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Business Studies

Research by Cardiff Business School PhD students aims to make the world a better place

In line with our Public Value ethos, our PhD in Business Studies is 3-year full-time program designed for highly qualified and motivated students who wish to research current and important problems and phenomena facing our economy and society.

We ensure that PhD students are fully integrated members of our research community. As a doctoral student, we will expect you to contribute fully to the advancement of knowledge within your chosen academic field.

As a PhD student, you will develop your knowledge and skills in research design, qualitative and quantitative research methods and research ethics. Subject experts will guide and supervise you during your PhD programme.

In addition to your thesis, an oral examination will form an integral part of the assessment of your doctoral research.

Applications for self-funded opportunities close on 31 May each year.

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time, part-time
Qualification PhD
Full-time duration 3 years (PhD only) 4 years (MSc Research Methods + PhD)
Part-time duration We exceptionally consider part-time applications. Please contact the PhD Office for further information.
Start dates October

Our PhD Programme in Business Studies is structured over 3 years, full time.

For some applicants, and additional year of training may be necessary, depending on previous qualifications. Please find out more about these two structures below.

3-year full-time PhD structure

Candidates with strong evidence of research training acquired via previous Master-level degrees may be admitted directly to our 3-year PhD Programme.

Evidence of research training includes successful completion of taught modules on research design and methods, and successful completion of a Master dissertation based on original research, from Cardiff Business School or from another UK or international University with equivalent standing. Typically, students are interviewed by prospect supervisors before being offered a place.

The programme will start with PhD induction in September 2020, and you will be expected to submit your dissertation by the end of the third year. While most students complete within 3 years, the structure of our programme includes a 4th year (with no fees) for thesis completion, referred to as ‘continuation year’.

We have a robust process for monitoring the progress of our PhD students throughout the programme. Each year, there will be two progress reviews, one in winter and one in summer, to support PhD students and ensure their projects are on track to deliver the expected results. Our progress review cycle is represented below.

Assessment for the PhD programme will consist of a Thesis of max 80,000 words and a Viva Voce Examination.

‘1+3’ Structure (Compulsory 1 year MSc SSRM + 3-year PhD)

Research training is increasingly being seen nationally and internationally as an important requirement for the successful completion of a doctoral thesis and Cardiff Business School places great store on this aspect of its Postgraduate Research Studies Programme.

For some applicants, admission to our PhD programme in Business and Management will be subject to successful completion of the MSc in Social Science Research Methods (SSRM).

In particular, this applies to applicants who cannot provide evidence of robust research training as outlined above.

The ‘1+3’ structure involves one extra year of research training followed by three years' work on your PhD topic. The training in the first year includes general and subject-specific modules and leads to a Master's qualification in Social Science Research Methods.

Progression from MSc SSRM to the PhD Programme is not automatic but subject to specific criteria: successful completion of the research training, with an average mark 60% or higher, is compulsory in order for students to proceed to the research topic stage.

For the MSc in SSRM component of the programme, students will be assessed via a series of assignments for the taught-modules and based on a Dissertation of max 20,000 words.


A list of academic staff that can provide supervision can be found on the Cardiff Business School website.


Students will be assessed on a Dissertation of 20,000 words for the MSc in Social Science Research Methods component of the programme.

Students will be assessed on a Thesis of 80,000 words and a Viva Voce Examination for the PhD component of the programme.

PhD Research at Cardiff Business School

To learn more about the PhD research at Cardiff Business School please explore the brochure of our Annual PhD Conference.

Our faculty expertise encompasses a significant range of topics and themes.

Accounting and finance

The Accounting and Finance Section at Cardiff Business School has an established and expanding worldwide reputation for conducting high quality theoretical and empirical research in accounting and finance and related fields.

Logistics and operations management

We aim to be the world's leading interdisciplinary teams of academics in advancing knowledge, theory and practice in logistics and operations management.

Management, employment and organisation

As well as promoting research of an international quality, the section aims to deliver research-led teaching of an outstanding quality and to provide a supportive environment for the development of academic researchers and educators.

Marketing and strategy

The Marketing and Strategy Section at Cardiff Business School undertakes and publishes innovative and original research on the formulation and implementation of effective market strategies at domestic and international levels.

Our PhD Programme in Business Studies is primarily designed for students seeking jobs in academia, but it also provides know-how that is appreciated by multinational companies, government agencies, financial institutions, consulting firms and international agencies.

At Cardiff Business School, we are proud to see our PhD graduates occupying prestigious academic positions in top Business Schools across UK, Europe, US, China, India and Australia.

In addition, our PhD graduates are currently employed in a range of non-academic institutions, including private companies, consultancy firms, research centres, governments, banks and other financial institutions.

During our PhD Programme, we will facilitate internships, interim work experiences, and international exchange opportunities that will contribute to your employability beyond the quality of your research.

UK government postgraduate doctoral loans

Candidates for the Professional Doctorate programme may be eligible to apply for a UK government postgraduate doctoral loan.

Find out more about UK government postgraduate doctoral loans


Each year a range of funded PhD studentships are available via the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership, Cardiff University, and a range of external sponsors.

See our latest PhD studentships and projects and find out more about other funding opportunities.

Tuition fees

Students from the UK

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Applications for self-funded opportunities close on 31 May each year.

Before applying

  • Read carefully about our programme’s structure, entry criteria, funding opportunities
  • Explore our research and faculty, and identify potential supervisors to include in your application
  • Ensure that all documents required as part of your application are included

How to apply

On the top-right corner on this page please select:

  • Qualification: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Mode of Study: Full Time

Click on apply now and complete the online application procedure

Application checklist

  • Detailed research proposal of max 10 pages including references. Please include:
    • Title
    • Introduction
    • Clear statement of research problem and research questions
    • Review of key literature
    • Proposed methodology
    • Proposed contribution (why your research is valuable and to whom)
  • If English is not your first language, proficiency of English language  certificate (IELTS etc.) – see attachment for full details
  • Copies of both master's and bachelor's degree certificates and transcripts
  • Two academic references
  • Academic CV

It’s very important that you provide all the relevant information when you apply as incomplete applications will not be considered.

After your application

Applications will be vetted by the PhD Office and reviewed by the PhD Director. Applicants who do not meet the necessary entry requirements will be rejected outright, and cannot re-apply for the same start date.

Applications from candidates who meet the entry requirements will be shared with potential supervisors, and all academics at Cardiff Business School. Once supervisors express interest towards a candidate, a supervisory panel is formed and an offer can be issued.

Entry requirements for the 3-year full-time PhD Programme

  • A specialist Master-level degree in Business, Management, Social Sciences or related subjects, from an internationally renowned University of comparable or higher standing than Cardiff Business School.
  • A minimum of 60% grades for a UK master’s degree, or the equivalent grading for international degrees.
  • Evidence of previous research training, including attending research-focussed taught modules and submitting a research-based Master dissertation.
  • As part of your application process you will have to submit a research proposal demonstrating the intellectual ability to identify viable research questions and a potential to develop a valuable contribution to knowledge in your elected area.

Entry requirements for the ‘1+3’ structure (MSc + PhD)

  • A Master degree from a UK or international university falling short of the minimum criteria for a direct entry to the Programme.

    For example:

    marks between 50% and 60%, and/or

    insufficient evidence of robust research training, and/or

    degree from a University without a strong international status

    An upper second-class honours degree (2:1 in UK or equivalent) in Business, Management, Social Sciences and related subjects, from an internationally renowned University.

    As part of your application process you will have to submit a research proposal demonstrating the intellectual ability to identify viable research questions and a potential to develop a valuable contribution to knowledge in your elected area.

English language requirements

For September 2023 entry IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or equivalent. You must submit your achieved and valid English language evidence with your application. Please note that English language tests must be no more than 2 years old at the start of the programme.

Please read our English language requirements for more details.


Administrative contact(s)

PhD Programme Office, Cardiff Business School

Administrative contact


Apply now
See the range of PhD studentships and projects currently available.

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