Should I publish a article before a Phd?


Hi Everyone,

I am a Biosciences student completing my MSc and looking to start a Phd after I complete my existing course.
When graduating from my BSc (Hons) I immediately started to apply for Phd's but regrettably was unsuccessful either due to someone with more experience including published work or having a masters... I therefore decided to complete my masters but I am concerned this is still not enough to secure a Phd position in my field and therefore wonder whether I need to try and publish an academic article (even in a student journal) to tick every box possible when applying?

My concern is that my masters is PT and I have roughly 25hrs pw to study, I appreciate producing a good piece of work worthy of publishing would take a considerable amount of time, but if it is absolutely necessary, then I would try my upmost to produce something.

What are your thoughts/experiences? Any comments would be hugely appreciated.

Thank you!

Avatar for rewt

You don't need to publish to a paper but it looks good. I would focus on your Masters and getting as much out of it as possible. Publishing a paper during your Master's requires a bit of good fortune to do it one year, so I wouldn't worry about not publishing.


Thank you rewt I appreciate your response.


Rewt is right, it can be a lot of work --- the peer view process can also take time. I would suggest submitting a poster representing your work to a good conference, but with COVID there's lots of disruption, some may still go ahead online.


Greetings LDEY20,

I have a few suggestions here. One, see if you can partner with a friend, colleague, or more experienced mentor to aid in publishing. Ask people if they know other folks who are publishing in your interest areas and reach out to them. My mentors and professors helped me to publish while I was pursuing my PhD, but not at the Master's level. Explore journals and review their calls for papers, and definitely try to attend conferences to build your network. Use your networks to expand your understanding and options. Publications DO matter in academia, quite a bit! Having them early in your career can be incredibly helpful. Good luck!


It definitely helps, but I feel it depends on the PhD you'll be applying for...
Also, it doesn't have to be separate to your MSc, you can write an amazing dissertation and submit that for publishing. Or if you have interesting data mid way through your degree that can amount to a publishable paper, you can submit that for publishing.
But definitely try and get guidance from a supervisor as it will make the process easier and more likely to get published.