Management (MPhil / PhD)

An MPhil/PhD is an advanced postgraduate research degree that requires original research and the submission of a substantial dissertation of 60,000 to 100,000 words. At Birkbeck, you are initially registered on an MPhil and you upgrade to a PhD after satisfactory progress in the first year or two. You need to find a suitable academic supervisor at Birkbeck, who can offer the requisite expertise to guide and support you through your research. Find out more about undertaking a research degree at Birkbeck.

The MPhil/PhD Management is ideal for those who wish to pursue academic careers involving teaching and research in management, or to further careers in consultancy or policy work. You will be required to be highly motivated, well organised, prepared to learn your subject in depth, and able to engage constructively and critically with a range of academic research related to your topic to complete an independent research project. 

Birkbeck's Department of Management has particular strengths in the study of innovation and entrepreneurship; marketing; labour economics and industrial relations; international business; corporate governance and corporate social responsibility; strategy as practice, organisation theory, information systems strategy, social networks, and trust within organisations; corporate finance and financial reporting; and the management and regulation of sport. Our research draws on the methods and theories of various social science disciplines - principally economics, psychology and sociology, but also geography and political science. 

During the first year you are required to take four modules for credit: Research PhilosophyQualitative Research MethodsPerspectives on Organization and Statistical Methods for Business Research. After these modules comes completion of your Research Prospectus, which includes a preliminary literature review and a plan for the rest of your thesis research. This is due in June of the first  year for full-time students, or of the second year for part-time students.

Satisfactory completion of the modules and the Research Prospectus is necessary for continuing with the degree. Following this you will proceed with data collection, analysis and writing your PhD thesis.

Highlights

  • The Department engages in significant collaborative research and has excellent contacts with many public and private sector organisations, professional bodies and researchers at other academic institutions.
  • Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • Staff in the Department have considerable strengths in both qualitative and quantitative methodologies which have been used in a wide variety of organisational settings. Actively engaged in their own research, they understand how important your research is to you, and aim to provide you with expert supervision and support.
  • We are recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council for PhD studentships. Such recognition is only given to those institutions which the ESRC regards as providing adequate levels of research support and training in a research-active environment.
  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    Here is the information we need in order to consider your application:

      1. Your academic record

          • You need to show good results from your first degree and Master’s - usually, that means at least a high 2:1/high merit in UK terms.
          • At least one of your previous degrees should be in an area relevant to your proposed research.
          • We do need transcripts (details of your marks) in addition to degree certificates.
          • In general we do not admit, directly to the PhD, students whose only Master’s degree is an MBA; if that is your situation we recommend that you do an MRes first - our MRes Management is one to consider.

            2. At least two letters of reference. These should be from people who can speak to your academic/research abilities. We need to have these letters before we offer a place on the PhD programme - we simply cannot evaluate the quality of your application without them. You provide the names and contact details of the referees on your application form; Birkbeck will contact the referees you have named, asking them for letters of reference. Be aware, though, that many referees won’t get around to this unless you remind them: check to see whether the letters have been uploaded, and be prepared to chase your referees to make sure they send the letters.

                3. A research proposal. You need to tell us what you want to do your research on, in about 1500 words. Find out what to include in your proposal.

                    4. A supervisor. Is there a member of our staff who has provisionally agreed to be your supervisor? Aside from being one of our conditions for admitting you, finding a suitable supervisor should be the most important consideration for you, in deciding where you want to do a PhD. It is in the mutual interest of you and your supervisor for both your research question and the research methods you use to fit well with the supervisor’s own work. Take a look at our list of supervisors under the Find a Supervisor tab; follow the links for those whose interests are close to yours, to find further details about their work and contact information. Send them an email, with a clear subject line, and attach your proposal.

                      If you submit an online application without first finding a supervisor who is willing to supervise you, we may be able to find you a supervisor, but this is unlikely. Most students who are accepted onto the MPhil/PhD programme have made contact with their supervisors directly; most who apply without first getting the support of a potential supervisor are rejected.

                      English language requirements

                      If English is not your first language, you must have the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests. We may waive this requirement if you have studied sufficiently long in an English-speaking country.

                      If you need to submit an English test result and you also need a visa to study in the UK and, then the test must be IELTS; if you don’t need a visa and have taken another test (e.g. TOEFL), please inquire to see if it’s one we’ll accept.

                      If you miss our minimum IELTS requirement narrowly, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

                      Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

                      Academic calendar and application deadlines

                      We generally admit students to begin at the start of autumn term (end of September). Occasionally, if circumstances require, we defer a student’s admission to the spring term (beginning of January), but the first year programme is structured around autumn entry.

                      You should have met with your prospective supervisor and submitted your application online by 30 June. We will try to process later applications, but we need to allow time both for interviews and, where necessary, visa-related paperwork.

                      Visa requirements

                      If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

                      The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

                      • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
                      • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
                      • Pre-sessional English language courses.

                      International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

                      For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

                    1. Fees

                      Fees

                      Part-time home/EU students: £2260 pa
                      Full-time home/EU students: £4260 pa
                      Part-time international students: £6225 pa
                      Full-time international students: £12325 pa

                      Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

                      Fees and finance

                      From 2018-19, PhD students resident in England can apply for government loans of up to £25,000 to cover the cost of tuition fees, maintenance and other study-related costs.

                      Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

                      Fees discounts: If you are a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.

                      The School of Business, Economics and Informatics attracts funding for studentships that ensure researchers of the highest standard can pursue their research with us. We offer a limited number of fully funded research opportunities.

                    2. Our Research Culture

                      Our Research Culture

                      Ideally, you should choose do a PhD in a department with fellow students doing research that is comparable to yours, and staff members who are specialists in areas related to your studies and in the methods you will be using.

                      Like most university departments of business or management, we are a multidisciplinary group of social scientists. The theories used by the various staff members and research students come from various academic disciplines: principally, but not limited to, sociology, psychology, anthropology and economics; correspondingly, we employ a range of both quantitative (ie statistical) and qualitative research methods.

                      We believe that the questions posed, and the methods used, by different social science disciplines can jointly contribute to a better understanding of the social world, including the problems of business and management; through our first-year research methods courses and our ongoing series of seminars, we encourage you to become familiar with a wide range of methods and research programmes. We believe that participation in this multidisciplinary research setting can help you become a better researcher.

                      But to do a PhD is also to become a specialist. You will need to specialise, and to find your community of specialists. That community typically begins with your principal supervisor and second supervisor, and perhaps a few other members of the department staff and research students who are working on related topics or who are using the same methods as you.

                      Within our Department there are several clusters of specialisation, most of them fitting within the following categories:

                      • International business; international business and innovation; international business and economic development
                      • Innovation: university-industry linkages; innovation policy; innovation measurement; technology management; local and regional economic development and regeneration
                      • Marketing, in particular brand management, digital marketing, consumer behaviour, and services/retail marketing
                      • Work: comparative employee and industrial relations; skills; labour markets in sport; executive pay; workplace learning
                      • Comparative corporate governance; corporate social responsibility
                      • Corporate finance; financial management; accounting
                      • Strategy as practice, organisation theory, information systems strategy, social networks
                      • Sport business management; the business and regulation of football; sport labour markets

                      Training and methodology

                      As a research student, you will follow an intensive research training programme during your first year of full-time study (first two years of part-time study). You will have the opportunity to present research papers in the research student seminars series.

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

                      As your work develops, you should also be developing a network of others who work in the same areas: researchers in other departments at Birkbeck, and at other institutions, near and far. Central London is, of course, the home of many of Britain's, and the world's, leading universities: there is no better place to build such networks.

                    3. How to apply

                      How to apply

                      You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course.

                      Prior to submitting your application, you need to complete the following:

                      Research proposal

                      Write a research proposal of approximately 1500 words. This won't be definitive as the project will continue to evolve but the proposal is important for finding a supervisor. Find out more more about what is required from the proposal.

                      Find a supervisor

                      You cannot be accepted onto the programme until a member of our academic staff agrees to supervise you. Moreover, the most important consideration for you, in deciding to apply to a PhD programme, should be that the programme has a suitable supervisor for you. It is in your interest, and in the supervisor's interest, if your research question and the methods you will use fit well with the supervisor's own work. Read through our list of supervisors; follow the links for those whose interests are close to yours, to find further details about their work and contact information. Contact them directly by email, attaching your proposal and with a relevant subject line.

                      Examples of recent research topics include:

                      • The management of military technology transfer to the UAE
                      • Family firm governance
                      • Corporate and non-profit organisational governance
                      • The impact of new media/technology on cultural institutions: a comparative study of dance companies and museums
                      • Collaborative behaviour of professional workers
                      • Politics of investing during the 1997 East Asian financial crisis
                      • The analysis of restructuring and performance of diversified business groups in South Korea
                      • Co-evolution of IPRs regime and techological development in developing countries under the TRIPS agreement.


                      Academic records

                      You need to provide evidence of results from your first degree and Master's; at least one of these should be in an area relevant to your proposed research. In general, we do not admit students for the PhD whose only Master's degree is an MBA; if that is your situation we recommend that you do an MRes first, such as Birkbeck's MRes Management.

                      References

                      Provide at least two references from those who can speak to your academic/research abilities. When you submit your application online, Birkbeck will contact the referees you have named, asking them for letters of reference.

                        Application deadlines and interviews

                        We generally admit students to begin at the start of autumn term (end of September). Occasionally, if circumstances require, we defer a student’s admission to the spring term (beginning of January), but the first year programme is structured around autumn entry.

                        You should have met with your prospective supervisor and submitted your application online by 30 June. We will try to process later applications, but we need to allow time both for interviews and, where necessary, visa-related paperwork.

                        If you wish to apply for funding, you will need to apply by certain deadlines. Consult the websites of relevant bodies for details.

                      • Finding a supervisor

                        Finding a supervisor

                        A critical factor when applying for postgraduate study in management is the correlation between the applicant’s intellectual and research interests and those of one or more potential supervisors within the Department.

                        Find out more about the research interests of our academic staff who may be available to supervise (either as principal supervisor or as co-supervisor) PhD theses:

                        ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

                        • Libon Fung, BSc, MSc, PhD, ACA: empirical studies in asset pricing models with emphasis on the size effect and other anomalies; theoretical and empirical development of rational speculative bubbles in stock prices; empirical research on the informational efficiency in developing stock markets; accounting numbers and standards in capital markets; mergers and acquisitions.
                        • Qian Guo, BSc, MSc, PhD: CAPM; stochastic differential equations; macro, international and financial economics; valuation of equity.
                        • Pierre Nadeau, BEng, MBA, PhD, IMC: entrepreneurial finance; venture capital/private equity; new venture investment management and performance; new venture risk management; the finance of innovation.
                        • Lorenzo Neri, BA, MSc, PhD: corporate governance; corporate disclosure strategy; earnings management; family business; risk reporting.
                        • Grace (Bo) Peng BSc/MPhil/PhD: entrepreneurial finance, entrepreneurial exit, and international entrepreneurship.
                        • Karin Shields, BA, MSc, PhD: International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS); earnings management; insider trading; financial reporting.
                        • Julian Sims, BA, PhD, CertEd: organisational aspects of the development and use of information systems; the use of social media, social commerce and communities of practice; strategic alignment; shared value as social construct.
                        • Ellen Pei-yi Yu, BSc, MSSocSc, PhD: ethical investment; financial reform and regulations; panel data econometrics; financial institutions management: Hybrid Bank Capital Securities and Executive Compensation Pay.

                        CORPORATE GOVERNANCE/CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY/SOCIAL CAPITAL

                        • Luca Andriani, BA, PGCert, MSc, PhD: informal institutions; pro-social behaviour; social capital; social trust and trust in public institutions; corruption; tax morale.
                        • Ioanna Boulouta, BEng, MPhil, PhD: corporate responsibility and competitiveness; gender diversity and stereotypes on corporate boards; quantitative methods; social marketing campaigns.
                        • Suzanne Konzelmann, BA, MIBS, MA, PhD: structuring the role of economic theory and policy; the interface between the financial and real sectors of the economy; industrial organisation and policy; corporate governance, restructuring and policy; the political economics of austerity.
                        • Professor Klaus Nielsen, BA, MSc: institutional economics; economic and industrial policy; social capital; innovation systems and competitiveness; new institutionalism in organisation theory; varieties of capitalism; the European Union as a business environment.
                        • Richard Tacon, BA, MSc, PhD: social capital, social interaction, social networks; sociology of sport; sport policy and development; corporate governance, especially in non-profit and sport organisations; organisational ethnography.
                        • Geoff Walters, BSc, MA, PGCE: HE, PhD: corporate governance in sport; board processes; organisational responses to corporate responsibility and sustainability; the governance and management of social partnerships.

                        EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS/HUMAN RESOURCES/LABOUR MARKETS/EDUCATION

                        • Rebecca Gumbrell-McCormick, BA, MA, PhD: international and European employment relations; international trade unionism and globalisation; equal opportunities and diversity management; employee participation and economic and industrial democracy.
                        • Frederick Guy, BS, PhD: labour economics: risk, insurance and investment in human capital; surveillance technology and wages; CEO pay; economic geography: clusters, agglomeration economies, knowledge spillovers; retail, road traffic and competition: local and global environmental impacts of retail business models.
                        • Professor John Kelly, BSc, PhD: industrial relations; trade unions and human resource management.
                        • Ashok Kumar, MSc, DPhil: economic geography and international political economy; globalisation and global value chains; identity formation and social movements; industrial relations and Labour's bargaining power; land economics and urban subjectivity.
                        • Nick Pronger: work-based learning; small business management; marketing; skills acquisition; developing experience in the workplace.
                        • Giambattista Rossi, BA, MSc, PhD: labour and transfer markets in professional sport; role of sport agents, third party ownership in football; sport finance; sport corporate governance.
                        • Anita Walsh NTF: work-based learning; experiential learning; pedagogies to support experiential work-based learning; practitioner research.
                        • Ellen Pei-yi Yu, BSc, MSSocSc, PhD: ethical investment; financial reform and regulations; panel data econometrics; financial institutions management: Hybrid Bank Capital Securities and Executive Compensation Pay.

                        INNOVATION

                        • Professor Birgitte Andersen, BA, MA, MSc, PhD: the economics and management of intellectual property rights (IPRs); innovation, technological change and corporate competitiveness; intellectual capital and intangible assets; institutions and e-business environments; creative industries, the information and communication technology sector, and service industries.
                        • Professor Daniele Archibugi, BA, DPhil: innovation and technological change; global governance and its economic and political management; public policy for services, global commons and science and technology; international organisations and global democracy.
                        • Marion Frenz, Dipl-Kffr, MSc, PhD: innovation, globalisation and economic recovery; the role of internationalisation in innovation; conceptualisation and measurement of absorptive capacity.
                        • Frederick Guy, BS, PhD: labour economics: risk, insurance and investment in human capital; surveillance technology and wages; CEO pay; economic geography: clusters, agglomeration economies, knowledge spillovers; retail, road traffic and competition: local and global environmental impacts of retail business models.
                        • Odile Janne, MA, PhD: multinational enterprises, innovation and economic development; corporate technological and innovation strategies; international patenting strategies; subsidiaries strategy; multinationals, location decisions, geography; regional innovation and growth; multinational networks.
                        • Professor Helen Lawton Smith, BSc, DPhil: innovation; entrepreneurship; scientific labour markets; geographies of innovation; university-industry linkages; scientific labour markets; regional, national and international innovation policy frameworks.
                        • Professor Klaus Nielsen, BA, MSc: institutional economics; economic and industrial policy; social capital; innovation systems and competitiveness; new institutionalism in organisation theory; varieties of capitalism; the European Union as a business environment.
                        • Federica Rossi, BSc, MSc, PhD: economics and management of intellectual property rights; economics and governance of higher education; innovation activities of firms and networks of firms; science, technology and innovation policy; university-industry linkages and innovation.
                        • Muthu (Lasandahasi Ranmuthumalie) de Silva, MBA, PhD: entrepreneurship; co-creation and collaboration; university-business interactions; intermediation and intermediaries; knowledge-based interactions.

                        INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

                        • Professor Daniele Archibugi, BA, DPhil: innovation and technological change; global governance and its economic and political management; public policy for services, global commons and science and technology; international organisations and global democracy.
                        • Marion Frenz, Dipl-Kffr, MSc, PhD: innovation, globalisation and economic recovery; the role of internationalisation in innovation; conceptualisation and measurement of absorptive capacity.
                        • Professor Kevin Ibeh, BSc, MBA, MSc, PhD: small firm internationalisation and international entrepreneurship; international expansion of developing country/emerging market firms; export behaviour and performance.
                        • Odile Janne, MA, PhD: multinational enterprises, innovation and economic development; corporate technological and innovation strategies; international patenting strategies; subsidiaries strategy; multinationals, location decisions, geography; regional innovation and growth; multinational networks.
                        • Professor Xiaming Liu, PhD: foreign direct investment; multinational corporations; technology transfer and spill-over; internationalisation and economic growth.
                        • Paz Estrella Tolentino, BSc, MA, PhD: theory and history of foreign direct investment and the multinational enterprise; national and international policies governing foreign direct investment; international business history; national and international policies; international businesses of various forms: trade, licensing, management contracts etc; economic development; economics of innovation and technological transfer, and in relation to multinational enterprises.
                        • Ashok Kumar, MSc, DPhil: economic geography and international political economy; globalisation and global value chains; identity formation and social movements; industrial relations and Labour's bargaining power; land economics and urban subjectivity.

                        MARKETING

                        • Professor George Christodoulides, BSc, MSc, PhD: brand management; digital marketing and cross-national research; the influence of interactive, technologies on consumer-brand relationships.
                        • Wendy Hein, BA, PhD: consumer behaviour; consumer culture theory (CCT) and interpretive consumer research; gender, identities and consumption practices; ethnography and interdisciplinary research.
                        • Dan Nunan, BSc, MSc, MRes, PhD: research ethics; digital marketing; big data and analytics; small firm growth.
                        • Olivier Sibai, MA, MSc, PhD: digital marketing; conflict, violence and social control in the market place; consumer culture theory (CCT) and interpretive consumer research; play and games in consumption; (dis)embodiment in consumption.
                        • Peter Trim, BSc, MSc, MBA, MEd, PhD, MIMgt, FRSA, FHEA: marketing; strategic marketing; corporate intelligence and national security; international marketing.
                        • Bruno Schivinski, BSc, MA, PhD: consumer behaviour; brand management; digital marketing; influence of interactive technologies on consumer-brand relationships; quantitative research.

                        ORGANISATION THEORY, ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR AND STRATEGY

                        • Rebecca Bednarek, BA, BCom, PhD: micro-practices of organisations and markets: financial markets, specifically the reinsurance industry, practices through which markets are constructed, using a social-practice theory and social studies of finance perspective. Strategising in pluralistic and complex organisational settings; paradox theory. Organisational ethnography.
                        • Ian Harrison, BSc, MBA, PhD: strategy.
                        • Julian Sims, BA, PhD, CertEd: social networking and communities of practice; the digital divide and social exclusion; organisational aspects of the development and use of information systems; strategic alignment; shared value as social construct.
                        • Pamela Yeow, BSc, MSc, PhD: change management; attitude-behaviour gap; leadership and trust; ethics.
                        • Sorin Piperca, PhD: strategic changes in (temporary) organisations; structuring processes and episodes; unexpected/disruptive events; management of multi-actor projects; interorganisational collaborations; knowledge production.

                        SPORT MANAGEMENT

                        • Sean Hamil, BA, MSc: governance and regulation of sport organisations, in particular sport governing bodies; the regulations and design of sporting competitions.
                        • Giambattista Rossi, BA, MSc, PhD: labour and transfer markets in professional sport; role of sport agents, third party ownership in football; sport finance; sport corporate governance.
                        • Richard Tacon, BA, MSc, PhD: social capital, social interaction, social networks; sociology of sport; sport policy and development; corporate governance, especially in non-profit and sport organisations; organisational ethnography.
                        • Geoff Walters, BSc, MA, PGCE: HE, PhD: corporate governance in sport; board processes; organisational responses to corporate responsibility and sustainability; the governance and management of social partnerships.