Start date:
Five to six years
Applications are now closed
Fully funded
London, UK

A fully-funded PhD for aspiring scholars seeking an academic career 

We believe that rigorous academic analysis can provide practical solutions to complex problems in society. Our fully-funded PhD programme provides students with the opportunity to conduct their own research in a world-leading university, finding solutions to key challenges in modern business. As a Business School, we rank first in the UK for research environment and second for management and business students, while Imperial College London ranks first in the UK overall for research (REF 2021). 

Starting with a one or two-year Master’s in Research (MRes), depending on your chosen research area, you will gain a strong theoretical grounding and thorough research training to prepare you for the PhD. As a doctoral student you will have the benefit of supervision from leading world scholars. You will develop the expertise and research skills necessary to pursue a career in academia with previous Imperial doctoral graduates finding success in other leading universities such as Copenhagen Business School, Tsinghua University, University of Amsterdam, University College London, and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

world-leading or internationally excellent research (REF 2021)
in the UK for research (Imperial College London, REF 2021)
top one per cent of business schools worldwide to have achieved triple accreditation
research areas
Explore the programme

Advance your academic success at a world class research institution

in the world (Imperial College London, QS World University Rankings 2025)
in Europe (Imperial College London, Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024)
city for students (London, QS Best Student City Rankings 2024)

Programme content

The Business School Master’s in Research (MRes) is an integral part of the PhD, introducing theory and research methods in Finance, Economics and Management, providing you with a solid foundation for your doctoral studies. Depending on the research area you choose to specialise in, you will embark on a one or two-year MRes programme as shown below. 

*Please note programme content is subject to change. The modules mentioned below are just a sample of what is available in the programme.

You will complete a one-year MRes if choosing: Analytics and Operations / Marketing 

During the MRes one-year programme, you will complete elective modules relevant to your field, these will provide you with valuable research tools in addition to research methods modules and specialist modules. Elective modules may be taken from different departments within the school and may also be available from other faculties within Imperial College London.  

Systematic Reviews

Introductory module

When starting new research, the first step is usually a literature review: scanning what is already known about a given topic and figuring out where the gaps are. However, novice researchers tend to be anything but systematic in their literature review: they have no method for scanning the literature, and they usually have little idea of what is relevant and what is not. The Systematic Review method opens a way to create research syntheses that add real value and novel insight – in a way that is potentially publishable in its own right.

Specialist Modules


Stochastic Processes - This module introduces you to basic tools for modelling stochastic phenomena. The focus of the module is the theory of stochastic processes, but applications will be drawn from operations research, analytics / ML, and finance to illustrate the usage of the models for studying real-world business problems

Machine Learning for Analytics - This module gives you an overview of machine learning methods for analytics. Applications in the module will be drawn from various sources including medical applications (e.g. patient discharge from hospitals), recommender systems and the Netflix prize, advertising and marketing, estimating scofflaw rates, reputations systems and Google's PageRank algorithm, filtering, text mining, sports analytics etc.

Decision Making Under Uncertainty - This module gives you an overview of different paradigms of decision making in dynamic uncertain environments, including dynamic programming, stochastic optimisation and robust optimisation. Along with theory, applications in operations management and analytics will be introduced, with the aim of preparing you for research in these areas.

Industrial Organisation

Sustainable Behaviour - This module aims to provide you with an in-depth exposure to the emerging academic field of sustainable behaviour. You will be presented with the main methodological tool used in behavioural research (lab and field experiments) as well with the multiple articles and journals which have published cutting-edge experimental research on sustainable behaviour across a wide variety of contexts.

Consumer Behaviour - This module aims to give you a robust foundation in consumer behaviour and how it relates to marketing. The module covers topics such as how consumers process marketing communications, how consumer involvement affects decision making, and how external factors impact consumer behaviour.

Microeconomics 1

Microeconomics 2

Research methods modules

Applied Microeconometrics

Applied Microeconometrics 2

Econometrics 1

Econometrics 2

Qualitative Methods 1

Qualitative Methods 2

Quantitative Methods 2

Other elective modules

You can choose from a range of elective modules relevant to your pathway.

Asset Pricing Theory 

Corporate Finance

Consumer Behaviour

Empirical Asset Pricing


Financial Economics of Climate Sustainability

Industrial Organisation

Machine Learning for Analytics

Machine Learning for Economic Analysis



Micro Development Economics

Organisational Behaviour

Organisation Theory 


Topics in Empirical Banking 

Topics in Environmental Resource Economics 

Topics in Health Economics

Topics in Household Finance 

Business Models and Intellectual Property*

Contemporary Topics in Health Policy*

Digital Marketing Analytics*

Healthcare and Medical Analytics*

Logistics and Supply Chain Analytics*

Optimisation and Decision Models*

Retail and Marketing Analysis*

Workforce Analytics*

*These modules are available subject to capacity and timetabling constraints in other faculties and are differently weighted to the MRes Business electives

What our students say

“The programme structure is different from many other business schools because during the first year at Imperial we study the Master’s of Research (MRes), which is focused on developing strong foundations before continuing to the PhD programme. This also gives us additional time to discover opportunities and find the right paths for our research.”
Marine Mograbyan
Doctoral student, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Read our student profiles

Class profile 2022

new students per year
female students
nationalities represented

Career impact

In recent years, our PhD students have joined leading universities, research centres and institutions such as Tsinghua University, University College London, Copenhagen Business School, the Bank of England, the University of Bath, King’s College London, National Chengchi University, the University of Sussex and Renmin University in China. Others have sought top positions in industry or founded successful start-ups.

The doctoral programme has been re-structured in recent years to focus more on academic development and it is anticipated that over the coming years placements will focus more on academia than industry.

Find out more about career outcomes

Frequently asked questions

The Doctoral programme is structured to take between four to six years full-time. In the first year, all students undertake a one or two year MRes programme depending on their chosen research area specialism. Subject to satisfactory academic progress, students then progress to the PhD which takes between 3-4 years.

The Doctoral programme has one intake each year in September and is spread over four to six years.

It is not possible to enrol on the Doctoral programme on a part-time or distance learning basis. Students must be in attendance throughout the full period of study.

It is not usually possible to transfer onto the Doctoral programme as it is unlikely that previous studies would perfectly overlap with the School’s expertise.

Please visit Imperial College London's visiting students page.

The Doctoral programme is full time. Students are able to undertake part-time work if this does not break any relevant visa and/or scholarship conditions, however the programme offers a living stipend to support students during their studies.

Admission onto the Doctoral programme is highly competitive as we accept around 15 students each year, from a total of approximately 200 applications.

There is a designated workspace which includes a computer and relevant software assigned to all enrolled Doctoral students. You will share working space with other PhD students in your cohort.