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A research programme conducted in Alhia University, Bahrain

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PhD without residence - Ahlia

Start date



Mode of study

3 years full-time

6 years part-time



International £21,470

UK £4,712

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Research profile

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.

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

Our expertise in Computing

Research in Computer Science at Brunel is internationally recognised, ranked 5th in the UK in the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities and 1st in the UK for H-index (source NTU 2018). We have particular strengths in research into computing methodologies (Intelligent data analysis, artificial intelligence, simulation and modelling), software engineering, human-centred computing (HCI and interactive multimedia systems) and digital economy (including IoT, trust, privacy and cybersecurity). Our research delivers creative computing solutions to industrial and societal challenges, with applications including healthcare, overseas development, education, ecology, finance and manufacturing. 

Learn more about research in this area.

Our expertise in Business Management

Research activities within the Business School at Brunel cover a wide-ranging and diverse field of topics from accounting, through HR, to strategy. Academic staff involved within these programmes investigate corporate governance and social responsibility, employment relations, information systems, corporate brands, marketplace cultures, international business and entrepreneurship and much more. Our research drives forward global business and societal transformation and is applied to many areas, such as NASA’s mission to Mars, humanitarian relief in Iran, biobank network across Europe, British Monarchy brand in the UK, to innovating the public sector in Saudi Arabia. 

Learn more about research in this area.

You can explore our campus and facilities for yourself by taking our virtual tour.

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Find a supervisor

Our researchers create knowledge and advance understanding, and equip versatile doctoral researchers with the confidence to apply what they have learnt for the benefit of society. Find out more about working with the Supervisory Team.

You are welcome to approach your potential supervisor directly to discuss your research interests. Search for expert supervisors for your chosen field of research.

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 opportunities.

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.

PhD topics

While we welcome applications from student with a clear direction for their research, we are providing you with some ideas for your chosen field of research:

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Research journey

Read the course brochure here

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.

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 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 in Bahrain

Address: Kingdom Tower Building 8, Road 1901, block 319 Horra, flat36 – Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
Tel: +973 1731 3524, +973 17 298999.
Mobile:+973 3399 7734, +973 3988 7612

You can also find more information at

This course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in January. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in October.

Find out about what progress might look like at each stage of study here: Research degree progress structure.

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Research support

Research support

Excellent research support and training

The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme. The researcher development programme (RDP) offers workshops and seminars in a range of areas including progression, research management, research dissemination, and careers and personal development. You will also be offered a number of online, self-study courses on BBL, including Research Integrity, Research Skills Toolkit, Research Methods in Literature Review and Principles of Research Methods.

Library services

Brunel's Library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 ebooks, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs. As well as the physical resources available in the Library, we also provide access to a wealth of electronic resources. These include databases, journals and e-books. Access to these resources has been bought by the Library through subscription and is limited to current staff and students.

Dedicated research support staff provide guidance and training on open access, research data management, copyright and other research integrity issues.

Find out more: Brunel Library

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Careers and your future

You will receive tailored careers support during your PhD and for up to three years after you complete your research at Brunel. We encourage you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research, even (or perhaps especially) if you don't yet have a career path in mind. Our careers provision includes online information and advice, one-to-one consultations and a range of events and workshops. The Professional Development Centre runs a varied programme of careers events throughout the academic year. These include industry insight sessions, recruitment fairs, employer pop-ups and skills workshops.

In addition, where available, you may be able to undertake some paid work as we recognise that teaching and learning support duties represent an important professional and career development opportunity.

Find out more.

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UK entry requirements

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1). 

An interview will be required as part of the admissions process and will be conducted by at least two academic staff members remotely via MS Teams, Zoom, or face to face.

Applicants will be required to submit a personal statement and a research statement.
Please contact your proposed supervisor, where possible, to receive feedback and guidance on your research statement before submitting it. Learn how to prepare a research statement here.   

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EU and International entry requirements

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.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 64 (59 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 68% (58% in all areas)
  • TOEFL: 98 overall (min 20) 

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

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 through our Brunel Language Centre.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants. This information is for guidance only and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Entry requirements are subject to review, and may change.

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Fees and funding

2023/24 entry


£21,470 full-time

£10,735 part-time


£4,712 full-time

£2,355 part-time

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

Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU students and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

PhD studentships

Scholarships and bursaries