Skip to main content

Management PhD

Most students complete this programme in 6 years part-time

This programme equips candidates with the skills to conduct and publish high-quality research, and to pursue careers in leading research-led universities.

Our leading academics undertake research that informs scholarship, education, policy and practice in business, management and society more broadly.

We are one of the UK’s leading research-intensive business schools. Our faculty members are actively engaged with the world’s wider research community. They regularly publish in leading journals in business, management and social sciences. The most recent UK Research Excellence Framework classed 87% of our research as world-leading or internationally excellent.

We have made a commitment to research that makes a positive difference to people’s lives. That is why we launched Research4Good. This campaign aims to communicate our research and the positive impact it has on society.

We welcome PhD scholars interested in developing professional scholarly research in any aspect of business and management.

The PhD programme aims to:

  • provide a framework within which you can conduct original scholarly research on aspect of management or business
  • facilitate your development as a fully trained and competent scholarly researcher, able to understand and use research techniques appropriate to your own and subject areas, and to be conversant with research methods used in other subject areas both within business, management and cognate social science disciplines

Learning occurs in several ways:

  • working with your supervisory team: through working with a minimum of two academic advisers you develop both your research skills and your research study
  • by undertaking taught research training courses provided through resources from our Doctoral College
  • through becoming part of the School of Management’s research culture by, for example, participating in research seminars and research centre activities.

With a strong foundation in research, alumni of the PhD programme in the School of Management have earned academic positions at the University of Alberta, University of Birmingham, University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, University of Edinburgh, University of Kent, University of Liverpool, Warwick Business School, University of the West England, among others. Other graduates went on to research careers in government and industry.

School of Management

Programme structure

Most students complete this programme in 6 years. You cannot take less than 3 years to finish your research and the maximum time you are allowed is normally 6 years.

You will start this programme in September.

Occasionally we make changes to our programmes in response to, for example, feedback from students, developments in research and the field of studies, and the requirements of accrediting bodies. You will be advised of any significant changes to the advertised programme, in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.

Your academic progress and general welfare will be monitored by your supervisor.

Academic milestones

  1. Registration
  2. Induction
  3. Candidature
  4. Confirmation
  5. Research
  6. Writing up
  7. Give notice of intention to submit a thesis / portfolio
  8. Submission for examination
  9. Examination (Viva Voce)
  10. Examiners report
  11. Final submission of thesis / portfolio
  12. Graduation

Programme content


  • Doctoral skills workshop
  • Seminars
  • Supervisory team

Taught content

Our doctoral programme has two modes of study. The primary, default mode is the Integrated PhD programme that provides systematic taught research methods training. However, if you have already earned a postgraduate research degree with appropriate and equivalent training, and have successfully passed to a high enough standard, you may enter the traditional PhD mode. The modes are:

Integrated PhD

Where an initial taught research training phase lasting one year leads to a Masters in Research. This initial training year runs simultaneously with the development of an independent, supervised research project making an original and significant contribution to knowledge. Students usually take between 3-4 years full-time to complete.

Traditional PhD

An independent, supervised research project making an original and significant contribution to knowledge. Students usually take three, but sometimes, four years full-time to complete.

For both modes of study, during the first year of the programme all students complete a set of 7 – 10 taught units to ensure they are provided with a foundation of the research skills needed to complete their PhD during the remainder of the programme. The remaining time is devoted to the completion of the student’s bespoke research project.

The objective of the taught component is to develop the skills necessary to complete the proposed research project to the standard of professional academics and in a timely manner. Through this taught training the student builds strong foundational skills to address current management and business issues using recent conceptual developments, theory, and appropriate methodological tools.

Most students join the Integrated PhD programme and are required to take 10 units during the first year. The subjects covered across these units include:

  • principles & skills of management research
  • management research philosophy
  • qualitative and quantitative methods
  • research practicum
  • developing the research proposal

Upon successfully completing all these units, the student earns an MRes degree and proceeds to the PhD programme. Students in the traditional PhD programme take 7 of these training units and register for the PhD programme immediately.

All the taught units require at least one assessed piece of work, whether an exam or coursework.

Research content

The research component of the programme requires collaboration with your supervisors to explore a business/management problem or issue, generate knowledge in the area, write a thesis at a publishable standard, and defend the thesis to a board of examiners. In doing so, you will develop the inspiration and skills to launch a successful, independent scholarly research career.

Professional Development

Professional development is a crucial element of doctoral study, not only in supporting your research but also as part of your longer term career development. Our DoctoralSkills workshops and courses will help you build your skills and help you succeed in your doctorate.

Read more about professional development support


Assessment methods

  • Thesis

Assessment description

The award of the PhD follows the successful completion of the following tasks:

  • Oral exam – known as a ‘Viva voce’, this normally occurs at two stages. First, as part of the Confirmation process at the end of your first year of PhD study to transfer from MPhil to PhD status of study; and second as part of the final assessment of your PhD Thesis.
  • Thesis – this is your written research project.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

First or 2:1 honours degree (or international equivalent) in an appropriate subject, from a recognised university. Your background can be in any subject, not just business/management. In our PhD students, we look for:

  • intellectual ability
  • determination to become a professional business/management researcher
  • academic achievements
  • motivation to receive research training

There are two main routes to doctoral study, depending on your area of interest:

  • suggest the development of your own research project
  • choose to apply for a defined, academic-led project

If you decide to develop your own research project, you must first find an academic who would be interested in supervising you. You do not need to find a supervisor if you apply for a defined, academic-led project.

You can find a suitable supervisor on the research and staff pages of the School. You can also browse Pure, the University’s research portal, for profiles of individual academics as well as the research centres, institutes, and units to which they belong. Your proposed research area needs to be related to the academic's research interests.

Make contact and discuss your proposed research. At this point, you may be asked to prepare a proposal and submit other materials for consideration, and in addition be interviewed, before an offer is made.

Individual potential supervisors will specify what they want you to submit to them and you are advised to adhere to their requirements. While research proposal requirements will vary , typically these will include the following:

  • aim and objectives: what are the central aims and research questions that will guide your research?
  • rationale: contextualise your aims and objectives in a broader field of study, identifying the main concepts, theories and literature you are addressing
  • thesis, propositions, hypotheses
  • methods: explain how you are going to conduct your research; what information you would need, how you would collect it and how you are going to analyse it
  • timeline: provide a summary of what you are planning to do and when
  • bibliography: provide a bibliography of key publications related to your research question.

Alternatively, you may choose to apply for one of the defined research projects that are periodically developed and advertised on Find a PhD. Some of these projects may also require a proposal and the recommendations listed for student-led projects also apply.

English Language requirements

You will normally need one of the following:

  • IELTS: 7.0 overall with no less than 6.5 in all components
  • The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic): 69 with no less than 62 in any element
  • TOEFL IBT: 100 overall with a minimum 24 in all 4 components

You will need to get your English language qualification within 24 months prior to starting your course.

If you need to improve your English language skills before starting your studies, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course to reach the required level.


Two references are required. At least one of these should be an academic reference if you have been studying recently.

Fees and funding

Fees and funding information for Management PhD


Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on whether you are a Home or Overseas student.

Learn how we decide fee status

Tuition fees are liable to increase annually for all University of Bath students. If you aren't paying your fees in British pounds, you should also budget for possible fluctuations in your own currency.

Find out more about student fees

Extra costs

We do not anticipate extra costs associated with the programme. Students are responsible for funding their textbooks, printing, fieldwork, travel, accommodation, etc, unless the University or School formally states otherwise.

How to pay

Funding options

Find funding for Doctoral research

Payment options

You can pay your tuition fees by Direct Debit, debit card, credit card or bank transfer.

Paying your tuition fees

Application information

Applicant profile

To apply for either your own research proposal or a defined project, you must use the online application form. As noted above, key components of this application are the development of a research proposal, if requested, and the identification of a potential supervisor.

See our guide about how to apply for doctoral study

Selection process

When we receive your application, we may contact you for more information or proceed to the next step. If you meet the admission criteria, write an intriguing proposal (if required) and the identified supervisor has an interest in your area, you will be invited for an interview to talk about your proposal. Based on all the information available, your proposed supervisor will decide whether or not to offer you a place in the programme.

We aim to make decisions about applications within six weeks of receiving all necessary information/documentation from you. Without all necessary materials from you, decisions cannot be made. You can check the progress of your application by logging into the Doctoral College’s Doctoral Application Tracker. You will be sent Application Tracker login details after you submit your application.

Programme enquiries

Apply for this Programme

Apply Now

On this page