to publish. Now, publishing doesn’t mean you have to be first author or that you must publish sole-authored pieces only. Collaboration is also sufficient and often encouraged. The publishing process is intimidating for folks because it involves critique and, most often, rejection.

Receiving and giving critical feedback is part of the learning process and students should not shy away from it because it will only serve them well in the end as they learn to cope with disappointment and reward. But more importantly, there is no point spending months and years conducting research if you are just going to keep your findings to yourself. What you learn is meant to be shared.

What are some common mistakes these learners make when preparing their first papers?

Common mistakes that individuals make include not adhering to the guidelines outlined in the submission process. Examples of this can include ignoring formatting requirements (e.g. APA, MLA, etc.), going over the stated word count, inadequately proofreading, and not submitting a cover letter. This is probably the most important one.

What specific advice do you have for them in terms of finding the right outlet, preparing their work, and submitting to journals?

Students should have multiple individuals read over their work before submission. Writing is a process and even after it is submitted, it will need to be revised many more times before you will read it in print. It is part of the process. To find a good outlet for your work, pay attention to where other scholars are submitting their work. If you’re subject is aligned with theirs, you have a shot. Make a list of at least three outlets that fit your article. Also look out for special calls. A special call for submissions usually goes a lot faster than the regular submission process, so if you’re a student who is about to go on the job market, submit to those first. Also, the more competitive the academic, the longer the process, so keep that in mind. If you are rejected, just re-submit to the the next journal on your list.

In addition to publishing in journals, how else might a student go about getting recognition in their field while still in school?

Apply for all fellowships, grants, and awards that are specific to you and what you do. People in the academy love an award winner and they especially love people whose work has been recognized and/or funded by outside groups. A great way to increase a student’s visibility is to publish outside academic journals and publish in other media outlets. Also attend conferences in your field. Try to get on the program as a presenter or facilitator so that people in your field will start to know who you are and your research interests.


  1. PhD by Published Work: A Practical Guide for Success: Bloomsbury

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  2. How to Prepare a Scientific Doctoral Dissertation Based on Research

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  3. Well-Written PhD Research Proposal Sample

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  4. (PDF) Publish and be doctor-rated: The PhD by published work

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  5. ⛔ Doctorate paper. PhD doctorate. 2022-11-08

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  6. Phd Computer Science Research Proposal : Procedures for Student

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    Getting published as a grad student can feel overwhelming at first, because there’s so much to learn about the process and expectations surrounding it. With a bit of research, however, students can familiarize themselves with the specific language surrounding publishing and make in-roads towards getting their …