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PhD/MPhil/MSc Marketing (Research)

Start date
PhD: 3 years full-time equivalent; MPhil: 2 years full-time equivalent; MSc (Research) – 1 year full-time equivalent
Course Type
Postgraduate, Doctoral research
For 2024-2025
£4,778 (UK)
£22,380 (International)
Funding opportunities are available

The PhD/MPhil/MSc (research) in Marketing programme offers a short taught component followed by a longer research phase. Taught modules allow you to broaden, as well as deepen, your knowledge of research methods whilst undertaking your own research and developing a set of transferable professional skills.

Doctoral researchers will be capable of analysing a range of data using a range of qualitative and quantitative techniques. They will be able to explain theories underlying different approaches to social science research. Doctoral researchers are expected to participate to the fullest possible extent in the life of the Department of Marketing and the Business School. This means attending seminars organised by the Department of Marketing and more widely in the Business School thereby helping expose doctoral researchers to new ideas emanating from outside their own area of specialisation. It also requires actively participating in PhD workshops and conferences organised by the Department of Marketing, the Business School and Graduate School as well as institutions outside the University of Birmingham.

Ultimately all doctoral researchers will have the ability to characterise and solve business and marketing problems using advanced research tools. They should be able to derive policy implications from their research and communicate these to policy makers, practitioners and other academics in a manner which is comprehensible. They will also be able to peer review others’ research and offer constructive criticism; and to extend the frontiers of the discipline through their own innovative research.

Doctoral researchers may choose to become academics, work in Government, businesses, supranational organisations or in the research arms of major financial institutions. They are expected to achieve a substantial understanding of contemporaneous marketing and business issues enabling them to take a lead in ongoing debates within society. They will be aware of and understand the function of related institutions at both a national and international level.


Fees 2024 - 2025

  • Code 8164 - £4,778 (UK) MPhil Full time
  • Code 8164 - £23,520 (International) MPhil Full time
  • Code 8170 - £4,778 (UK) PhD Marketing  Full time
  • Code 8180 - £2,389 (UK) PhD Marketing  Part time
  • Code 8170 - £23,520(International) PhD Full time
  • Code 8175 - £4,778 (UK) MSc (Research) Full time
  • Code 8178 - £2,389 (UK) MSc (Research) Part time
  • Code 8175 - £23,520 (International) MSc (Research) Full time

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships

A limited number of scholarships may be available to outstanding applicants. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home Government.

For further information contact the School directly or visit our helpdesk.

How To Apply

Our supervisory expertise includes a wide range of theoretical interests and methodological approaches. Applicants are urged to study the profiles of individual staff via their university profile pages and contact appropriate supervisors directly before they apply. When considering potential supervisors avoid generic emails to everyone in the department as such approaches seldom attract interest. It is better to email potential supervisors where you see a direct link to your proposed area of study and/or methods. Try to read some of the work written by potential supervisors and when you contact them, explain how your ideas fit with their existing research and/or stated areas of interest. When you submit your proposal, you should also consider how it relates to the broader research undertaken by the department and you might specifically discuss this in your application letter. You should also focus on the following questions in your proposal:

  • What are you trying to find out?
  • Why does this matter and to who?
  • How will your work further or challenge existing thinking?
  • What makes your proposed methods suitable to achieve all this?

If you have any questions about applying, please contact the department PhD lead, Dr Mike Molesworth ( If you cannot find a suitable supervisor, you may still apply and the PGR lead will try to match you with a suitable supervisory team.

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate research programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the research programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

The Business School's entry requirement is a good honours degree (first or upper second class honours) awarded by a recognised University in an appropriate subject, and a merit in a relevant Master’s degree. We usually ask students for an average of 65 in the taught component of their Masters. All international students also need to show that they have adequate knowledge of written and spoken English.

Learn more about our entry requirements.

Writing your research proposal

Along with your academic record, your references and your curriculum vitae your research proposal plays a critical role in the evaluation of your application.

Your research proposal should illustrate your ability to plan an independent research study and the relevance of your topic to the research interests and expertise of Birmingham Business School.You need to demonstrate that you understand the field that you plan to research, identify an interesting and original research question, and develop a tentative plan of study. It is highly desirable that your research proposal is written to the guidelines specified below.

Guidelines for the Research Proposal


Title of your proposed research.


Identify the Department you want to join.

You may also identify potential supervisors at this stage if you wish.

Research question

Provide an overview of your research question, explaining why it is of academic and/or practical importance.


Describe the main objectives of your research, providing details of two or three key aspects.

Literature review

Discuss the importance of previous related research and how your own research question might make a useful contribution to the area.

Research techniques

State the main research techniques (interviews, case studies, modeling etc.) and data collection procedures you might use.


Outline your proposed timetable of activities.


List the works you have cited in your proposal.

Word Limit

Your proposal should be no more than 5,000 words, excluding references.


When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the how to apply pages.

International Requirements

International Students

English requirements are IELTS 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in any band or equivalent.

  • IELTS 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in any band
  • TOEFL: 95 overall with no less than 22 in any band
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: PTE Academic 76 with no less than 67 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced or Proficiency – minimum overall score of 185, with no less than 176 in any component

The marketing department encourages PhD applications that align with one of the three research groups below.

  1. Culture Research Group
  2. Marketing innovations and consumer science research group
  3. Responsible and Critical Marketing Research Group

Culture Research Group

Members of the Culture Research Group are interested in a range of topics drawing from the diverse field of the arts. Specific research areas include heritage, issues of culture and authenticity, art and artists as brands, the production and consumption of art, film production and reception, film distribution and exhibition, social responsibility in arts marketing, television, dark tourism, embodiment, visual arts and the market, the production and consumption of place, space and time, myth and marketplace, festivals, the intersection of arts and technology, how emerging artists use new technology, and sub-cultural and non-mainstream consumption.

  • Alessandro Gerosa is happy to consider projects about taste, sociology of consumption, consumer cultures, and digital cultures, using qualitative or digital methods.
  • Christina Goulding is interested in supervising qualitative project in cultural consumption, place, space and consumption, non-conformist or transgressive consumption, the arts meets technology, consumer identity projects, consumption and loss, the dark side of consumption, and consumption and resilience. 
  • Chelsea Harfield’s research is into consumer behaviour, tourism, heritage, authenticity and narrative transportation. Her focus is qualitative methodologies.
  • Scott Jones does research into marketplace cultures and consumer collectives, celebrity studies, fandom, responsible and ethical marketing, and alternative methods in qualitative research.
  • Finola Kerrigan’s work is on the entertainment industries, cultural branding, and digital identity, and uses qualitative and visual approaches [not taking students for 2024 entry].
  • Rohan Venkatraman is looking to support projects related to the intersection of marketplace hierarchies, especially gender and sexuality, and consumer culture, using qualitative and ethnographic methodologies.
  • Julie Whiteman’s interests are in representation and consumption of gender, race, sexuality and class, using qualitative, intersectional research methods.

Marketing innovations and consumer science research group

The marketing innovations and consumer science research group brings together researchers across the marketing field who are interested in innovative marketing practice, innovation itself, digital and technological innovations, as well as methodological innovations in marketing research. The group also has a focus on psychological theories as a means to understand consumers and their behaviour. Researchers in the group use a range of research methods but with some concentration on quantitative approaches to research problems.

  • Raphaël Akamavi researches new product development processes, service innovation, consumption experiences, and social capital & organisational /industry performance using positivist approaches.
  • Achilleas Boukis works on technology integration in physical interactions with customers, digital assets including NFTs, demanding consumers, branding cryptocurrencies and technology products, and brand equity using quantitative approaches.
  • Fahad Ibrahim considers big data and technology in marketing, social networks and relationship marketing, using quantitative methods (specialised in structural equation modelling).
  • Doga Istanbulluoglu’s areas of interest include online consumer behaviour, especially complaining, service recovery, and anti-consumption. She uses qualitative methods.  
  • Grigorios Lamprinakos researches consumer psychology, cognitive and metacognitive processes, persuasion, sustainable consumption and socially responsible behaviour using experimental designs.
  • Miriam McGowen’s research draws on consumer psychology perspectives to understand how social and situation factors impact consumer behaviour. She uses quantitative methods. 
  • Amin Nazifi’s research focuses on service failure and recovery, customer complaint management, customer satisfaction and loyalty, gamification, artificial intelligence, and consumer well-being using quantitative research methods and in particular experiments.
  •  Eric Shiu works on innovation in all aspects, as well as trust, agri-food and retailing, using experimental design, survey, interview, focus group, or a mix of these.
  • Weiyue Wang is interested in employee – organisation relationships, employee cognition, ethics and ethical behaviour, services marketing and service performance using quantitative methods.

Responsible and Critical Marketing Research Group

The Responsible and Critical Marketing Research Group aims to lead the academic development of knowledge of the subject, to contribute to the learning curriculum and reach out to those interested in improving marketing practices and standards. Research by members of the team covers areas of employee attitudes to responsibility, managerial and B2B ethics, responsible marketing and technology, consumer responsibility, marketing sustainability, base of the pyramid (BoP) marketing, market access and diversity, corporate social responsibility (CSR), marketing’s contribution to social and environmental elements of the ‘triple bottom line’ and responsible marketing education. The group are also interested in explicitly critical perspectives in marketing and consumer research.

  • Robert Cluley researches contemporary marketing practice, how marketers work and think, and the role of technology in marketing. His methods include ethnography, action research, psychoanalytic interviews, content analysis and semiotics, and psychometrics.  
  • Louise Hassan is interested in sustainability and health issues, including consumer decision-making or information processing from a consumer/social psychology perspective. Her methods focus on experimental approaches, but a wide range of methods acceptable.
  • Sheena Leek is interested in information technology within business relationships, social capital and branding, consumer confusion in high tech areas, and convenience and healthy eating. She uses a range of qualitative approaches.
  • Solon Magrizos  is interested in consumer happiness and wellbeing, responsible marketing, sustainable tourism, corporate social responsibility, ethical consumer behaviour, and responsible and irresponsible employees/employers. His research employs a wide range of qualitative/quantitative methods.
  • Scott McCabe works on responsible and ethical tourism, including negative and positive emotions associated with responsible behaviour, social tourism, tourism as an experience, and new methods of assessing ethical, green sustainable tourist consumption.
  • Mike Molesworth’s research takes a critical approach to consumption and marketing, especially aspects of new technologies. He uses interpretivist techniques, including netnography.
  • Fatos Ozkan Erciyas is interested in marketplace accessibility, inclusion and exclusion in marketing, and spaces and places of consumption, experiences of vulnerable/marginalized consumer groups.
  • Mike Saren is interested in supervising projects in heritage and identity, consumer culture and relationships and marketing technology using qualitative approaches. 
  • Emma Surman‘s research is in the areas of ethics and sustainability of consumption, sociology of consumption, and decolonisation using qualitative and creative methodologies.
  • Rohit Varman uses interpretive methodologies. His current inter-disciplinary research focuses on corporate violence, exploitation, modern slavery, and resistance to corporatization and marketization.

Doctoral researchers in Marketing are registered for a full time 3-year PhD or a part-time 6-year PhD. In the first year of the programme (first two years for those registered part-time) students are required to take 60 credits of core Research Methods modules from the MA Social Research programme. They are also recommended to take Advanced Training Modules from the MA Social Research Programme as appropriate to their research and training needs. Depending on their needs and accredited prior learning and subject to supervisory approval doctoral researchers can substitute 20 credits of the introductory MA Social research modules for Advanced Training Modules. By the end of their first year doctoral students will have completed an 8,000 word research proposal that they will present at the first annual review.  This forms the basis for supervised research over the remaining two years of the programme and the production of an 80,000 word thesis.

Applicants are urged to study the up-to-date profiles of individual staff members' research via their personal web pages. Each student will have two academic supervisors who will work with the students in their areas of expertise.  It is essential that students applying to the department recognise the expertise of their potential supervisor. It is possible to contact a potential supervisor to discuss the possibility of working with them and this communication would involve identifying the proposed research area and methods and identifying the link with the proposed supervisor’s work.  Current priority areas include:

Support and training

Birmingham Business School provides dedicated facilities, resources and support to postgraduate students and early career researchers which includes The Midlands Graduate School and Doctoral Training Centres and Programmes. Find out more.

Career prospects

The University of Birmingham has recently been ranked 9th in the UK and 55th in the world for post-qualification employability in a global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Recent PhD graduates from Birmingham Business School are working in central banks, Government departments, a variety of financial institutions, accountancy firms, supranational organisations and multinational corporations. Many of our PhD graduates also go on to forge successful academic careers in other top Universities.

Doctoral Research career assistance

The University of Birmingham has invested heavily in careers and employability support. The Careers Team have been praised for enhanced developments within their team and for adopting a model of integrated employability and internship support; something that has been rolled out and implemented across all Schools and Colleges at the University.

Doctoral researchers at Birmingham Business School benefit from its own well qualified dedicated Careers Team to support students with employment opportunities, work placements, internships and how to succeed at interview. In addition, a range of career management, personal development and employer events are run each year by the Careers in Business Team to help you make the most of the opportunities available.

The University also has dedicated careers advisors for international students who run workshops and networking opportunities with potential employers. These are especially popular with international postgraduate researchers.