The University of Southampton
Southampton Business SchoolPostgraduate study

Research Degree PhD

The University of Southampton is one of the UK’s top 15 research universities. We are a member of the influential Russell Group – an association of 20 major UK research universities. The Southampton Business School’s PhD programme has been awarded +3 recognition for full-time students by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and has also received research studentships from ESRC and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for its doctoral programme.

Introducing your degree

All students wishing to complete a PhD at the Southampton Business School must register for our PhD in Business Studies and Management. PhD applications will be considered in any research area of: accounting, financial markets and banking, entrepreneurship, innovation, strategy, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, accountability and governance, human resources management, organisational behaviour, information technology/systems, management science, operational research, supply chain management, risk management, digital and data driven marketing and health management.

Importance is placed on ensuring adequate academic supervision, hence we carefully examine your proposed area of research study in order to ensure that such supervision is readily available.

Overview

In order to have an appreciation of the research expertise available and research undertaken at the Southampton Business School you may visit our six Departments and Research Centres.

Southampton Business School’s Departments

Interdisciplinary research across Departments is also undertaken through the following Research Centres

View the programme specification document for this course.

Programme Structure

As a research student you will be directly enrolled on the PhD programme and your progress will be formally reviewed three times throughout the PhD candidature.

Minimum registration periods are two and three years respectively for the full-time and part-time candidatures. In practice you should expect to spend at least one more year of study than these minimum periods. All PhD students are required to attend a designated training course in quantitative and qualitative research methods in the first year of their PhD candidature. Passing such a training course is one of the compulsory requirements prior to the confirmation of the PhD status in year two (or three for part-time students) of the candidature. Depending on the topic of the research project, supervisors may recommend and ask that additional research training is attended in the University or elsewhere.

The Southampton Business School encourage students to seek constant feedback on their research work through presentation of their work at regular departmental seminars, School bi-annual PhD conference and prestigious national and international conferences. Each year a standard research allowance is made available to all students to support their field work and attendance of conferences. An additional conference research fund is available throughout the year to cover the costs of very expensive conferences; allocation of the funding is made on a competitive basis provided specific merit criteria are met. Students are also encouraged to submit papers to top-ranked peer reviewed journals for publication. Should their papers be accepted for publication students are rewarded with additional research funding. 

Typical key stages for full-time PhD candidature

Year 1

  • By the end of month 3 of commencing the programme, research students should have completed their training needs analysis, begun participation in relevant research seminars offered by the Southampton Business School (SBS), and confirmed the full supervisory team
  • Students will also need to have sat MANG7001 (the training course in quantitative and qualitative research methods), the only compulsory module in the PhD Programme, assessed 100% by coursework and a successfully pass is a pre-requisite for confirmation of the PhD candidature in Year 2 (pro-rata for part-time students)
  • Students are expected to have passed the first formal progression review between months 8 and 10 of the PhD candidature (pro-rata for part-time students). The formal progression review involves a Viva with an independent assessor and the leading supervisor. Should this fail only one more attempt is allowed before the end of month 12 (pro-rata for part-time students)
  • The assessment of the second attempt of the first progression review will lead to one of the following recommendations: 
    • to progress to the next stage of candidature;
    • to terminate the student's candidature.
  • Students are required to complete 3 monthly activity reports on a regular basis. Failure to comply with such requirement results in the breach of the University regulations.

Year 2

  • Independent study and research, research seminars, attendance of conferences, presenting papers at relevant doctoral colloquiums and academic conferences, and regular supervision meetings continue throughout the second year.
  • Data collection and analysis is expected to be undertaken to an adequate extent.
  • Between 18–21 months of the candidature (pro-rata for part-time students) the candidate is required to submit a mini-thesis for the second formal progression review (also called ‘confirmation’ of the PhD status).
  • A viva voce takes place in the second formal progression review with two independent assessors. Students must demonstrate they have the potential to undertake independent research and produce a doctoral level thesis within the timescale of the programme. Should the first attempt fail a second attempt is allowed before the end of month 24 of the PhD candidature (pro-rata for part-time students).
  • In order for the PhD status to be confirmed, the following criteria must be met:
    • that the research student has demonstrated the ability to manage the research project, to become proficient in the special field of research involved, and to achieve success at PhD level given adequate motivation and perseverance
    • that the project being undertaken is of sufficient scope, originality and theoretical interest to constitute a genuine contribution to the subject in the form of the understanding of a problem, the advancement of knowledge or the generation of new ideas.
  • The second formal progression review (confirmation) will also conduct the academic needs analysis. By the date of the second formal progression review, the candidate is required to have completed the Ethics 1 module (online) and pass MANG7001.
  •  
  • The second Confirmation panel may make one of three recommendations
    • the PhD candidature is confirmed
    • the research student is transferred to an MPhil programme
    • the research student's candidature is terminated.
  • In year 2 students are required to complete the three monthly activity reports on a regularly basis.

Year 3

  • Evidence of continued progress is provided by publications and presentations in a suitable venue (e.g. an international conference).
  • Students are expected to complete all empirical work and write up of the thesis
  • The target date for submission of the thesis is the end of year 3 (pro-rata for part-time students)
  • Between months 30 and 33 of the PhD candidature (pro-rata for part-time students) there will be a formal progression review meeting which involves a Viva, based on the research student's written submission (first full draft of the PhD thesis). It will also include a review of the academic needs analysis.
  • Should the first attempt of the third formal progression review fail, a second attempt is allowed between the end of month 36 (pro-rata for part-time students)
  • The third progression review will lead to one of the following recommendations: 
    • to progress to the final stage of candidature
    • to transfer to MPhil candidature
    • to terminate the student's candidature
  • In year 3 students are required to complete the three monthly activity reports on a regularly basis.

Year 4

  • Final thesis must be submitted at the latest by the end of the 48th month of the PhD candidature (pro-rata for part-time students)
  • Final examination of the thesis via Viva takes place. Potential outcomes will be:
    • award of the PhD
    • award of the PhD subject to minor corrections to the thesis
    • major revision of the thesis with the award of the PhD subject to a further examination
    • rejection of the thesis and no award of the PhD. In this case an MPhil may be awarded based on earlier performance. 

Supervisory arrangements

Your supervisor team will be made up of at least one main supervisor and a co-supervisor. At least one member of the supervisory team will have supervised other research students to successful completion. The main supervisor is responsible for the day-to-day supervision of your progress and specific academic guidance on the topic, direction of research and the structure of the thesis. The remaining members of your supervisory team, including your co-supervisor, are chosen in consultation with the main supervisor as having interests and expertise relevant to the topic of your research. Where appropriate they may be drawn from other schools.

Please also refer to academic profiles for identifying prospective supervisors whose areas of research interest match yours.

Key Facts

Programme Duration: 

  • Full-time - Maximum 4 years (minimum 2 years)
  • Part-time - Maximum 7 years (minimum 3 years)

Director of Programme

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

Applicants will normally be expected to have

  • a Bachelor degree, normally with at least upper second class honours or equivalent, in a relevant subject;
  • a relevant Master's qualification normally with at least upper second class honours or equivalent, in a relevant subject.

International applications
If English is not your first language, you will need to demonstrate that you have reached a satisfactory standard in an approved English language test. The following minimum scores are accepted for direct entry:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, listening and speaking

All tests must be no more than two years old at the time of enrolment.

The requirement for the IELTS may be exempted provided you have successfully completed a degree at a university in the UK or another English speaking country and your English is deemed as satisfactory by the prospective supervisors at the interview stage. Yet, such  degree should not be older than two years prior to the enrolment on the PhD programme.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Modules

Typical course content

Only one taught module must be taken (in year 1). Students must pass this module in order to proceed with their studies.

Year 1

Semester One
Compulsory

In addition, following the training needs assessment, students are likely to be recommended to attend other modules and/or training programmes in the Business School or in other Schools, including the Graduate School. The rest of the programme is research-oriented,with students conducting original research under the guidance of their supervisors.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate research degrees vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees

Funding

Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

Study locations

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