Business School PhD Programme: Structure of Study to Completion

The PhD programme in the School has the following three milestones:

  • Registration
  • Progression
  • Examination

Registration (please also see How to Apply)

Applicants who satisfy the entry requirements are encouraged to complete the online 'Expression of Interest' form. If the initial application is satisfactory, a conditional offer will be issued and a potential supervisor will be allocated who will provide guidance on the research proposal development. 

An interview will take place when the final draft of the research proposal is submitted for approval. The granting of the interview does not imply that the applicant will necessarily be admitted to a research degree programme.

Subject to the satisfactory interview and that the Faculty Research Committee (FRC) is satisfied that: a) the research proposal is sound and has the potential to deliver a postgraduate research award; and b) the proposal is appropriately resourced, the applicant will be admitted to the research degree programme


All students are enrolled either on an MPhil or a PhD. Those who wish to study for a PhD are required to transfer after 18 months (for full-time students) or 36 months (for part-time students).

The student at the progression needs to produce a paper which summarises his/her achievements on the research programme and outlines future research plans, and conduct an oral presentation of the paper at a workshop set up for the progression purpose.  

An independent assessor, nominated by the FRC, reviews the paper produced, together with supervisors’ assessment, the student’s presentation and other evidence. On this basis, the assessor will provide evaluative comments and recommendations to the FRC. Upon considering all aspects, the FRC may recommend that the student a) proceed as proposed; b) proceed subject to changes or amendments being made, addressing the concerns raised; c) be placed 'at risk'; or d) change the research degree originally sought. 


Towards the end of the research programme, the student will be examined on the basis of a thesis and an oral examination (viva voce). Normally two qualified examiners are appointed and at least one of whom is external to the institution. If the student is a member of staff at UWBS, then a second external examiner will be appointed.

Following the oral examination, the examiners will make recommendations to the University’s Research Award Sub-Committee (RASC) whether the research degree sought can be awarded.

Time Limits

Full-time PhD study
Normal duration of the study: 3 years
Maximum time allowed: 4 years

Part-time PhD study
Normal duration of the study: 4 years
Maximum time allowed: 8 years

Full-time MPhil study
Normal duration of the study: 1.5 years
Maximum time allowed: 2 years

Part-time MPhil study
Normal duration of the study: 2 years
Maximum time allowed: 4 years