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 2021
Location Kingston Business School, Kingston Hill

2021/22 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2021/22 (i.e. between August 2021 and July 2022), please view the information about changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19.

 

Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2021/22 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2021/22. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.

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.

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study

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:

Changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19

Course information (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Composition of the course

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. number of modules or credits in a year, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Unless government advice instructs otherwise, Study Abroad programmes will take place in 2021/22. The safety of all our students is paramount, therefore, as per normal practice, all Study Abroad activities must also be approved by the University's insurers to ensure that students are adequately protected during their period abroad. We will provide updates as the pandemic situation stabilises and/or further government advice is released.

Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback from students and other key stakeholders. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Modules

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules in response to issues arising from the pandemic.

Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles, module summaries and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Length of course

We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.

In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed in 2021/22, e.g. moving those modules which can be delivered more effectively to the first teaching block and moving back those – such as practical modules and placements – which may be more difficult to deliver due to some ongoing restrictions.

In some cases, it may be necessary to delay placement modules which may then impact the length of the course. In these circumstances the University will guide students through the appropriate options available to ensure students are able to make informed choices.

Entry requirements (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a direct result of the pandemic.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a direct result of the pandemic.

Teaching (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to steadily increase the proportion of on-campus teaching. We will continue to provide a proportion of online learning, as experience has shown that this enriches and supports the student learning experience.

If the pandemic affects teaching and learning activities in 2021/22 more than we currently anticipate, the proportion of online learning will increase. However, unless a lockdown is enforced, we will ensure that all courses provide a reasonable percentage of their teaching and learning activities on campus.

Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you should still be able to engage with your course remotely in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, for example on courses with high practical content, your course team will be able to advise you on the options available to you.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.

In the event that a further lockdown is enforced in 2021/22 the University will aim to deliver the course fully online once more. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for Year 1

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled learning and teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours were not and will not be made as a direct result of the pandemic.

‘Scheduled learning and teaching' includes teaching delivered online, either live or recorded/on demand.

Timetable

Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. up to December 2021) should be available by the end of August. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2022) will not be available until the autumn. We make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible.

In 2020/21 it was agreed that scheduled learning and teaching could take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm, to maximise the time available for teaching in order to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing. This meant we sometimes had to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. If we need to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing in 2021/22 we expect to adopt a similar approach. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Assessment (changes for 2021/22 entry)

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. to the overall methods of assessments, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Changes are made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback received from students and other key stakeholders. Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for Year 1 of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

If social distancing or lockdown restrictions are in place in 2021/22, online alternative options to formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be made available to students where possible.

Staff (changes for 2021/22 entry)

No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.

Staff are engaged in Continuous Professional Development activities to develop their teaching expertise, as part of the normal enhancement processes, to ensure that course teams have the required breadth of expertise.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2021/22.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to be able to increase student access to on-campus facilities. Students will therefore have access to University computers and library facilities.

If, due to an increase in social distancing requirements or the enforcing of a lockdown, it becomes necessary to significantly increase the proportion of teaching delivered online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities might be restricted if social distancing requirements are enforced.

The University is committed to supporting students who are unable to access suitable technology to ensure equity of access in a blended delivery mode.

Funding

There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2021/22. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2021/22.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We are anticipating that placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead in 2021/22. However, to ensure students gain maximum value from placement activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year, when any impacts from the pandemic restrictions are minimised.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through the University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered.

In the interests of the health and wellbeing of our students, all placement arrangements must be approved by the University's insurers and the appropriate risk assessments made before students are sent on a placement.

Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Qualification

No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. BSc (Hons), MSc, etc., as a direct result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Accreditation

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and in accordance with any professional body requirements. We do not anticipate making any further changes to courses in response to any issues arising from the pandemic and which would put at risk any professional body accreditation status.

Additional (changes for 2021/22 entry)

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.