PhD

A Doctoral programme that inspires sustainable business thinking

Our Doctoral programme is a full-time, five or six year programme that combines highly relevant and structured training with a Master’s in Research, followed by the freedom to explore your chosen area of research over the course of a further four years.

Programme overview

Master's in Research

You will begin the programme with a one or two year Master’s in Research (MRes).* If you choose to specialise in the following research areas, you will embark on a one-year MRes:

  • Analytics & Operations
  • Economics & Public Policy
  • Finance
  • Marketing

If you choose to specialise in the following research areas, you will embark on a two-year MRes:

  • Strategy and Organisational Behaviour
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship

During this time, you will take compulsory modules in research methodology and subject-specific theory, which will provide you with a theoretical grounding and thorough research training for a solid foundation for your academic career. You will also undertake an individual research project.

The MRes will equip you with the necessary skills to perform high quality doctoral research in the areas of Finance, Economics and Management. Modules are assessed by a mixture of assignments, research projects and examination.

*Subject to College approval

PhD year one

Advanced reading modules
You will undertake further modules where you will delve deeper into theory and discuss current research in Finance, Economics and Management.

Research Plan
When you progress from the MRes to the PhD, you will choose a primary and secondary supervisor, based on your research interests. The supervisor-student relationship is the foundation for a successful doctoral thesis as your supervisor will help you develop your research question, identify research and teaching opportunities and support you through your studies and the academic job application process. For the Research Plan, you will work with your supervisor to refine initial plans, define your research question and outline the core literature of your research area.

Early Stage Assessment
The Early Stage Assessment (ESA) takes place in the summer of year two and is assessed by a panel of faculty. The ESA outlines the research question, the work you have done to date and the future research activities to be carried out to complete the project. It is comprised of a written report and presentation to which all PhD students and research department faculty are invited. The purpose of the ESA is not only to assess your personal progress but it also gives you the opportunity to discuss your work at its early stages and get feedback and ideas from faculty to improve your research.

PhD year two and three

Thesis
Armed with feedback from the Early Stage Assessment, you will work intensely on your thesis, focusing on the collection and analysis of empirical data and developing theoretical frameworks. Under the guidance of your supervisors, the thesis gives you the opportunity to conduct a substantial piece of original research.

Seminars and conferences
Being part of the School’s inspirational research community is a crucial aspect of the doctoral experience – as is gaining familiarity with cutting edge research from world-leading academics. Our research departments run seminars where internal and external academics discuss their latest work. As well as providing insight into yet-to-be-published research, the seminars offer networking opportunities and visiting academics often lead special topic workshops for research students. The Doctoral programme also supports the participation of research students in international conferences where you can present your own research and participate in doctoral consortia.

Late Stage Review
The Late Stage Review (LSR) takes place in the summer of year three and follows the same principle as the Early Stage Assessment, in that its purpose is to assess your progress and provide you with feedback and advice on the direction and scope of your research.

PhD year four

You will embark on the Continuing Research Stage, which will culminate in the submission of your thesis and the viva voce examination. You must submit your thesis within five or six years of starting the programme depending on the research area you choose to specialise in.*

*Subject to College approval

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.
Doctoral student, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Marine Mograbyan