Guide on How to Publish a Dissertation & Dissertation Sections

After your doctorate holders are often encouraged by advisors and mentors to publish their dissertation. Of course, this is no small feat, seeing that a whole lot of work goes into turning your dissertation into a publishable journal article.

The processes that go into publishing dissertations are quite stressful and tedious. This article will act as a guide to show you how to publish a dissertation and the various publication options available to students.

Publication options

There are various publication options available for graduating doctorate students to explore. However, dissertation publishers strongly advise students to publicize their dissertations using one of three options. Below are these options:

  • Commercial services

Commercial publishing services such as ProQuest enable students to publish their dissertation either publicly or with restrictions. Seeing that this option is not academically recognized, students are often informed of the risks involved. One such risk is prior publication before submission. This often diminishes your credibility and may result in the rejection of your work.

  • Books

Publishing your dissertation as a book is a common practice amongst students. This is often suggested when there is a large percentage of your work in the dissertation.

The factors to consider when turning your dissertation into a thesis include the purpose of the book and its objective; a title; the significance of your proposed book; your competition; the parts of the dissertation; the content index; an overview; a summary of each chapter; a deadline; and a description of your readers in mind.

There are seven successful steps to publishing your dissertation as a book. These steps include, but are not limited to establishing a target audience; defining the structure of your book; identifying publishers; planning a schedule; following a writing style; including visual aids, and reviewing your draft.

  • Journals

This is considered to be the most common publication option for PhD students. Publicizing your work in a journal has many benefits, some of which include: getting the review of your peers with free editorials, and making multiple publications.

Since this is the most common form of publication, it will be the major focus of this article.

How to publish a dissertation in a journal

One of the first things to know when converting dissertations to journal articles is the different characteristics of a journal and a dissertation. Keep in mind that not all dissertation sections appear in a journal.

The different characteristics will be briefly highlighted below:

Features of a dissertation

  • Fulfilling specific academic requirements
  • Committee review
  • Chapters
  • There is no word limit
  • Table of content Extensive research literature
  • Approval details by the Institutional Review Board (IRB)
  • Citation
  • Varying verb tenses 

Features of a journal

  • Sections rather than chapters
  • Word count is limited
  • Blind/peer review
  • The format in the manuscript
  • A brief and clear description of the research literature
  • IRB’s approval description in three sentences max
  • Similar verb tenses 

Tips for converting your dissertation into a journal

Below are some interesting tips and guides to converting your dissertation into a journal article.

  1. Choose a journal

There are different types of academic journals. These types range from peer-reviewed journals, to open access journals and non-open access journals.

Peer review journals are those which have professional editors. The role of these editors is to identify and remove low-quality content that threatens to damage the integrity of the journal. Open access journals enable your publication to be easily available to everyone. Non-open access journals are restricted; readers must pay a subscription to access them. 

  1. Reduce the length of your dissertation

When converting your dissertation to a journal, you must shorten its length. You could find a way to paraphrase without changing the context of your work. You should also repurpose your dissertation.

  1. Change your opening statement

Your introduction should be shortened to about one hundred to one hundred fifty words. If your introduction contains multiple hypotheses, you might want to restructure it in such a way that it focuses on just one for the journal. 

  1. Limit your references

Include only references that are relevant and recent, format them correctly, and use a reference manager. 


You could strongly consider self-publishing your dissertation. This allows you to directly profit from the distribution of your work.

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