Business PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Why choose this course?

Whether you are planning a career in academia or as a professional researcher, our Business PhD will enable you to develop your skills and knowledge and enhance your professional credibility. The thesis provides an opportunity to make a distinct and original contribution to knowledge in your chosen field.

Kingston Business School has joined an elite group of global institutions to be awarded the prestigious international accreditation by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). A hallmark of excellence in business education, the accreditation has been earned by just 5 per cent of the world's business schools.

Additional masters qualification

The distinct characteristic of the Kingston PhD is that you are able to gain a Business and Management MRes as part of your doctoral studies. The MRes is fully integrated within the PhD programme and is designed to provide a sound training in business research methods as well as a critical understanding of the conceptual and philosophical foundations of management research. 

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 4 years Scheduled weekday attendance year 1; weekday attendance in year 2 and onwards October 2022
Location Kingston Business School, Kingston Hill

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • At Kingston University you will have access to an expert academic supervisory team, as well as training and teaching opportunities to help you develop your ideas and achieve your goals.
  • You will have the support of the academic and postgraduate community; the high calibre of Kingston University's students and alumni provide excellent networking opportunities.
  • Your PhD supervision will be highly specialised to your needs and interests. In addition the course is delivered in a flexible format, so you can choose a full or part-time programme according to what suits you best.

Accreditations

Kingston Business School has been awarded the prestigious international accreditation by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). This accreditation has been earned by just five per cent of the world's business schools and recognises the high quality and standard of our business education.

Many courses are also accredited and recognised by professional bodies, including the Association of MBAs (AMBA), the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) EPAS, the Chartered Institute for Professional Development (CIPD), the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

What you will study

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1 (MRes)

Year 2 onwards (PhD)

Core modules

Philosophy and Traditions of Management Research

30 credits

The aim of the module is to provide an overview of the philosophical foundations of research in Business and Management (and Social Sciences more generally) and of the conceptual foundations of Business and Management research in Economics, Psychology and Sociology.

The module is assessed by two written assignments (weighted at 50% each)

Research Design and Data Collection

30 credits

Investigate different research techniques. You will learn how to:

  • evaluate different methods;
  • select the most appropriate for a specific research question;
  • develop research design plans; and
  • construct and test data collection methods.
Foundations of Data Analysis and Reporting

30 credits

Plan and execute data handling and analysis, understand the principles and techniques behind the analysis and link data to research questions and aims. You will:

  • look at both qualitative and quantitive data;
  • become proficient in the use of dedicated software tools and techniques; and
  • develop skills in writing up and reporting results.
Advanced Qualitative Research

30 credits

Develop an in-depth understanding of different types of advanced and specialised qualitative research techniques. This will include:

  • identifying the most appropriate context for their use;
  • assessing their strengths and weaknesses; and
  • understanding the principles behind them.
Advanced Quantitative Research

30 credits

Develop an in-depth understanding of different types of advanced and specialised quantitative research techniques. This will include:

  • identifying the most appropriate context for their use;
  • assessing their strengths and weaknesses; and
  • understanding the principles behind them.
Literature Review

30 credits

The module provides an opportunity to explore the literature relevant to your area of research in order to formulate and justify a research question. As such, the module involves you working with your supervisor on a one to one basis to identify and then critique and synthesise relevant streams of literature to provide a theoretical foundation for your doctoral research proposal. This module is delivered primarily through consultations with your supervisor, supported by workshops on identifying, reviewing and critiquing relevant literature.

Doctoral Research Design

30 credits

The module is designed to allow you to develop a research design to address a literature-informed research question (developed in the Literature Review module), and which will form the basis of your doctoral research. In the course of developing your research design, you will identify an appropriate research design and data collection methods to address the underpinning research questions and consider the operational issues in implementing the research design.

This module is delivered primarily through consultations with your supervisor, supported by workshops on selecting, presenting and defending a research design.

Core modules

Independent study supported by a team of at least two supervisors

credits

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

Candidates should normally possess:

  • a first- or second-class honours undergraduate degree AND a masters degree in general management or a business-related subject
  • two personal references from academic referees confirming candidates' suitability for the programme
  • a short research proposal of approximately 2,000 words which should include the proposed subject area, the aim of the study, a summary of the research to be undertaken, an indication of any previous work completed relevant to the area under investigation, and a bibliograph

In addition, candidates should be able to provide evidence of:

  • relevant educational, professional and personal experience
  • their ability to meet the high intellectual and personal demands of the programme
  • their potential to complete the programme within the designated time

Holders of non-UK degrees will be subject to the University's normal entry procedures for equivalence of qualifications.

International

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 7.0 overall with special conditions in all elements. Please make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we'll consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements may be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from one of the recognised Majority English Speaking Countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study (self-managed time)

A PhD, unlike a taught degree, consists entirely of independent study, guided by the supervisory team.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

As a guide, for a full-time PhD you should to commit a similar number of hours to a full time job, approximately 35 hours of PhD work a week. For a part-time PhD, this would be halved. We would also expect you to take a similar number of holiday days to full time or part time employment.

How you will be assessed

Your PhD thesis should be around 80,000 words and will be the subject of an oral examination, the 'viva voce'. You will need to show how you have critically investigated your area of research and made an independent and original contribution to knowledge.

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetable

PhD students do not receive a timetable, but you will be asked to agree a schedule of supervisory meetings with your team.

Find a supervisor

As a student at Kingston Business School you will receive support from the School's extensive network of highly skilled academic staff. All the staff are highly accredited and experienced, and many have worked at high levels within law and business, and can demonstrate how to turn theory into practice using real life examples.

Research

Research centres and groups

In the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014, two-thirds of our research activity was classified as 'internationally excellent' or 'world-leading'. This places Kingston Business School among a set of esteemed universities and in the top 50 in the country.

The quality profile for Kingston Business School shows high levels of ‘world-leading' and ‘internationally excellent' research, with our research impact being particularly strong: on average, almost 90% of the Business School's impact was found to be 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent'.

You will receive one-to-one tuition for your research project from international experts: we have a vibrant research community that includes staff, research students and associates from government, industry and commerce. Their work varies from pioneering academic research to highly focused consultancy for clients; they publish their work in a wide range of books and journals and receive substantial external funding from both private and public sector bodies including HSBC, Nokia, and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Kingston Business School has a number of research centres with a track record in high-quality research. Our research centres include:

Research seminars and events

Kingston Business School has a number of seminar and workshop series reflecting the high level of engagement with our staff, students and external stakeholders, ensuring that we are at the forefront of our field.

Kingston Business School runs regular research seminars and events that enable students and Business School staff to exchange ideas, research findings and test research papers with a view to obtaining helpful feedback. View our calendar for the all our upcoming research seminars and events. These are normally open to all but please check the pages for further details.

Acknowledged centre of excellence

Our commitment to excellence is reflected in the international reputations of staff, both academically and with their respective industry organisations. External sponsors such as HSBC Bank, Nokia, the Soros Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) provide substantial and ongoing funding. Kingston Business School benefits from:

  • the international reputation of our staff
  • supported secondments to industry and government
  • ongoing external funding from private and public sector sponsors
  • membership of EUDOKMA and EDAMBA (European Doctoral Programmes Association in Management and Business Administration), an international consortium for the training of postgraduate research students

Research repository

You can view the full range of research papers published by Kingston Business School academics via the Kingston University Research Repository.

Links with business and industry

How we work with our partners in business

One of Kingston Business School's key strengths is its close collaboration with professional organisations. We aim to ensure that our programmes bridge the gap between academic theory and professional practice by working closely with the business world's principal professional bodies and harmonise our courses with the needs of today's business practitioners.

We enjoy recognition or accreditation from:

  • Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
  • Association of MBAs (AMBA)
  • Chartered Institute of Marketing
  • Market Research Society
  • Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators
  • The Law Society

Doctoral programme partnerships

Kingston Business School is a founding member of:

  • The European Doctoral Programmes Association in Management and Business Administration (EDAMBA), which aims to increase quality and promote excellence in doctoral learning through the pursuit of educational diversity and the exchange of knowledge among participating schools.
  • The European Doctoral School on Knowledge and Management (EUDOKMA), which aims to create an environment in which postgraduate researchers can develop and transfer knowledge across both academic society and professional management practice.

Our links with EDAMBA and EUDOKMA also enable us to engage in collaborative ventures with partner institutions across Europe, which provide opportunities for research associates to access events such as summer schools, seminars and workshops and networking sessions. We also have links with:

  • Henley Management College in the UK
  • ESADE in Spain
  • Copenhagen Business School in Denmark
  • Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden

Kingston Business School is also recognised by the European Commission as a registered Marie Curie training site, a scheme that accepted EU-funded Marie Curie Fellows from across Europe.

Fees for this course

Fees for this course

Please view our research degree fees page for further details.

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Textbooks

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks – this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost from £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.

Travel

Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.