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Why study at Birkbeck?

Surrounded by other colleges in the University of London and based in central London, Birkbeck offers access to a wealth of world-class research resources.

Superb library access

As a Birkbeck student, you will have access to:

Research seminars

As a research student, you will be invited to attend research student seminars. These seminars are held four or five times each term and take place in the evening.

Research training

Unless you already hold a master's degree approved by the Economic and Social Research Council for research training purposes, you will follow an intensive research training programme during your first year (full-time) or two years (part-time). Training is organised in collaboration with other Birkbeck and University of London departments which offer research degrees in the field of management.

Excellent supervision by research active staff

Our academic staff are actively engaged in their own research and understand how important your research is to you, and aim to provide expert supervision and support to students pursuing research degrees.

What do I need to study a PhD?

To be considered, you will need to demonstrate:

  • appropriate academic qualifications this will usually be a first degree at upper second class honours or equivalent  and a Masters at Merit level or above with a substantial research component in disciplines relevant to the proposed area of research
  • evidence of the ability to undertake the proposed research
  • an awareness of additional research training needs
  • a realistic understanding of the depth and breadth of MPhil and PhD research
  • motivation to bring the proposed project to successful completion in the required time (PhD: four years maximum full-time; seven years maximum part-time). In the case of part-time students, we will also need evidence that you can devote sufficient time to study and that these circumstances are not likely to change significantly for the period of the MPhil/PhD
  • ability and agreement to attend taught courses, research student seminars and other forms of research training deemed necessary by the School

Please note: In order to be admitted directly onto our doctoral programme, you should normally have successfully completed an ESRC-approved training programme at a university, in an appropriate field of study.

Students without a relevant Master's qualification are not admitted directly to the PhD programme. In the case of a student who has successfully completed a relevant Master's programme that is not part of an ESRC-recognised research training programme, the School MPhil/PhD Committee considers, on the basis of submitted course details and references, whether the student's training needs would be better met by taking a further Master's degree (typically our MRes degree) or by taking a more limited programme of formal study in the first year of the doctorate.

What do I need to think about before submitting my application?

Below are some of the issues you must consider before submitting an application.

  1. Have you already talked to a potential supervisor and/or the MPhil/PhD Programme Director about your application?
    • If no, you are strongly advised to do so before formally applying.
  2. Do you have a preference for a particular supervisor and if so why?
  3. Why do you want to do MPhil/PhD?
  4. What previous experience do you have of conducting research?
    • This could include experience in employment or as a student. Please consider the full range of research experience, including conducting literature searches and reviews, designing studies, collecting and analysing data, etc.
  5. Are you aware of what completing a UK MPhil or PhD thesis requires?
  6. As part of the MPhil/PhD programme, you are required to attend various taught courses, seminars and other forms of research training.
    • Are you able and prepared to commit to attending taught courses?
    • Do you envisage any problem in doing so?
  7. For part-time students only. Being a part-time student means devoting an average of around 16 hours per week to study. What specific plans have you made for managing your time to allow for this? What experience, if any, do you have of undertaking part-time study whilst managing other commitments?

Further Support

Code of practice for research degrees.