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Business Research Degrees - PhD

Course Overview

The essential course information

How to apply
Course Code:
  • Full Time (3-4 Years)
  • Part Time (4-7 Years)
  • Distance Learning (4-7 Years)
Birmingham City Business School
City Centre

PhD degrees are research programmes. They allow you to learn as you work through the issues associated with solving a particular problem. Each research degree student is supported by a team of supervisors appointed for the particular study. In all years of study, students will be required to present their work in meetings of fellow students and staff conducting parallel research.

There are three entry dates to the programme each academic year, in September, February and May.

Find out more about Birmingham City Business School

Entry Requirements

Applicants are required to hold a minimum of a 2:1 Honours degree, in a discipline related to business, to be considered for a PhD. Some PhD opportunities, such as those funded by a particular research council, may additionally require a Masters level degree. 

In addition, international applicants must satisfy the University's proficiency in English Language requirements, for example, IELTS Grade 6.0 in all bands or 6.5 average; TOEFL at least 575.

How to Apply

To apply, please click on the button below.

There are three entry dates to the programme each academic year, in September, February and May.

Your completed application form will be circulated to the appropriate staff in the Business School who may have the necessary expertise to supervise your piece of research. A formal interview will then be arranged.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our pdf application form instead.

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2017 FT 3-4 Years PhD £4,195 per year
Sep 2017 PT 4-7 Years PhD £2,098 per year
Sep 2017 DL 4-7 Years PhD £2,622 per year
Feb 2018 FT 3-4 Years PhD £4,195 per year
Feb 2018 PT 4-7 Years PhD £2,098 per year
Feb 2018 DL 4-7 Years PhD £2,622 per year
May 2018 FT 3-4 Years PhD £4,195 per year
May 2018 PT 4-7 Years PhD £2,098 per year
May 2018 DL 4-7 Years PhD £2,622 per year
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2017 FT 3-4 Years PhD £12,000 per year
Sep 2017 PT 4-7 Years PhD £6,000 per year
Sep 2017 DL 4-7 Years PhD £7,500 per year
Feb 2018 FT 3-4 Years PhD £12,000 per year
Feb 2018 PT 4-7 Years PhD £6,000 per year
Feb 2018 DL 4-7 Years PhD £7,500 per year
May 2018 FT 3-4 Years PhD £12,000 per year
May 2018 PT 4-7 Years PhD £6,000 per year
May 2018 DL 4-7 Years PhD £7,500 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

For information about fees please contact the faculty or visit the fees area of the Student Info section.

International Students

International Students at BCU

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK. Our reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Postgraduate Open Event

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be held on Wednesday 26 April 2017, between 3pm and 8pm.

PG Open Evening

Our postgraduate open event offers you the chance to:

  • Meet with lecturers and other prospective students to discuss study options
  • Meet and chat with our current students
  • Obtain advice on fees and funding opportunities.

93 per cent of our graduates find work or further study within six months (DLHE). Explore your potential at our open evening.

Who is it for?

Whether you are coming to the end of your undergraduate studies, or have been in your job for a while and want to progress in your career or change direction, a postgraduate qualification gives you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd in a competitive market.

Our graduates are already shaping the world in a variety of high-profile roles – and you could be next. Read some of our inspiring case studies.

For more information, visit our Open Days page or call our Course Enquiries Team on +44 (0)121 331 5595.

Book now
Book your place
Wednesday 26 April 2017

University Approach to Employability

Birmingham City University is committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Course Structure

PhD degrees extend Master's level study by making a significant contribution to academic understanding of a particular issue. The thesis explores current theories and frameworks and demonstrates how insights from empirical study or reasoning warrant a fundamental reconceptualisation. By the end of the programme students will have written a thesis of around 80,000 words. Students will be orally examined on their work by two or more examiners.

Research proposal topics

The Business School believes it is valuable for research students to undertake research which aligns very closely with the research strengths of the research groups within the school.

While personal research proposals will be considered, the School would welcome applications from students who wish to undertake specific research on proposals from one of our research centres.

You can find out more about which research proposals are currently on offer below. 

Find out more

Enrolment and registration

Applicants for a research degree are encouraged to submit ideas in the form of an application form with an outline research proposal that augments the activities of the research groups in the Business School. If the Business School is able to identify an appropriate supervisory team and the candidate satisfies formal entry requirements, the applicant will be invited to enrol on the programme. You must note however that by simply enrolling on the Business School Research Degree Programme this does not mean that you are registered for a PhD degree. This can only be achieved via submitting a satisfactory detailed research proposal to the University Research Degrees Committee. The Business School will appoint an appropriate supervision team consisting of a Director of Studies, a second supervisor and possibly an external supervisor to guide you in this task.


The nature of a research degree is such that it is not possible to state an exact timescale for the programme. A part-time PhD (for entrants with a relevant Master's qualification) could be expected to take 4-5 years.

In the case of full-time study, a PhD may require 30-36 months.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that there is wide variation from these averages for individual students.

Are you an overseas student? We have a lively group of overseas students studying for their doctorates. They are full time students; the Business School does not currently offer part time/distance learning options overseas.

A day in the life of a PhD student

If you're considering doing a PhD there's probably a lot of questions going through your mind: how am I going to pay for it? Should I quit my job? Will I cope with the workload? But most importantly, what is it really like? Karen Patel, a full time PhD student, shares her experiences of juggling life, a part time job and her studies. Read more in Karen's blog.


Prospective students from the UK
  • Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to a range of questions about our courses and studying here.
  • If you need further help, you can contact the Course Enquiries Team online by using the Course Enquiry Form.
  • Alternatively, call us on +44 (0)121 331 5595.
Prospective students from outside the UK


For an overview of our postgraduate courses and a range of other information please download our Postgraduate Prospectus (10Mb).

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