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Do I need a PhD to publish a book?

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I currently have a Master's degree in the sciences from a top tier University and have published a handful of papers, but I'm unsure if I want to go through with a PhD. I used to want to end up in academia doing research and teaching, but I'm not as passionate about research and teaching as of late. However, I have a strong desire to publish a book or two in topics closely related to the field I'm in. My fear is that I either won't be able to publish a book or won't be taken seriously if I publish a book with only my Master's and no PhD. I'm curious what everyone's thoughts are on how much of a leg up having a PhD would give one over a Master's in terms of publishing a book and being taken seriously. If I end up deciding for sure that I don't want to do research or teaching, would it be worth it to complete the PhD just for the sake of using it to publish a book? Or would this be a waste of time?

I know there's no magic formula to publishing a successful science book, but any advice or thoughts would be appreciated as I'm feeling very stuck right now.

Thanks much.


Edited by chawdeen38
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  • 7 months later...

A friend of mine recently wrote a scientific book and wanted to have it published by a major publisher. He eventually found one, but he was rejected by a few because he wasn't known in the field. They said he needed to write more journal/conference articles to make a name for himself before publishing a book.

Edited by Jagged
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You don't need a PhD to publish a book. Obviously it lends you some credibility if you do have a PhD in the field that you are writing about; but there are also many cases of great science related books that have been written by individuals who don't have a PhD. May I ask, what your area is?

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To sum up what others have said, no, you don't need a doctoral degree to get published.

However (and this is a big however), it depends on your field and your target audience. I doubt you'd be able to publish an academic with an academic press without a PhD (but your field may vary). If you want a book that might work in an UG class (not a textbook), I also doubt that might be possible because faculty tend to assign books written by fellow scholars (i.e. with a PhD) (if your topic is scholarly). 

So, yes, you can publish but be very clear about your goals. 

Also, avoid at all costs predator publishing houses. 

All the best of luck! 

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  • 5 months later...

No, you do not need a PhD in order to publish a scientific book. In some fields, you don't even need a PhD in order to teach; one of my best friends studied at the LSE and many of their professors didn't have a PhD (they did have industry knowledge and expertise).

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