Top tips for submitting an application

What makes a good Doctoral programme application?

Crystal Grant, Head of Admissions in the Business School, gives some tips for how to get the most out of the process and increase your chances of a successful application.

Does your research area match ours?

If it doesn’t then we won’t be able to accept you as a doctoral student, regardless of the strength of your academic background or motivation to study at Imperial. Business schools all have different research areas and it is important that you make sure your proposed topic fits one of our departments before you apply . We specialise in Finance, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Management.

Find more information on our specific research themes »

Do you meet our entry requirements?

Entry to our Doctoral programme is extremely competitive, so make sure you meet our entry requirements before you apply. We are looking for candidates who have excelled throughout their studies, have a good GMAT or GRE score, a clear and realistic research idea that meets with our areas of research interest and a strong motivation to undertake Doctoral studies.

Create an application timeline

Putting together a good doctoral application takes time.  You’ll need to prepare a strong, original and well planned research plan as well as prepare for and take a GMAT or GRE test if you haven’t already done so. You also need to arrange academic references and transcripts along with putting together an excellent CV and statement of purpose.

Check admissions and scholarship deadlines as early as possible so you can create an application timeline and ensure that you don’t miss out on funding opportunities.

Find out about funding opportunities and deadlines.

What’s the most important part of the application?

The Doctoral programme at Imperial College Business School is highly competitive. Candidates are expected to have strong academic and GMAT/GRE results as a standard aspect and we are unable to consider anyone without a GMAT/GRE score, regardless of their background.

The research proposal is what makes candidates really stand out. Whilst we are not expecting a full research proposal, you’ll be expected to articulate your planned research in a confident and intelligent manner, both in writing in your statement of purpose and in person if you are invited to interview. We are looking for you to have identified an original problem, hypothesis or question as well as having considered your proposed approach, methodology and the importance of the possible outcomes. This research should be something that interests you and complements your existing experiences and knowledge either in academia or in a professional capacity.

Get more advice about writing your application on our FAQs page.

Preparing for an interview

The interview is the final stage of the selection process and will be conducted by faculty members from the most appropriate department in the Business School. In the case where your research interest clearly spans more than one department, you may either be interviewed by faculty members from both departments or one department may take responsibility for your interview. The interview panel will usually consist of at least one faculty member who could potentially act as your supervisor and will be familiar with your specific area of interest, but this may not always be possible.

You should be ready to answer questions on your previous studies and research experience, your motivation to do a Doctoral programme and your research ideas. You should also ensure that you’re familiar with the current research of your proposed department, and of the faculty members whom you have identified as potential supervisors. A Doctoral degree is very demanding – both academically and personally – and you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re ready to meet that challenge.

Get an insight into what Doctoral research is like from our student and alumni profiles.