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The University of Wolverhampton

Doctor of PhilosophyPostgraduate research in Business

Why choose this course?

The Course aims to:

  • Provide you with an exciting opportunity to advance your academic knowledge and understanding of business management in a national and international context within a supportive and creative research environment
  • Support you to develop capacity in designing and executing theoretically sound and methodologically robust business-focused research
  • Enable you to grasp a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods employed in both basic and applied research
  • Assist you to improve capabilities in disseminating evidence-based research outcomes via interaction with recipients within an academic and/or a practice-based setting

This course is hosted by the Management Research Centre (MRC) at the University of Wolverhampton Business School (UWBS) with a stimulating research environment where PhD students play a vital role. With about 25 PhD students currently aligned to our four research clusters, you will join a small but highly interactive and vibrant research community.

Our PhD students come from over eight different countries, and from a variety of different professional backgrounds. They enjoy the excellent facilities provided, including a shared office in the brand-new, state-of-the-art Business School building (the Lord Swraj Paul building). Alongside topic-specific supervision, we provide training in research methods and methodologies and offer opportunities to develop your teaching skills. Doing a PhD at UWBS is a great opportunity but it also requires a significant commitment on your part.

What happens on the course?

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

  • Registration
  • Progression
  • Examination


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 who wish to study for a PhD are required to complete a progression within 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 (including research methods), 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, at least one of whom is external to the institution. If the student is a member of staff at the University, 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.

Why Wolverhampton?

The University of Wolverhampton (UoW) is home to approximate 23,000 students. The UoW’s research and innovation activities have won the 2013 UK Knowledge Transfer Award, and the 2014 UK Collaborative IMPACT award. It is also the holder of the Athena Swan Bronze Award and the HR Excellence in Research Award.

The MRC has established a reputation for applied management research. Research at the MRC is grouped in four thematic research clusters, namely HRM and Industrial Relations, Corporate Governance and Ethics, Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development, and International Business. Our PhD students are aligned with research in these clusters and benefit from working with leading scholars in these fields. We are therefore particularly interested in inviting enquiries and applications in the following areas:

HRM and Industrial Relations

  • Employment issues in the public sector-- including NHS, local government, civil service, fire and police
  • Pay, pay determination, and bonus schemes
  • Strikes and other forms of industrial action
  • Changes in workplace labour process around work intensification, skill mix, and labour management practices
  • A range of current HRM issues such as mentoring, the law and human rights at work, training and knowledge transfer, and performance management
  • State policy and the labour market

Corporate Governance and Ethics

  • Behavioural perspectives on boards of directors
  • Gender in management
  • Business elites
  • Business in society
  • Sustainability and supply chains

Entrepreneurship and Small Business

  • Small business management
  • Family Business
  • Rural entrepreneurship
  • 3D printing

International Business

  • Context, determinants and consequences of Foreign Direct Investment
  • Globalisation and inequality
  • African entrepreneurship and leadership

What our students think

Dr Daniel May, Research Lecturer in Quantitative Economics, Harper Adams University.

"I gained my PhD at the Wolverhampton University Business School in 2012. My experience in this university was intellectually exiting and in all respects fantastic. I was able to freely develop my ideas with supervision at the highest standard. The School provided me all the support I needed in terms of workshops designed for PhD students, internal seminars where I had the opportunity to present my work, and the feedback from several approachable staff.

After finishing my doctoral studies I got a full-time position as a university lecturer. I have also been invited to be the Editor in Chief of the Scientific Journal of Agricultural Economics and the Chair of the Agricultural Economic Forum in the Third Annual Conference of Economic Forum of Entrepreneurship & International Business which took place at University of Oxford."

Dr Aliakbar Jafari, Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Deputy Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes - Department of Marketing of the University of Strathclyde Business School.

"I started my PhD at the Management Research Centre (MRC) of the University of Wolverhampton Business School in 2005 and graduated in 2008. As a PhD student I had a wonderful time at MRC. The support of the staff was incredible, both intellectually and emotionally. Professor Les Worrall, Head of MRC at the time, and Professor Mike Haynes, then the Director of PhD programme had an immense influence on the progress of my PhD. Similarly, the administrative staff were extremely friendly and supportive. I owe my success to the massive support of the wonderful people at MRC and across UWBS."

Professor Kevin Mole, Assistant Dean (PhD) Associate Professor Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Warwick Business School

"The Management Research Centre at Wolverhampton Business School was a very supportive and engaging environment for me to begin my academic career. The involvement of Wolverhampton academics in the seminars and training was an important part of my subsequent publication strategy to which I am very grateful."

Professor Catherine L. Wang, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, School of Management, Royal Holloway University of London

"I studied on the doctoral programme at the Wolverhampton Business School between 2000 and 2003. It was one of the most rewarding experiences. I particularly enjoyed working with, and learning from, supervisors with both disciplinary and methodological expertise. I also benefited from a friendly and supportive PhD cohort that made the journey enjoyable."

Career path

You will be equipped to take up positions in a wide range of sectors requiring research, the exercise of initiatives, and decision-making in complex situations. Successfully completed PhDs from our programme have since developed careers in academia and other professional arenas such as management consultancy and senior management practice.

Why not read our next session on ‘what our students think’ to discover what our PhD graduates are up to now and their perspectives on our PhD programme.

What skills will you gain?

As a student on this course you will have the opportunity to develop your research capacity, guided by supervisors, in analysing complex business management problems, making a choice of appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative research methods, and implementing research in a well-planned and timely manner. In addition to the regular supervision provided by supervisors, our PhD students will also be provided with training opportunities by the MRC, the Faculty and the University’s Doctoral College.

Student Training Days - We have scheduled a specifically designed training session for research students studying within the Faculty of Social Science. Sessions typically focus on a specific aspect of research, for example qualitative and quantitative methods, or on developing academic skills such as reviewing, writing for publications and disseminating research. Training is normally scheduled in January, May, and September every year.

MRC/ Cluster Seminars - Our research clusters within the MRC organise research seminars on topics within their field on a regular basis. These seminars offer a forum to disseminate knowledge and research experiences and are useful events for students to attend. In addition, the MRC centrally arranges seminars and public lectures to which staff and students will be invited to attend.

University Research Conference – The University Research Conference is held in June for research active staff and PhD students to showcase their areas of research and exchange research initiatives. Research students are welcome to make presentations during their period of study. Research students are also encouraged to disseminate final results of their research prior to submission.

University Research Training - Students are encouraged to participate in training provided by the Doctoral College not only because of its intrinsic value but also because these sessions may facilitate meetings with post-graduates outside the school. Business is necessarily interdisciplinary and we would encourage students to treat the possibility of meeting other people doing PhD research in the University positively.

External Conference Attendance - The MRC is keen to support applications to attend external conferences, however, as you will appreciate there is only a limited budget available for this purpose. Applicants are advised to firstly identify whether external funding can be accessed before making application through their Research Cluster. Further advice can be provided to students by their supervisory team or from the MRC administrator.

Entry requirements

Applicants for a research degree shall normally hold either:

• a first or upper second class honours degree, or

• a master’s degree, or

• evidence of prior practice or learning that is accepted by the Dean of Research.

An Applicant whose entry award was not delivered in English, or non-native speaker of English shall be required to demonstrate proficiency in English at least to the level of an IELTS score of 7.0 or its equivalent to be registered as a Research Degree student.

Course fees and finance

Research Fees 2018/9

Full time£4,260£12,700
Part time£2,130£6,350
Other Fees
Writing Up Fee (Write up period 12 months only)£1,000 (Return to standard research fee after 1 year)
PhD by Published Work (Staff Only)£1,000

Contact us


01902 32 22 22



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