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PhD Admission Guide

This application guide provides information on the key stages in making an application to study for a PhD at King’s Business School and on the admission and funding deadlines. Please read this information carefully as failure to meet the requirements outlined below may jeopardise your application. 

* Be sure to speak with a supervisor before submitting your application.

Application and funding deadlines

For entry to the King’s Business School PhD Programme for October 2024/25, the following application and funding deadlines apply:

15 December 2023 Round 1: Applications for King’s Business School Studentships and applicants who don’t require funding.


2 January 2024 If you are eligible to apply for King’s-China Scholarship Council
Usually late January If you are eligible to apply for an ESRC LISS-DTP Studentship
1 June 2024 Round 2: Applications for those who don’t require funding.
How to apply: A step-by-step guide


1. Check that you meet our entry requirements

Academic standards

You should hold, or be completing, a Master's degree with a Merit or higher (or overseas equivalent) and  have achieved a 2:1 Bachelor's degree (or overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject.

International applicants can check the equivalence of their degrees. If you can't find your country or qualification in the list or would like to check the status of your institution with us, please contact the Admissions Office for further advice.

King’s does not require standardised tests such as the GRE or GMAT, but some supervisors may request these scores for information.

English language requirements

If you are a native English speaker or have been awarded a degree within the last five years from one of the countries listed here, you may not be required to take an English language test. English language competency is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

If your first language is not English you must be able to provide recent evidence that your spoken and written command of the English language is adequate for the programmes for which you have applied. Check our English language requirements here (Band B). You can use our pre-sessional English calculator to check if your language scores meet our requirements.

Please note, we cannot review individual eligibility before you apply and are only able to consider complete applications which include all supporting documents.

2. Contact potential supervisor(s)

Support from a supervisor with the right expertise for your project is essential to success in your doctoral studies. For your application to be considered you must identify a lead supervisor who shares an interest in your proposed area of research.

You sould contact potential supervisors to discuss your research proposal before applying. If they are interested, they will invite you for an interview. 

You will work closely with your lead supervisor for several years, so it is essential to ensure that you have similar research interests and aims for the project. Before approaching a potential supervisor, read some of their publications on their Research Profiles to see if they undertake work in an area relevant to you. This will help you to decide whether they are the right fit for you and your project. When approaching a potential supervisor, it is important to show an appreciation of their research expertise and interests.

Details of research undertaken within the School can be found by exploring our departments and academic staff pages. All of our faculty members are research active and the majority of them are available to supervise doctoral students.

When you have identified a supervisor you would like to work with, please email them, and include the following information in your message:

  • A short message explaining your background, research interests and why you are interested in undertaking a PhD
  • An explanation of why you think they are the right supervisor for your project, demonstrating your familiarity with their research work
  • A copy of your CV
  • An early draft of your research proposal (usually about one page). Have a look at Section 3 for details on what to include in your proposal

If you do not send this information you may not get a response to your email, as without these details it will not be possible for a supervisor to assess whether they will be able to supervise your project.

It is fine to send queries to more than one supervisor, but please do not send blanket email requests to more than four academics at a time. These are unlikely to receive a response.

If you do not receive a response from your preferred supervisor after a week, then feel free to send them a reminder. If you still do not receive a response, you can still submit your application and include the name your preferred supervisor in your application. Your application may be considered.

If a supervisor is interested they will invite you for an interview and all applications are reviewed at School level. Please note that a supervisor’s agreement to supervise you does not guarantee entry to the programme. You must submit an online application with all of the required documents before the School is able to make a full assessment of your suitability.

3. Develop your proposal

A PhD proposal is an outline of your proposed project. It is arguably the most important part of your PhD application. The admissions committee will be assessing your expertise in your chosen research area, your knowledge of the literature, the quality and originality of your ideas, whether your project is a good fit with your proposed supervisor and the research strengths of the School, and the feasibility of your project.

The proposal should be approximately 1,500 words in length plus references, and should be structured using the following headings:

  1. Title
  2. Introduction: To set up a clear research problem/question and its wider significance
  3. Background: To provide a short literature review that analyses the state-of-the-art in the field and explains how the project will add to and/or challenge existing literature
  4. Objectives: To state the main objectives of the project
  5. Methods: To explain the methods you plan to use, including sources of, or means of collecting, data
  6. Implications: To highlight the anticipated academic and applied contributions of the project
  7. References

You are advised to contact prospective supervisors before finalising your proposal in case they have any advice about how to refine it and so you can ensure your research fits well with the expertise of your supervisor.

It is understood that your project will evolve during the course of your PhD, so the proposal is necessarily speculative. We do not expect you to be able to answer your research question(s) at the application stage. Likewise, some of the methods you may want to use will work, and some of them may not. Nonetheless it is important to try and be as specific as you can about the project’s objectives, methods and anticipated outcomes.

4. Write your Personal Statement

We ask that you also write a short supporting statement (c. 500 words) explaining:

  • Your motivation for applying for a PhD
  • Why you are well suited to undertaking a PhD (appropriate expertise, personal skills, etc.)
  • What you are hoping to do after you complete your PhD
  • Why you have selected your preferred supervisor(s)
  • Why King’s Business School is the best place for you to undertake your project

5. Apply online

Submit your application via King’s Apply, our online application portal. Select either Management Studies Research MPhil/PhD (Full Time) or Management Studies Research MPhil/PhD (Part Time) depending on your preferred mode of study. Please note that only applicants for Full Time study are eligible for a King’s Business School studentship.

Your application requires the following:

  • Research proposal of 1,500 words, to be uploaded on the portal
  • The name of your preferred supervisor
  • Personal statement of 500 words, to be pasted in the ‘Supporting Statement’ box
  • One academic reference which is recent and valid. You can invite your referee to upload their reference directly or you can upload copies of the reference letter to the online application form
  • A sample of your previous written work (typically, your Master’s dissertation)
  • English language test certificate, unless you meet the criteria for an exemption.Valid degree transcripts for both undergraduate and master’s degrees, which include marksheets showing all modules taken and marks received. If your transcripts are not in English, please provide an official translation
  • Details on how you will fund your studies. If you are applying for a King’s College London studentship you must enter the scholarship code details in the online form

6. Apply for funding

Most PhD students require funding to support their studies. To increase your chances of securing funding, we strongly encourage you to apply to all studentship competitions for which you are eligible.

A variety of competitions are open to students accepted to the King’s Business School PhD Programme and a comprehensive database of studentships is available through the Centre for Doctoral Studies. Some of the key competitions include:

King’s Business School Studentships

Open to all full-time applicants to the PhD Programme, regardless of fee status, King’s Business School studentships pay fees in full and an annual stipend. Applicants to the King’s Business School studentships are expected to also apply to any other King’s studentships for which they are eligible. The competition opens in early October each year.

Please let your supervisor know if you are interested in applying to the King's Business School Studentships and ensure you submit your online application via King’s Apply by 15 December 2023 at 17.00 (5pm).

Please contact The PhD Team at if you have any questions.

London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (LISS-DTP) Studentships

These studentships, funded by the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council, are available to Home and International students (including EU students). The deadline is TBC, but usually late January 2024.

King’s China Council Scholarships

Open to citizens and permanent residents of the People’s Republic of China, these scholarships provide international fees, an annual living allowance and visa application fees. To apply mention the relevant scholarship code when you submit your online application to King’s Apply, and fill out the CSC application form (available online). The deadline is usually in early January.

After you apply

Use King’s Apply you can track the status of your application, view your offer details and upload supporting documents such as English language test results.

The application process can take four to eight weeks depending on the time of year. Please note that an incomplete application will delay the decision-making process.

If you have any queries about your application, you can contact Admissions directly through your King’s Apply Account using the messaging service (admissions does not communicate through email about applications)

Receiving an offer

All shortlisted applications are reviewed at School level and if your application is successful, you will either receive an unconditional or conditional offer at the end of March 2024 for Round 1 and end of June for Round 2. A conditional offer will outline certain requirements which you must fulfil before you can be admitted to the programme.

If you decide to accept the offer, you will need make the offer ‘firm’ on your King’s Apply Account. You can still do this if your offer is conditional and when all conditions are met the status of your application will change to unconditional.

You will start to receive specific programme Information from the Research Officer in the summer before the programme starts in October.

Do you have a question?

If you have a query which is not answered on this page, or to find out more about supervisors currently taking on PhD students, please contact