Starting uni post before submitting thesis


I am due to submit my thesis December 2012. I applied for a (temporary) lecturer position in my field that is due to start this semester, not expecting to get it as obviously I still have one and a half chapters to finish my humanities thesis (say about 30,000 words to write), but mainly just to get my name out there in terms of networking etc. However, after talking informally with the head of department, there is the suggestion that they would like me to join them starting late Sept 2012 (before officially getting the Phd).

Has anyone had any experience with this? Is it even possible?

Here are the issues as I see them:

- Obviously this has implications in terms of the thesis. I could try and finish it ahead of schedule and submit ASAP. This might affect the quality of the thesis but one way of looking at it is that the thesis is a stage toward the working world, not the be all and end all.
- As a knock on, this possibly could affect the publication of the thesis as there has been strong interest from publishing house to publish it.
- Also this situation would obviously affect the security of my teaching/working position. I guess I would be employed initially as something similar to a teaching assistant (the post is not in the UK but in Europe so not sure of the equivalent) with expected fixed 2 year position as temp lecturer after officially getting the PhD.
- But again its possible that I'm just being used as someone to fill the time with no guarantees on their part to officially 'contract me' as such.
- Finally is this even possible?! Has anyone heard of it as (non)standard practice?

I know Keenbean was in a similar position last summer but wondering if anyone else has any thoughts.

Thanks guys.


Hey! I don't know of anyone who has gone on to a lectureship/teaching post before finishing their PhD (all my pals have stayed in research), but I do have several friends who started a practitioner doctorate (clinical psychology) before they had submitted their PhD, and my old office-mate started a post-doc position before finishing her thesis. All of them found it very hard work to complete the thesis with another full time job, but were ultimately glad they had taken the pportunity. Do you want to do lecturing after your PhD anyway? If so, I would be tempted to take it. With respect to the PhD being published I would be careful what you accept. I had quite a few people trying to publish my thesis as a whole, but I was warned that it was much better to publish the chapters in peer-reviewed journals. Having said that, I'm in science and I think it's more important in science than humanities to publish in journals. I did have an interview last year for a fellowship several months before I submitted- I didn't get it as it went to someone with a post-doc under their belt, but they said the fact that I hadn't submitted wasn't a barrier. Finally, I got my current post-doc just a few days before my viva, so that wasn't really a problem. If it's an opportunity that you would consider looking at if you had already finished your thesis then I would go for it- you don't know whatt might be available in a few months' time! Best, KB