MSc by Research (Taxation)

MSc (Research) – minimum duration of 1 years and a maximum of 2 years.
Course Type
Postgraduate, Continuing professional development, Doctoral research

MSc by Research Taxation (Research) is unique in the UK. It provides a route to obtain an MSc degree by production of a research thesis over a period up to 2 years (full time) or up to 4 years (part time).

The University of Birmingham has a long tradition of business research, with roots dating back to the appointment of the country's first Professor of Accounting, we have a longstanding history of researching and teaching in the area of accounting and finance. Taxation has been a field we have taught and researched actively for more than 20 years. You would therefore be joining and benefiting from a very active research community in participating in this programme.

Where the research subject matter chosen lends itself, students may also become members of the CHASM research centre – a joint venture between the Business School and the School of Social Policy, one of the leading such Schools in the UK. This Centre focuses on personal asset management, financial capability, inclusion and welfare inequality issues producing policy relevant output in each of these areas, so subjects including personal and wealth taxation and the impact of tax on the individual and household would fit into this Centre’s interest. Other subjects are of course however, equally suitable to this programme.

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Standard fees apply.
Learn more about fees and funding 

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

For further information contact the School directly or

How To Apply

A research proposal will need to submitted alongside completing the applications process.

Learn more about applying

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

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Our Standard Requirements

A good first degree is required and/or suitable professional qualification (eg membership of a tax, legal or accounting professional body of equivalent status to organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Law Society, ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA, ICAS, ICAI, ICAEW etc ) with adequate practical post qualification experience (a minimum of 3 years would be normally expected). Some UK presence during the programme will be normally expected as part of your research supervision.

Learn more about entry requirements.

International Requirements

International Students

International students can only apply to study full time.

English requirement - IELTS 7 with no less than 6.5 in any band or equivalent. 

IELTS 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 95 overall with no less than 22 in any band
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): PTE Academic 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 areas of Taxation research undertaken by our staff include:

  • Impact of taxation on the decision-making behaviour of individuals and businesses;
  • role for and development of tax policy (particularly wealth and capital taxation);
  • taxation in global trade;
  • tax education;
  • tax law;
  • tax history;
  • Philosophies of tax.

The acceptable research topic areas must be closely related to taxation. For example, to include one or more of the following topics;

  • The impact of taxation on the decision-making behaviour of individuals and businesses (e.g. consumption behaviours, tax planning etc);
  • role for and development of effective tax policy;
  • development of tax administration systems;
  • tax education;
  • international taxation;
  • comparative taxation;
  • the politics of taxation;
  • economic psychology of taxation;
  • taxation in developing countries;
  • understanding patterns of tax compliance, avoidance and evasion;
  • tax and governance;
  • tax and social policy (other tax topics may also be suitable);
  • institutions of taxation;
  • adjudication or dispute resolution.

Personal experience of working in the proposed topic area of study is desirable.

Please note that while applicants should create a reasoned proposal of study as part of the application process, it should be expected that this would be refined in conjunction with the allocated supervisors if successful in being offered a place on this programme.

The subject matter of your thesis must be related to taxation, but the focus of the specific topic chosen would be by agreement between the student and the supervisors as part of the application and registration process.

A research proposal is necessary as part of the application process for this programme (find out more about producing a suitable research proposal), and a Skype or telephone interview (or face to face if needed) is likely to be required as part of the registration process to be accepted onto this programme.

If accepted, students can expect to have two supervisors, one a subject expert in the chosen area of taxation (who would act as the lead supervisor), and one with wider taxation knowledge to support the contextualisation and application of the work more generally. The subjects chosen for the work would be expected to study the leading edge of thinking in the various fields of taxation. Where needed research training will be made available to the student.

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. Click to find out more.

If I gain a postgraduate research degree from Birmingham Business School, what are my 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.

Birmingham’s Business graduates are sought after by a wide range of financial, commercial and public sector employers. They can typically offer a wide range of skills including analytical & research, numeracy, communication, team working and political & commercial awareness.

For those entering employment after graduating, traditionally popular areas include banking, accountancy/professional services and financial services. Many of our programmes involve studying towards a professional qualification. Outside of these areas, options include teaching abroad and retail management. Many Masters by Research graduates also go on to forge successful academic careers of their own in teaching and academic research.

What type of career assistance is available to Masters by Research students in Birmingham Business School?

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.

Masters by Research students at Birmingham Business School will benefit from this additional investment; the school now has 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 MSc by Research students.

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