How to apply for a research degree at Birmingham Business School

Potential candidates will need to complete the University’s Application for Doctoral Study. Applications will be assessed on:

  • The quality of the student’s academic achievements and preparedness for doctoral study
  • The quality of the research proposal
  • The potential to contribute to cutting edge research
  • The match of the proposal to areas of research strength within the Birmingham Business School

A crucial element of the PhD application is the research proposal. We recognise that research proposals are likely to evolve and change after registration; this initial proposal is used to determine the candidate’s potential for research at doctoral level, to ensure that the proposed topic is suitable for an in-depth study and to determine the availability of academics who will supervise the research. You should write a minimum of 3,500 words (excluding references) and no more than 5,000 words (excluding references), using the following layout:

Title: The title of proposed thesis.

Introduction: The background to the research topic and why you have chosen it; the specific problem/s or question/s the study will address; the research aims and objectives and any hypotheses or research propositions; the expected contribution to scholarship/knowledge (applied and/or theoretical).

Literature: A review of the important literature relating to your proposed topic, which demonstrates up-to-date knowledge of the research field; justifies the choice of research topic; highlights the original contribution your research is likely to make, for example highlight the gap in current knowledge you intend to fill.

Methodology: The type of data (qualitative/quantitative/both), material or resources the study will use and how you will gather them; how you will analyse the data/material once they have been collected; ethical considerations that are likely to be involved in the study; justification for your choice of methodology/ies.

Plan and timetable: A realistic proposed work plan and timetable.

References: The proposal should be referenced correctly with all sources acknowledged.