PhD by Published Works

1st in the world for Development Studies (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020) – the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) transforms the knowledge, action and leadership needed for more equitable and sustainable development globally, through our world-class research, learning and teaching.

Our PhD by Published Works is designed for researchers with an existing portfolio of published work who haven’t had the chance yet to get a doctorate.

The portfolio of research you submit for this PhD will be of the same standard as a typical PhD, which means the work makes a significant contribution to knowledge in a particular field. The work can take the form of refereed articles, chapters, monographs and scholarly editions, as long as they are available or traceable in the public domain. You’ll work with a qualified supervisor to compose an accompanying 10,000-word essay, summarising and explaining your work’s contribution to the field.

We’re proud of our PhD graduates who define and solve some of the world’s most pressing global challenges in their work as:

  • ministers in national governments and civil servants
  • high-level officials in development organisations such as UNDP and the World Bank
  • leaders of civil-society organisations including Mama Cash and Action Aid
  • high-profile academics at universities across the world.

“Studying at IDS can potentially transform your view of the world – you grow a lot learning from this very rich and diverse community.”
Jorge Adrian-Ortiz-Moreno, IDS PhD graduate

Areas of Study

We welcome submissions from researchers who share our commitment to:

  • upholding climate and environmental justice
  • reducing extreme inequities
  • fostering healthy and fulfilling lives
  • nurturing inclusive, democratic and accountable societies.

We’re particularly interested in work that shows originality in addressing topics related to the work of our research clusters:

  • business
  • cities
  • digital
  • governance
  • health
  • impact and policy
  • participation
  • power
  • resource politics
  • rural futures.

Entry requirements

You’re normally expected to have a Merit (an average of 60% overall) in a Master’s degree. Your qualification should be in a relevant social sciences subject. In exceptional circumstances, you may be considered for the degree if you have a qualification in a different subject area. You must also show evidence of substantial professional work experience and a body of published work in development-related work.

English language requirements

Students must be proficient in English. The minimum requirement is, for example, an IELTS grade of 7.0 overall and no less than 6.5 in each section of the IELTS test. For detailed information on English language requirements for international students please see the University of Sussex website.

Admissions information for applicants

You must provide:

  • a list of published works to be submitted
  • a supporting document of two to three pages explaining why the published works should be considered for this PhD award
  • a signed declaration that the published works have not been, and will not be, submitted, as part of any other degree.

Contact us to discuss your PhD by Published Works application by email: [email protected]

How to apply

Apply via the University of Sussex online application. When completing the application form, please identify IDS on the application; the code for this is L1605R.

Distance learning

IDS is unable to accept applications for distance learning. We believe it’s in the best interests of both PhD students and the Institute that the majority of the study period is spent at IDS. This offers the opportunity for ongoing interaction with other IDS members and students.

Finding a supervisor

You aren’t responsible for finding a supervisor. However, you may express a preferred supervisor on your application form. Applicants are assessed both on their academic credentials and on the relevance of their works to the research of one or more IDS Fellows.

Fees and funding

Fees for self-funding students

Fees for the academic year 2021/22 are not yet set. Last year fees were: UK/EU students: £4,407 per year for full-time students. Channel Islands and Isle of Man students: £4,407 per year for full-time students. International students: £18,500 per year for full-time students

Home and EU PhD student fees are set at the level recommended by United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) annually, rising in line with inflation. Overseas fees are subject to an annual increase – see details on our tuition fees page

Additional costs

Please note, all costs are best estimates based on current market values. Costs are paid at the start of your course unless specified otherwise. We review estimates every year and they may vary with inflation. Find out tips for budgeting as a student here.

Empirical research costs

On top of your PhD fees and living costs, you may also need to cover some research and training costs, relevant to your research project. These costs will depend on your research topic and training needs, but may include:

– travel (to archives, collections or scientific facilities)
– a laptop
– overseas fieldwork costs (travel and accommodation, and language training)
– conference costs (travel, registration fees and accommodation)
– laboratory consumables and workshop materials
– participant costs
– transcription or translation costs
– open-access publication costs.

If you have a scholarship from one of the UK Research Councils, your scholarship will cover these types of costs. You’ll receive details of how to claim this additional funding.

If you’re self funded, or if your scholarship doesn’t cover these costs, check with the Research and Enterprise Co-ordinator in your School for details of School or Doctoral School funding that may be available.

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex

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