Research Programmes Explained


A PhD – a Doctor of Philosophy degree – involves undertaking primary research into a specific area of interest. Within the Business School, it is usual for the student him- or herself to propose the subject of the research which then needs to be approved by the School. See also entry requirements and how to apply.

A full-time PhD usually takes up to three years. To be awarded a PhD, your research will need to of a suitable standard and your findings set out in an appropriately detailed thesis. Your thesis is then submitted for formal assessment by academic referees. The final hurdle in the process is the viva during which you will be questioned in depth about your research by a panel comprising senior academics from Brunel and other universities.

As a PhD student within Brunel Business School you will be supervised by two members of academic staff working in the area you are researching. You will have regular meetings with your supervisors to discuss your progress and to receive and seek guidance. Most students produce an outline of their thesis during Year 1 to help structure the rest of their research.

At Brunel, our Graduate School runs the Professional Research Skills Programme to help you acquire the skills needed to complete a PhD successfully.

See Life as a Postgraduate Student.


An MPhil may be awarded to a student who undertakes research of a suitable standard but who does not submit a full thesis. Please note that Brunel Business School does not accept applications from students to study for an MPhil.

New Route™ PhD

The NewRoutePhD is a four-year research-based programme leading to the submission of a thesis and the award of a PhD degree. In addition to pursuing their research, students spend their first three years studying a tailor-made programme of taught modules that underpins their doctoral study and enhances their skills as a researcher.

The taught modules are made up of three types:

  • Key Skills Modules – cover professional skills (such as communication, computing and information retrieval) and the world of business and the wider global context of research.

  • Research Modules – include how to develop research proposals, peer review, preparing a thesis and research methods and techniques

  • Finally, students take a number of discipline-specific modules that give them a solid foundation in their chosen field.

Click here for comprehensive information on the Brunel Integrated PhD (New Route).

PhD without Residence

Page last updated: Wednesday 17 December 2014