UCL School of Management

PhD in Management

Overview

Start date: September 2023
Duration: 5 years (1 year MRes + 4 years PhD)
Fees: We offer fully funded scholarships to all admitted students
Application deadline: 01 February 2023, although we encourage you to apply early as places are limited and applications are subject to close sooner if places are filled. 
Entry: Minimum of a first class bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline. International students, please note that UCL’s English language requirement for this programme is a ‘Level 1’ (IELTS and TOEFL are the preferred test, however others on the UCL recognised test list will be accepted if required) - further details regarding this can be found on the UCL English Language Requirements page.

Programme

PhD students pursue their studies in one of the Operations & Technology, Strategy & Entrepreneurship, Marketing & Analytics, and Organisations & Innovation groups. All four groups offer a unique education and research experience to a small number of highly motivated students, with the intent of preparing them for scholarly careers at the highest level.

UCL Library with Flaxman Gallery reflected in the window

PhD studies in Operations and Technology

Across the different research themes, there is a shared interest in management science, operations management and business technologies. Topics of interest include R&D management, innovation and new product development, service systems, supply chain management and healthcare operations. For candidates in this area, a degree in engineering (e.g. industrial, electrical, computer, mechanical etc), economics, mathematics, statistics or operational research is preferred. 

PhD studies in Strategy and Entrepreneurship

S&E faculty research focuses on understanding what makes firms successful, how they cope with a complex and dynamic environment, and what leads to new business formation and growth. Doctoral training involves close collaboration between the doctoral student and faculty members on shared research interests, coursework at UCL and other institutions, and independent research. Doctoral students also benefit from the S&E group’s collaborative research community, a lively program of research speakers from other institutions, and links with researchers worldwide. Topics of interest include digitization, big data analytics, machine learning, information environment, platform ecosystems, new organizational forms, learning, innovation, competition, interorganisational relationships, corporate strategy, entrepreneurial strategy, entrepreneurship for development, social innovation. 

PhD studies in Marketing and Analytics

Topics of interest in this group include branding, retailing, advertising, pricing, product development, marketing channels, business marketing, marketing strategy and e-commerce. The researchers in this group use diverse quantitative methodologies that include big data analytics, regression analysis, choice models, field experiments and Bayesian econometrics. 

PhD studies in Organisations and Innovation

O&I faculty research focuses on understanding individual and team outcomes within organisations. Group members engage with a variety of perspectives and approaches including network research, experiments and ethnographies. There is a shared interest in the topics of creativity, innovation, social networks and diversity. For applicants to the PhD programme, prior training in social science (e.g. social psychology, sociology or economics) is highly relevant. 

PhD studies in Financial Economics

Our MRes and PhD Programme in Financial Economics with UCL’s Department of Economics now has more information about how to apply and what you can expect from the programme on a brand new programme page, please see the specific entry requirements and programme structure here

PhD Structure

  • The programme typically consists of four or five years of full-time study, starting with one year of modules registered as MRes. These modules are typically advanced postgraduate modules to provide rigorous methodological training to prepare students for their PhD research. Along with the School’s modules, students typically take some of these from other UCL departments (e.g., Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology), the London Business School, Cass Business School, and Imperial College Business School.
  • In addition to methods modules, students also undertake a first-year research project under the tutoring and supervision of a faculty member later in the MRes year (Term 3 + Summer period).
  • Progression from MRes to MPhil/PhD is not automatic. Superior performance in taught modules and independent, original research is required for progression from MRes to MPhil/PhD.
  • Our highly selective and small-sized PhD programme ensures that each student receives personal attention and guidance from our faculty members throughout their doctoral study. The close mentorship process forms the foundations of a successful academic career. 
  • We expect our PhD graduates to have as their goal an academic career as a faculty member in a top business school or engineering department of a world-class university
  • PhD applications are reviewed once a completed application form has been submitted online

Students take a total of 180 credits in the MRes year. This is made up of the MRes Research Project (MSIN0135) and 75 credits of taught modules. 

Students will also have the option to take modules offered by other UCL Departments, such as Economics or Psychology, and intercollegiate modules. 

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, and class discussion based on case studies and other activities. Student performance is assessed through simulations, presentations, coursework, group projects, class participation, and examinations. 

Students typically study 3 compulsory modules over Terms 1 and 2. Students will also typically study 2 optional modules which may take place in Terms 1, 2 or 3. Students will also undertake a substantial research project, which would usually be undertaken over Terms 2 and 3. 

Each taught module is delivered over 10 weeks, with 3 contact hours per week comprising lecture content and interactive components. 

In addition, students typically spend approximately 6-8 hours a week for each module on assessment and independent study to further develop the skills and knowledge covered in lectures and seminars. The total number of weekly hours will vary according to the weekly activities being undertaken.

Why choose us

What our students say:

‘I was drawn to the UCL School of Management PhD programme at UCL by the prestigious academic staff and their broad range of disciplines. Their academic training at top institutions from around the globe convinced me that the environment at the UCL of School Management would provide me with an intense multilateral research experience. Furthermore, having been interviewed by members of the academic staff, I immediately felt stimulated by their energetic drive. They have a passion for exploring the vast landscape of the management science discipline and are determined to produce top-notch researchers to contribute to this ever-growing academic field.’ 

‘My main reason for choosing UCL was my desire to work with professors of the highest calibre. After one year here I have to say I am more than happy about my decision. My first year was really exciting and challenging and the conditions for conducting research are ideal. The programme has met my high expectations and proved that the UCL School of Management is one of the top Management Schools in the UK.’

‘The UCL School of Management PhD programme is designed to provide students with skills that lead to academic excellence. Candidates are part of a dynamic and vibrant group and benefit from the programme’s flexibility, as they can choose from a wide range of disciplines. The frequent cooperation with world-leading faculty members enhances our knowledge and skills and ultimately leads to high-quality research output, laying the foundations for a subsequent successful academic career.’ 

REF 2021

UCL School of Management has forged a reputation for world-leading research in management studies with 95% of the School’s research deemed to be world-leading or internationally excellent, the second highest percentage of any business school in the UK, according to the 2021 REF. 

Applications

Applying for our MRes/PhD Programme

Entry requirements and admissions criteria:

We seek to recruit highly motivated, ambitious students with strong educational backgrounds. The ideal candidate will have a first-class Bachelor’s degree from the UK or an overseas qualification of equivalent standard from a leading university. We encourage students from a wide variety of backgrounds (e.g, engineering, economics, business, mathematics/statistics, psychology, sociology, and anthropology, among others) to apply to our programme. Also, notice that a Master’s or graduate level degree is not required for admission, you can apply with only an undergraduate (e.g. bachelors) degree. 

In your personal statement you are expected to suggest one or more faculty members as potential supervisors. On the application form you may see that it states that it is preferred that you contact potential supervisors beforehand – you do not need to do so. In fact, applicants are discouraged from randomly contacting individual faculty members or potential supervisors when applying to our programme. All applications are first evaluated by a joint admissions committee, so contacting potential supervisors separately will not increase your chances.

All MRes/PhD applicants are normally expected to take either a GMAT test or GRE test (UCL’s institution code is 3344, but also make sure you include a scanned copy of your test result on your online application), although the School has no minimum score requirements.  

We also require you to submit IELTS or TOEFL scores if English is not your first language. Our School requires a “Level 1” English qualification which corresponds to:

  • IELTS: Overall grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
  • TOEFL: Score of 92, plus 24/30 in the reading and writing subtests and 20/30 in the listening and speaking subtests. Please check TOEFL details here.
     

Application Deadline

The application window closes 01 February 2023 and a late submission window closes on 31 March 2022. We advise those interested in the programme to apply before 01 February 2023, as those applying in the late submission window will only be considered if there are still places remaining.

Application Procedure

Apply via UCL Postgraduate Admissions System here. When starting the application, you must select the MRes option. In addition to filling out the online application form, please upload a copy of the following documents:

  1. CV/Resume
  2. Official Transcripts of Grades / Course marks
  3. A 2-3 page personal statement or research proposal* that clearly indicates: (i) which research group you are interested in (i.e., Organisations & Innovation, Strategy & Entrepreneurship, Marketing & Analytics or Operations & Technology, (ii) your research interests and preliminary research ideas, (iii) potential faculty member(s) you may want to work with (this is a suggested list, you don’t need to contact potential supervisors beforehand), and (iv) your motivation to do a PhD.
  4. Your GRE/GMAT score report**
  5. Your IELTS/TOEFL score report, if English is not your first language.

* While submission of a full research proposal is not required, you can send us one if you have already written it up.

** You can submit your application even if you don’t have a GRE/GMAT score —simply indicate when you plan to take the test.

Funding/Scholarships

We offer fully funded four/five year MRes/PhD scholarships in the UCL School of Management to all admitted students. The scholarship is open to all nationalities. It covers all tuition fees, and includes an annual stipend of £21,700 which is tax-free.

Additional costs 

This programme does not have any compulsory additional costs outside of purchasing books or stationery, printing, thesis binding or photocopying.  

Students may have the opportunity to participate in conferences in the UK and internationally. The UCL School of Management provides MRes/PhD students with an annual budget for conferences, which students will use to cover the travel, accommodation, food and other costs whilst at conferences, in line with UCL’s expenses policy. 

Further Information and Contact Details

The full-time MRes/PhD programme runs from September each academic year. Entrance is therefore every September. While we may accept applications until 31 March we encourage candidates to apply before 01 February. Our programme is very selective and we only admit a limited number of students, so applying early may increase your chances.

How to Apply

For queries about the MRes/PhD Programme that are not addressed on our web pages, please contact the MRes/PhD Administrator, Amy Evison (mgmt-pgr@ucl.ac.uk)

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about the UCL School of Management MRes/PhD Programme

Programme Information

How long is the Programme? Can I enrol on a part-time basis?
The UCL School of Management PhD degree consists of five years of full-time study, starting with one year of modules registered as MRes. We do not offer any part-time study options.
What is the MRes and is it a stand-alone course?
The MRes is the first year of our PhD programme in which students typically take advanced postgraduate and methods courses to prepare them for their PhD research. Our MRes is not a standalone course, so we do not offer it as an individual degree. In applying for the MRes, you are applying for the full 5 year (1 year MRes + 4 year PhD) programme.
Can I begin the programme in January or some other time in the middle of the year?
The programme has a single intake each September at the beginning of the academic year at UCL. It is not possible to start the programme at any other time.
Where does the course lead in terms of a future career?
The PhD Programme in the UCL School of Management prepares candidates for academic (i.e., research and teaching) careers at leading universities in the world, and for careers where advanced research and analytical capabilities are required.
How many students do you admit each year to your MRes/PhD Programme?
Our programme is extremely competitive. We normally admit 5-10 students each year, and we offer fully funded School scholarships to all of them.

Application Process

How can I apply to the programme? What is the application deadline?
You should apply via the UCL Online Application System here. Our application deadline for September 2023 entry is 01 February 2023 with a late submission window closing on 31 March 2023. We advise those interested in the programme to apply before 01 February 2023, as we will allocate most (if not all) of the available places and scholarships with this deadline and those applying in the late submission window will only be considered if there are still places remaining. 
What should I include in my application?
In addition to filling out the online application form here, you need to upload a copy of the following documents: (i) CV/Resume, (ii) Official Transcripts of Grades/Course marks, (iii) 2-3 pages Personal Statement, (iv) your GRE/GMAT score report, and (v) your IELTS/TOEFL score report.
Do I need to contact faculty members before submitting my application?
No, you do not. In fact, applicants are discouraged from randomly contacting individual faculty members or potential supervisors when applying to our programme. All applications are first evaluated by a joint admissions committee, so contacting potential supervisors separately will not increase your chances. It is only in your personal statement that you are expected to suggest several faculty members as potential supervisors. But again, these faculty members need not be contacted beforehand. 
May I schedule an appointment with the Programme Director to discuss my application?
Due to the extremely high volume of applications received, it is not possible for the Programme Director to meet personally with applicants. If you are shortlisted, you will be offered an interview in person or via Skype if you are overseas.

Admissions Requirements

Can I get a waiver for GRE/GMAT if I have a Masters degree in the UK?
We expect all applicants to submit a GRE or GMAT test result before we make a final decision. Your test results are valid for five years.
Can I submit my application if I have not yet taken GRE/GMAT or TOEFL/IELTS tests?
While we highly recommend you submit your application here once it is fully completed, you can still submit the application if you have not taken these tests yet. But, you should indicate in your Personal Statement when you plan to take these tests and we will not make a final decision before seeing the test results.
What are the English language requirements for the programme?
Students are required to possess a “Level 1” English language qualification if it is not their first language. This means:
TOEFL: Score of 92, plus 24/30 in the reading and writing, and 20/30 in the listening and speaking subtests.
IELTS: Overall grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the subtests.
I only have an undergraduate (e.g. bachelors) degree, and no Masters. Can I still apply to your programme?
Yes, you can. A Master’s or graduate level degree is not required for admission.
I have the following qualifications…: Will I be admitted to the programme?
We must see a fully completed application, including reference letters, transcripts, statement of purpose, and test scores in order to make decisions about admissions. We are unable to comment on your suitability, chances or international qualifications based on information supplied by email. UCL Admissions checks and must approve all completed applications and qualifications before the School can make a final admissions offer.

Funding

What are the fees for the programme? Are there PhD funding/scholarships available for international students?
The School provides fully-funded five-year scholarships (including all tuition fees and stipend) to qualified candidates regardless of their nationality or citizenship.
Are there additional funding opportunities available?
We can provide Teaching and Research Assistantships to qualified PhD students. Applicants are also encouraged to explore other UCL funding opportunities and external funding sources.

Further Information

If you have any other questions regarding the programme that are not addressed on our web pages please email the programme administrator Amy Evison (mgmt-pgr@ucl.ac.uk)

Last updated Tuesday, 8 November 2022