phd in management uk

Birmingham Business School placed 17 out of 101 business schools in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, according to the Association of Business Schools. 68 percent of our research activity was judged to be ‘world-leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*) according to the national REF results. This ranking puts us ahead of Aston, Cranfield, Edinburgh, Oxford and a range of other UK Schools.

The PhD programme in Management will facilitate the creation and interpretation of new knowledge by the research student, demonstrated through the thesis. The taught component is designed to ensure that doctoral researchers understand the breath of techniques used in modern social science research.

Doctoral researchers will be capable of analysing a range of data using a range of qualitative and quantitative techniques. They will be able to explain theories underlying different approaches to social science research. Doctoral researchers are expected to participate to the fullest possible extent in the life of the Business School. This means attending seminars organised by the Business School thereby helping expose doctoral researchers to new ideas emanating from outside their own area of specialisation. It also requires actively participating in PhD workshops and conferences organised by the Business School and Graduate School as well as institutions outside the University of Birmingham.

Ultimately all doctoral researchers will have the ability to characterise and solve business and management problems using advanced research tools. They should be able to derive policy implications from their research and communicate these to policy makers, practitioners and other academics in a manner which is comprehensible. They will also be able to peer review others’ research and offer constructive criticism; and to extend the frontiers of the discipline through their own innovative research.

Doctoral researchers may choose to become academics, work in Government, businesses, supranational organisations or in the research arms of major financial institutions. They are expected to achieve a substantial understanding of contemporaneous management and business issues enabling them to take a lead in ongoing debates within society. They will be aware of and understand the function of related institutions at both a national and international level.

Fees

Standard fees apply.
Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

The Business School and the University provide some scholarships and bursaries for postgraduate research students.For details of these, please contact the Business School’s Research Office at [email protected].

For further information contact the School directly or email [email protected].


We can confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who intend to start their studies in 2018 or 2019 will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time (may be subject to annual increases for inflation) for the duration of their course. The Postgraduate Masters or Doctoral loan will also be available to eligible EU students for the duration of their course. Visit our EU Referendum information page for more information.

How To Apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Research profile

Research activities within the Business School at Brunel cover a wide-ranging and diverse field of topics from accounting, through HR, to strategy. Academic staff involved within these programmes investigate corporate governance and social responsibility, employment relations, information systems, corporate brands, marketplace cultures, international business and entrepreneurship and much more. Our research drives forward global business and societal transformation and is applied to many areas, such as NASA’s mission to Mars, humanitarian relief in Iran, biobank network across Europe, British Monarchy brand in the UK, to innovating the public sector in Saudi Arabia. 

Find out about the exciting research we do in this area. Browse profiles of our experts, discover the research groups and their inspirational research activities you too could be part of. We’ve also made available extensive reading materials published by our academics and PhD students.  

Learn more about research in this area.

PhD Community in the Business School

Research students are welcomed to Brunel as valued members of our thriving, research-intensive community. A research degree provides the opportunity to investigate a topic in-depth and contribute new knowledge to your discipline. Here at BBS, we have five key subject areas:

  • Marketing and Corporate Brand Management
  • Organisation and Human Resource Management
  • International Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Operations and Information Systems Management
  • Accounting and Auditing  

We are one of the largest PhD student cohorts in the UK. We have approximately 160 students based in the UK and around 25 based in Bahrain. Our student cohort is culturally diverse, with students from 34 different countries.  The male to female ratio is at 47% to 53%. We have 4 self-elected student reps and they discuss PhD students’ comments and issues with the PGR director regularly. There are dedicated, high spec PhD areas in the Business School with all the equipment you need for your studies. 

Message from the PGR Director

“The Business School community of doctoral students is going from strength to strength. We work closely with our PhD candidates and supervisors to ensure that our PhD students get exceptional experience and achieve excellence in their research. We particularly welcome students who have a solid academic background in relevant subject fields, evidenced by their past grade performance.” 

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You can explore our campus and facilities for yourself by taking our virtual tour.Back to top

Find a supervisor

Our researchers create knowledge and advance understanding, and equip versatile doctoral researchers with the confidence to apply what they have learnt for the benefit of society. Find out more about working with the Supervisory Team.

You are welcome to approach your potential supervisor directly to discuss your research interests. Search for expert supervisors for your chosen field of research.Back to top

Research journey

This course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in January. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in October. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in April.

A PhD involves demonstrating through original research or other advanced scholarship the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge at the forefront of an academic discipline or professional practice, the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the general of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline. Research degrees evolve in different ways according to discipline. Find out about what progress might look like at each stage of study here: Research degree progress structure.

PhD topics

While we welcome applications from student with a clear direction for their research, we can also provide you with some ideas. Search for PhD topics for your chosen field of research.Back to top

Research support

Excellent research support and training

The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme.

Find our more: Study environment for research students

Library services

Brunel’s Library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 ebooks, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs.

The Library services boast:

  • state-of-the-art research information management tools including a research
  • publication and grant database
  • one of the largest UK’s full text repository
  • an integrated data management system
  • analytical tools such as Altmertic and InCites
  • Open Access centrally managed fund

Find out more: Brunel Library

BBS PhD Developmental Programme

This opportunity focuses on training students to become future HE teachers/lectures. The students are paired with their academic mentor and join them as a supporting tutor for a number of seminars over one term. Students undertake workshops about facilitating learning and teaching in higher education before and after acting as a support tutor. Students submit a 500-word reflective report and receive verbal feedback from their mentors. On completion, students are awarded a certificate and the hours count towards their Brunel Volunteer contribution.       

Business Life Programme 

Business Life, a programme of professional training and development events, is available to all students in the Business School and has been developed and delivered in association with professional institutes, leading employers from industry, alumni and the public sector. Back to top

Careers and your future

Paid work available to research studentsUndertaking teaching and learning support duties represents an important professional and career development opportunity for postgraduate research students. Brunel offers two levels of paid work available to Postgraduate Research students. The first level post is as a Demonstrator and the second level post is as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA). Teaching and learning support duties will vary between Departments and research students should not rely on such opportunities being available. Find out more here.Back to top

UK entry requirements

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree. All international students must show evidence that they meet the English requirement for their course of study. The Senate reserves the right to assess the eligibility of applicants on an individual basis.

Potential research students are encouraged to contact members of staff in the area of interest to receive guidance on how to focus the research proposal. Learn how to prepare a research proposal here.  Back to top

EU and International entry requirements

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If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)
  • TOEFL: 100 (min 20)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason. We offer our own BrunELT English test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options through our Brunel Language Centre.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants. This information is for guidance only and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Entry requirements are subject to review, and may change.Back to top

Fees and funding

2020/21

International

£19,280 full-time

£9,640 part-time

UK / EU

£4,407 full-time

£2,203 part-time

Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase.

Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU students and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.