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PhD Management

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Course overview

The programme involves a period of sustained in-depth study of a specific topic and aims to:

  • provide the opportunity to enhance the student’s knowledge of the broad area and to study the theoretical foundations and specific techniques of the subject
  • ensure the student uncovers and critically examines background literature on the topic
  • provide the student with the stimulus required to develop originality and creativity in the research
  • give the student the opportunity to develop skills in making and testing hypotheses or research questions, in developing new theory, and in planning and conducting investigations to discover new insights
  • provide, through critical scrutiny of written work and oral presentations, an opportunity for the student to develop skills in writing and presenting the results of the research in learned journals and monographs.

Key facts

Key facts about the course
Qualification Doctor of Philosophy
Duration 3 years full-time (6 years part-time)
Department and Faculty Management, Management, Economics and Law
Partner institution(s) --
Course director Prof. Gillian Symon
Contact for more information MN-PhDadmissions@rhul.ac.uk

Fees / funding

Please visit the College's postgraduate research tuition fees page for the latest information about tuition fees and how you can pay.

There are different sources of funding which may be available to you, see our page for details.

How to apply

Before considering applying for a PhD at the School of Management you should :

  • have a strong and committed interest in a research area of interest to the School
  • create a strong research proposal of around 2000 words based on that interest
  • ensure you fulfil our entry criteria and English language requirements 
  • ensure you have a realistic plan to secure enough funding to complete your research and writing up process within the normal time period (3 -4 years)

There are three main components to our application process:

  • Identifying a suitable supervisor and obtaining their support for supervision
  • Submitting all necessary documentation through our on-line application system
  • Attending an admissions interview

To see our research areas and find out how to find a suitable research match and supervisor please visit here.  When making contact with the staff member, please forward your research proposal and CV and only contact one potential supervisor at a time. If a supervisor feels they are not suitable, they may refer you on to another staff member.

An expression of interest from one of our staff does not automatically guarantee admission to our PhD programme. Applications are based on your previous academic performance, the quality of your research proposal and your performance at an admissions interview.

For further information about applying for a research degree at the School of Management please visit our PhD pages here

Our online application system can be found here

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. More information on arranging visits is available on our Open days pages.


Entry requirements

Entry criteria:

  • Usually Undergraduate degree at 2:1 level and a Master's degree with Merit
  • A high quality research proposal
  • A credible personal statement
  • Strong performance at interview

Relevant professional qualifications and relevant experience in an associated area.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing.

For equivalencies, please see here. 

We welcome applicants from all disciplines provided they can demonstrate a good understanding of management research and its methodologies.

Applicants who do not have the required level of understanding of management research and its methodologies, and applicants who do not have a masters degree, should note that most of the masters degrees offered by the School of Management have specialist research pathways which seek to develop such understanding within the context of a specific area of study.  

Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.


Why choose this course?

Our Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil) is primarily based around an in-depth study of a specific topic, which is guided by one or more staff members who are experts and active researchers in their fields, and experienced supervisors of research.

The School has over 80 research-active academic staff, from more than 30 countries, covering the main areas of management. Students work closely with established research teams, and play a full and active part in the School’s research and teaching activities.

Department research and industry highlights

As a Management School we aim to apply the insights of social science to the management of private, public and voluntary sector organisations. A shared feature of our research is its international and comparative focus, with a strong historical, sociological and political-economic approach to management issues and activities. Research in the Management School is organised into several areas with an established international reputation.
» Research theme groups

Course content and structure

Year 1

All doctoral candidates are automatically registered as MPhil students during their first year: they are expected to produce a detailed literature review and formal research design to a good standard before they can upgrade to PhD status. Full-time students will be working on these aspects in Year 1 with a view to upgrading in Year 2.

Students are also expected to acquire the additional research skills they will need to conduct research in their chosen area. Consequently, they will attend two compulsory research methods courses within the School in their first year, as well as choosing from a range of other courses available at College level and within the SE Doctoral Training Centre.  

Years 2 & 3

For full-time students, the second and third years are normally spent collecting data, conducting field research, analysing results and writing up. The PhD thesis is usually submitted at the end of the third year.


First year students complete assessments at the end of their compulsory research methods training.

As well as regular meetings with their Principal and Second Supervisors, all students attend semi-annual review meetings with PhD Directors, Principal and Second Supervisors throughout the three years of their registration. At these meetings, progress is discussed and advice for further work given.

At the beginning of the summer term, all students present their research at the School’s annual PhD days, attended by doctoral students, members of staff and external advisers. Students are given extensive feedback on their work to date.

The PhD thesis is judged by internal and external examiners appointed by the College. The candidate is then invited to defend his/her thesis before these examiners.

Employability & career opportunities

PhD and MPhil students are important members of our community and a number of students go on to secure positions either with us or at other top-rated universities or companies.

Throughout the doctoral programme you are expected to publish your work, either as working papers, journal articles or conference papers. In years two and three there are often opportunities to gain teaching experience. Consultancy and similar assignments may also be available and can sometimes provide additional income to students.

Related courses

No related courses have been found.


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