PhD and Research Degrees

Create knowledge. Make an impact.

management PhD student Phillipa Coan stood in front of steps
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Challenge thinking

As a Leeds University Business School postgraduate researcher you will contribute fully to the advancement of knowledge within the Business School. In return we will encourage you to undertake research training, help you publish your findings, and give you the support you need to complete your dissertation or thesis.

In the Research Excellence Framework 2014 we were ranked ninth in the UK for the quality of our research. Your innovations will shape agendas and activities in our research community and help us to further our impact on business and society.

You will be part of our energetic research environment, working with staff of the highest calibre within our internationally-recognised research centres. We have grown in both size and influence to become one of the most highly regarded business schools in the country - offering a challenging and vibrant atmosphere that will stimulate your thoughts, focus your work and prepare you for a successful future.

The Leeds University Business School PhD

Throughout your degree you will be considered a postgraduate researcher rather than a student and you will be an integral part of our research community. You will be supported on your research journey by supervisors, research centre contacts and the Graduate School office.

A distinguishing feature of the Leeds University Business School research degree is the innovative training programme, which will help you to develop your skills and build networks with colleagues in the Business School and across the region through the White Rose Doctoral Training Programme

A Leeds University Business School PhD is a high quality doctorate. On completion you will have become an independent researcher and acquired teaching skills as well as developing both intellectually and personally.

The PhD process

You will start your studies in October or February, working full or part-time.

Your supervisors will guide you in the production of a piece of original research. Our practice is for postgraduate researchers to be supervised by two academics. Your supervisors advise on the preparation of your thesis proposal, which is presented to a Business School committee.

If you choose to work full-time, you will have a progress review at the end of your first year. After this review, you will either transfer to the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programme for a further year, or the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme for two years. Part-time postgraduate researchers have a progress review after two years and transfer for a further two years or three years respectively.

If your proposal is approved, your supervisors will then authorise a timetable of work, arrange regular meetings, and provide feedback and advice on the research and preparation of your final thesis.

You then submit this thesis at the end of the programme to be judged by a panel of internal and external examiners, appointed by the Business School, at an oral examination or 'viva'.

Your degree is awarded after you successfully complete a programme of research training and a piece of original research in the form of a 300-page or 100,000 word thesis. 

Training pathways

We believe in the value of training and developing our postgraduate researchers. The PhD programme places a strong emphasis on formal learning and assessment in research methods to deepen the knowledge of disciplines and a range of methodological approaches. When entering the programme you will opt for one of our three core training pathways:

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Economics
  • Management and Business

Visit our Training and Development page for details of the training you will receive on each pathway.

Choosing a PhD topic

To apply for the programme you must be able to clearly outline a topic to research and identify where it links to the expertise we have at the Business School. It is important that you spend some time exploring the research that we are involved with and whether your own research is likely to fit alongside this.

Look carefully at the research conducted within the six main divisions of the Business School across our multi-disciplinary research centres. You should also consider our research topics of interest and our academic staff profiles to identify whether your research interests fit within our areas of expertise.

Find out more about locating your research at the Business School.

Entry requirements and routes to research

Candidates should hold a British Masters degree (or equivalent degree from an overseas university) or an equivalent professional qualification:

  • with a minimum average score of 60 percent (or equivalent); and 
  • in an appropriate academic discipline. Appropriate academic disciplines include those directly related to the subject specialisms of the Business School (accounting and finance, economics, international business, management, marketing and work and employment relations) or providing skill sets which are particularly relevant to the PhD research project (for example, social research methods, linguistics, mathematics, statistics, psychology, etc.)

All candidates must also meet our standard English language requirements.

If you would like to undertake a PhD, but do not currently have a Masters degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject, you may want to consider studying one of our Masters degrees.

Fees and Funding


Fee structures change every year. Visit the fees page for the most up-to-date information.


We offer a broad range of scholarships each year, including:

  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) scholarships
  • University of Leeds scholarships
  • Leeds University Business School scholarships
  • University of Leeds Alumni Bursary

Visit Funding and Scholarships to see our latest opportunities.

How to Apply

To apply you will firstly need to locate your research and prepare a research proposal.

Visit How to Apply for information and guidance on the application process.