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PhD without residence - Ahlia


Based in the Kingdom of Bahrain

To encourage critical analysis and independence of thought, staff from Brunel University London regularly organise and deliver innovative workshops and seminars. All of these take place at Ahlia University. Whilst many students take the opportunity to visit Brunel University and meet their supervisor face-to-face, this is not strictly necessary. The only time you are required to come to Brunel is for your viva defence once you have submitted your thesis.

Brunel University London is very pleased to have a close partnership with Ahlia University, which allows students in the Gulf region to undertake a Brunel PhD with supervision and training given by our academic members of staff. We are glad that this gives students the ability to study and research for a UK degree, while based in Bahrain, and proud of the success of the graduates from the programme. Ahlia University is the first private university licensed by the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain under the Cabinet decision no. 03-1626, dated 25th March 2001.

How does it work?

  • You will be based for your studies at Ahlia University and have full access to all of Ahlia’s facilities including its extensive library.
  • You will have full online access to Brunel facilities including the library.
  • You will be assigned two academic supervisors who will support and guide you over the course of your PhD: your principal supervisor will be based at Brunel University London and local supervisor will be based at Ahlia University, Kingdom of Bahrain.
  • You will also be encouraged to attend conferences and to disseminate your research.
  • Brunel regularly runs seminars and workshops in the Kingdom of Bahrain to help you with your study and research skills.
  • You are strongly encouraged to visit Brunel whenever possible throughout your studies; your viva will take place at Brunel University London.

About the course

Read the course brochure here

Up until very recently, studying for a UK doctorate meant spending up to three years in the UK and anyone who was unable to do this simply had to forego the opportunity. Fortunately, thanks to Ahlia's collaboration with Brunel, this is no longer the case.

  • Unrivalled opportunity of a PhD from a prestigious UK university.
  • Exceptional chance to work alongside top business and management researchers.
  • Full support and excellent facilities provided by Ahlia University Bahrain.

What are the main benefits of this research degree programme?

  • It represents a unique opportunity for anyone who is unable to spend three years abroad – maybe due to work or family commitments – to be awarded a PhD by a UK university with an international reputation
  • It has been judged to meet the standards set by the UK's Quality Assurance Agency (the organisation responsible for upholding academic standards and quality of higher education in the UK)
  • You can choose from a wide range of research topics – research interests of academic staff span all the main areas of business and management research (for further information, please download the brochure)
  • You will have access to the research expertise of Brunel Business School academics without having to leave Bahrain: members of Brunel Business School have published extensively and are recognised as leaders in a range of research fields
  • You will receive support from academics at Ahlia and be entitled to make full use of Ahlia's excellent facilities

Your research proposal

To support your application you should include a research proposal. This should detail the proposed area and structure of your research and should extend to about 1,000 words. Your proposal will be used to assess how consistent your research interests are with the School's current research activities, to judge whether the research is possible, necessary and timely and to decide whether you have the appropriate skills to carry out your proposed study.

Please describe your research area and research issues of interest and also the rationale for your research. You should also identify the relationship between the literature and your proposed research and discuss the importance of your research interest: is it something that is absent from the current literature or something that needs further development? Please also provide information about your proposed methodology and specify any conceptual or technical limitations.

Please send your initial queries to phdwr@ahlia.edu.bh. Please upload the completed application form and supporting documents in the links provided on the right hand side.

 Please take particular care to ensure that your personal statement (Section 19) fully explains why you are interested in studying for a PhD, how a PhD will contribute to your future career plans and why you have chosen Brunel’s PhD without residence programme at Ahlia University.

Supporting documents:

  • Your research proposal
  • Your CV
  • Your Passport
  • Authenticated copies of your academic qualifications
  • (Master’s and Bachelor’s degree certificates and transcripts)
  • Proof of English Language proficiency
  • Two references, one of which must be from an academic


Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)

Entry criteria 2019/20

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree. Applicants who do not meet these academic requirements but who have significant occupational experience will be considered on a case by case basis. If English is not your first language you will be required to demonstrate an adequate level of proficiency. Anyone who has not studied for either of their degrees in English will need to be achieved an IELTS score of 7 (min 6 in all areas).

Should a candidate submit an application without having already achieved the English language entry requirement, the application will be declined automatically.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU entry requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.

We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.

Teaching and learning

Support from your supervisors

To support you in your research you will be assigned two research active supervisors. One of your supervisors will be an academic from Ahlia University; the other will be an academic from Brunel. PhD students are expected to work independently, with guidance from your supervisors. Your Ahlia supervisor will be on hand for regular face-to-face meetings and you will have regular contact with your Brunel supervisor by email, Skype or telephone. In addition, your supervisory team will include a Research Development Advisor who will assist you in determining appropriate research and professional development training opportunitie

Assessment and feedback

Each year you must produce a formal report of your progress to discuss with your supervisors and other academic staff. At the end of your research project, you will present a thesis for examination and, if this is judged satisfactory, we will award a research degree (MPhil or Doctorate).

In your thesis, you must meet the criteria set out in Senate Regulation 5 and the Quality Assurance Agency’s National Qualification Framework. You must also satisfy university regulations and show a sound knowledge and critical appreciation of your discipline. The thesis submitted for the award of PhD must include the creation and interpretation of new knowledge in that discipline. It may take the form of a wholly written dissertation or one that comprises original, creative work supported by a written commentary indicating how the creative work contributes towards the requirements for the award. You must complete the major part of your thesis during your period of registration with the university, under supervision arrangements approved by the university. You usually present your thesis at a viva voce examination. A candidate may present a less substantial piece of work for the award of an MPhil. Additional guidance on the standard of awards is given in the Quality Assurance Agency’s National Qualifications Framework at ww

Fees and funding

Fees for 2019/20 entry

Fees (per year):






Some courses incur additional course related costs.

Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase.