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Following on from What is a "Sandwich thesis"? , is there an easy way to find out which departments at which universities will allow a sandwich thesis (aka a stapler thesis, portfolio thesis, three-paper thesis, thesis by portfolio of publications, thesis by publication, article thesis or compilation thesis)?

That is to say, universities that explicitly allow PhDs theses that consist of a collection of published or in-press articles, possibly topped and tailed by an introduction and summary? It is, to my knowledge, quite rare in the UK - does it perhaps tend to be a country-specific thing?

I accept that it will depend on the supervisor's approval too, but that's a secondary issue: the supervisor can't allow a stapler thesis if the university/department does not. My question is about identifying eligible departments.

1 Answer 1

I don't think there is an easy way to determine this. I don't think it is often set out in the University regulations. For example, where I did my PhD different departments would have different approaches and within each department different supervisors would have different approaches (that fits to what the department 'allows'). Moreover, by 'approach', I do not mean anything written down. Rather, there were/are unwritten, sometimes spoken, conventions.

You could infer these by looking at what theses have been written at the university, in each department under specific supervisors. N.b., if you have more than one supervisor, the power-relation may determine who's conventions are followed.

All of this is a lot of work. I would like to address what I imagine your original intention is - will I be made to do extra work that could be detrimental to my academic career (by reducing publications, for example)? If this is your motivation, perhaps a more effective tool is to simply see for each potential supervisor where their students ended up afterwards. You would not be able to infer what type of thesis must be written from this, but you would be able to get the bigger picture.