Research course

Business Doctoral Programmes

Oxford Brookes University · Business School

Entry requirements

The normal entry requirement for MPhil or MPhil with the intention of transferring to a PhD (the route which most of our doctoral candidates take) is a first-class or upper second-class UK honours degree or equivalent. Applications also welcomed from those holding qualifications other than the above and will be considered on their merits and in relation to the nature and scope of the work proposed. The normal entry requirement for the degree of PhD is a recent master's degree in a discipline which is appropriate to the proposed research and which has included research training and a research project.

Months of entry

January, September, April

Course content

An MPhil or PhD is a research degree focused around the planning and undertaking of an original piece of academic research, which is then written up in a thesis and which you are examined on in a final examination.

Our professional doctorate in Coaching and Mentoring is structured differently, to reflect its particular focus and specific audience, see Coaching and Mentoring, programme structure for further details.

Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the range of support and development activities organised at department, School, and University level to assist in the development of a candidate’s research skills, according to their particular needs.

Time commitment

  • Time commitments vary based on the course, and the mode of study, that you choose:
  • A full-time MPhil generally takes between two and three years.
  • A full-time PhD generally takes between three and four years.
  • A part-time MPhil generally takes between three and four years.
  • A part-time PhD takes between four and six years.
  • A full time student should look to devote an average of 35 hours per week, 44 weeks per year to their studies.
  • A part-time student should try to commit an average of 17.5 hours per week, 44 weeks per year to their studies.


  • While every candidate’s exact experience will vary according to their particular discipline, topic and methodology, there are a number of common elements that all students will undertake:
  • Critically investigating and evaluating an approved topic;
  • Undertaking an analytical review of the existing literature in your topic area to set the theoretical context for your work and help demonstrate the gap in knowledge you will address;
  • Developing and then implementing a rigorous and appropriate methodology for researching your topic;
  • Demonstrating that your research conforms to all relevant ethical codes of practice;
  • Extensive primary field research, analysis and evaluation;
  • The production of 50,000 (MPhil) or 100,000 (PhD) thesis; and
  • An oral viva exam, in which you answer questions about your research.
  • Students progression is monitored through an annual process undertaken at the end of each academic year and through two key progression points after approximately six months and eighteen months of study respectively.


You will be supported through:

  • A supervisory team of two (occasionally three) supervisors from an academic staff of more than fifty experts who together can provide the best combination of expertise to support your work;
  • Training courses in research methods (for example, qualitative and quantitative methods) provided by the Business School and wider University;
  • Regular seminars and learning activities at department, School and University level;
  • Experience of presenting work to different audiences; and
  • Opportunities to network and discuss your work with staff and fellow students from across the academic community of the Business School and the University as a whole.

Conferences, Training and Lecturing Opportunities

You will be supported in developing and sharing your expertise through:

  • Opportunities to present at internal seminars and conferences;
  • Support in attending, and ultimately presenting at external conferences (some financial assistance is available); and
  • Training as an Associate Lecturer and the opportunity to engage in teaching activity on appropriate modules offered by the Business School.
  • We aim through our work to provide practical and ethical solutions to some of the most pressing challenges.

Areas of research

Applied Economics Finance and Development

  • Applied Macroeconomics
  • Economic Growth
  • Development Economics
  • Education economics
  • Public Policy and Program Impact Evaluation
  • Foreign Direct Investments
  • Applied Microeconomics
  • Behavioural Economics
  • Experimental Economics
  • Environmental Economics
  • Applied Financial Econometrics
  • Behavioural Finance
  • Volatility and ARCH/GARCH modelling
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts

Critical perspectives on accounting, social responsibility and governance

  • Corporate Governance
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Stakeholder Theory

Management And Entrepreneurship Education

Applications for PhD supervision, under the following academics, are welcomed in:

Dr Jill Millar/Dr Jonathan Louw

  • Responsible Management Education

We welcome any applications within the field of responsible management education and its component elements e.g. ethics, CSR and education for sustainability. Proposals might be pedagogy, policy or organisational management oriented. Geographical settings could be within or outside the UK and we welcome a variety of methodological approaches. Our approaches are principally qualitative and critical but in collaboration with colleagues we are able to supervise and support candidates working from other perspectives as well.

  • Entrepreneurship and the role of university-industry in knowledge economy

Applications within the field of entrepreneurship education and innovation, university-industry cooperation to facilitate knowledge economy are welcome. Strong emphasis on policy, practice and pedagogy. Applications could be comparative or country focus. Applicants with quantitative and qualitative methodological perspectives are particularly welcome, as well as interests in interdisciplinary approaches.

Dr Simon Adderley:

  • Social Enterprise
  • Non-European/American Enterprise
  • Ethnicity/Gender and Enterprise

Dr Karen Handley/Dr Jill Millar:

Power and discourse in organisational, professional and institutional contexts (the role of discourse in constructing identities, practices and institutions) with research methodologies which utilise discourse analysis to investigate: Policy discourses of responsible management education & The nature and role of management education in the international environment

Dr Sola Adesola:

  • Entrepreneurship education and development in emerging economies
  • Entrepreneurial university in Africa
  • University-Industry interaction in a knowledge economy
  • Knowledge transfer of diaspora for national development
  • Energy policy and education

Work And Organisation

Applications for PhD supervision, under the following academics, are welcomed in:

Professor Juliette Koning:

  • Qualitative research on identity, ethnicity, religion and leadership in small business organizations (sme’s; family firms)
  • Qualitative research in and on private security organizations
  • Meaningful work /identity work in organizations
  • Business ethics and responsible business

Dr Joanna Karmowska:

  • Internationalization of small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
  • Management practices and organizational processes in performing arts organizations

Dr Sylwia Ciuk:

  • Language strategies, policies and practices in MNEs
  • Culture change initiatives
  • Implementation and resistance to new management ideas

Dr Louisa Lapworth:

  • Motivation and HRM in the voluntary sector
  • Public Service Motivation

Dr Guy Huber:

  • Power, identity, value work, humour, secrecy and ethics in organisations

Dr Andrea Bernardi:

  • Co-operative sector and collective ownership
  • Healthcare/Employment Relations in China
  • Organization studies and medical humanities
  • Employment relations in the British Higher Education sector

Dr Samentha Goethals:

  • Business and human rights
  • Business ethics/CSR
  • Labour migration (inc. issues related to migrant workers' rights, refugees, trafficking, modern slavery)

Dr Karen Handley/Dr Jill Millar:

  • Power and discourse in organisational, professional and institutional contexts: the role of discourse in constructing identities, practices and institutions (discourse analysis) on institutional and organisational discourses of employability
  • Diversity management in organisational policies and practice; discourses within specific professional fields

Marketing Society And Technology

Our research spans the challenging questions facing marketing theory and practice, currently and in the future. We have specific interests in the society, sustainability, responsibility, marketing nexus, and in the impacts of technology on marketing, business and communication. We are interested in receiving applications on a range of topical themes within these broad areas including, but not limited to:

  • Consuming more sustainably
  • Brand management & branding communications, e.g. branded content
  • Digital marketing strategies
  • Ethical/responsible/societal/transformative marketing
  • Emerging consumer groups and their novel behaviours (including impacts for marketing and innovation)
  • Engaging customers in a marketing cluttered world
  • Environmental and societal challenges for marketing theory and practice
  • Experiential, co-creative consumption
  • Impact of technology on marketing thought and practice
  • Insight into developing, emerging and ‘unknown’ markets that inform any facet of marketing
  • Politics and marketing
  • Social media behaviours and content
  • Shifting tourists, tourism behaviour and tourism marketing metrics

We particularly welcome doctoral applications that focus on questioning established thinking in Marketing to create forward thinking knowledge, and we encourage diverse methodologies.

Department specialisms

Critical perspectives on accounting, social responsibility and governance Management And Entrepreneurship Education Work And Organisation Marketing Society And Technology

Information for international students

ILETS band 6.5 - 7

Fees and funding

Funding opportunities can be found here

Qualification and course duration


full time
24-60 months
part time
36-192 months


part time
36-48 months
full time
24-36 months

Course contact details

+44 (0) 1865 48 58 58