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Read more about the PhD journey

Roadmap of the full-time PhD programme

Our programme is tailored to allow you to develop the knowledge and skills you need to become an expert in your field of study and enhance your research project.

Year one

Students start working on their PhD project with their supervisors from the first day of the programme. In addition, all students are required to take two core courses and two optional courses. All courses are assessed.

Core Courses:

Understanding your discipline

Research within Business Schools varies enormously in scope, style and research perspective. The aim of this module is to provide students with knowledge of the key debates and theoretical perspectives within the social sciences; to improve their abilities to evaluate academic papers critically; and to develop an understanding of different approaches to writing effective literature reviews in the social sciences.

Understanding research practice

This course aims to provide a thorough grounding in concrete research practice. It gives students the opportunity to develop generic and transferable research skills relevant to PhD projects and, indeed, research careers. The course will include workshops on: what a completed PhD looks like; research ethics & data management; project planning and funding; conferences and networking; journal reviews and publications; research impact; careers related to your PhD; writing, presenting, and disseminating research.

Examples of optional courses:

  • Research design, data collection & management
  • Advanced statistical analysis
  • Advanced qualitative analysis
  • Econometrics
  • Financial modelling and analysis
  • Advanced macroeconomics
  • Advanced microeconomics

Throughout the first year, students can take additional courses in their specialist subject areas of interest, drawing on a range of MSc level modules available through the School, as well as through short courses and workshops offered by the Centre for Doctoral Studies and the LISS-DTP.


Towards the end of the first year or, more usually, the start of the second, each student submits a 15-20,000 word upgrade report to explain the research s/he plans to develop into the full PhD thesis. This is examined by an upgrade panel and it includes an oral examination. While progress is monitored throughout the programme, this is a key milestone.

Years two, three (& four)

After the first year, students may take additional advanced research courses if necessary for their research. However, they focus primarily on their own research project, continuing to work closely with their supervisors.

Students at this stage should be participating in seminars and workshops in their subject group and in the School. Students are also encouraged to present their work at international conferences and, as they progress further, develop publications to be submitted to academic journals.

By the end of year three, students can submit their thesis, but the majority of students will go into a fourth year to complete their write up.


The PhD thesis must not exceed 100,000 words and it is submitted no later than the end of the 4th Year. It must be a significant and substantial contribution to your research area. Furthermore, it should be good enough to be published in book form or as a series of academic articles.