Research course

Public leadership and social enterprise

Open University · The Open University Business School

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) plus 120 credits in research methods training or, ideally, a masters degree in Research Methods (MRes), which is the usual precursor to PhD studies.

Months of entry


Course content

Research in this area brings together the knowledge and expertise of leading researchers focusing on the governance, leadership and management of public agencies, not-for-profit organisations, interorganisational collaborations and social enterprises. Through diverse conventional, non-traditional and multidisciplinary approaches, we conduct research exploring the nature of, and challenges pertaining to, contexts and situations concerned with social, ethical and environmental (political) challenges rather than those focusing purely on economic goals. Research is designed to help understand current developments in these intra- and interorganisational contexts and – through generating and extending theory – to inform policy-makers, leaders and managers as they respond to them.

Potential research projects

Internally funded full-time research studentships are advertised in January (closing date end of March) and may include the areas below. We also welcome part- and full-time self-funded applications in these areas:

  • Public- and third-sector governance, leadership and management
  • Interorganisational and intersectoral collaboration
  • Social enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Responsible and sustainable approaches to business and management
  • Practice-based learning and pedagogy.
Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website for more information

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
variable months
full time
36 months
part time
72 months


part time
24 months
full time
15 months

Course contact details

Debby Hing
+44 (0)1908 655272