Oxford Brookes Business School

    • Research degrees banner
  • An MPhil or PhD is a research degree focused around the planning and undertaking of an original piece of academic research, which is then written up in a thesis and which you are examined on in a final examination.

    Our professional doctorate in Coaching and Mentoring is structured differently, to reflect its particular focus and specific audience, see Coaching and Mentoring, programme structure for further details.

    Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the range of support and development activities organised at department, School, and University level to assist in the development of a candidate’s research skills, according to their particular needs.

    Time commitment

    Time commitments vary based on the course, and the mode of study, that you choose:

    • A full-time MPhil generally takes between two and three years.
    • A full-time PhD generally takes between three and four years.
    • A part-time MPhil generally takes between three and four years.
    • A part-time PhD takes between four and six years.

    A full time student should look to devote an average of 35 hours per week, 44 weeks per year to their studies.

    A part-time student should try to commit an average of 17.5 hours per week, 44 weeks per year to their studies.


    While every candidate’s exact experience will vary according to their particular discipline, topic and methodology, there are a number of common elements that all students will undertake:

    • Critically investigating and evaluating an approved topic;
    • Undertaking an analytical review of the existing literature in your topic area to set the theoretical context for your work and help demonstrate the gap in knowledge you will address;
    • Developing and then implementing a rigorous and appropriate methodology for researching your topic;
    • Demonstrating that your research conforms to all relevant ethical codes of practice;
    • Extensive primary field research, analysis and evaluation;
    • The production of 50,000 (MPhil) or 100,000 (PhD) thesis; and
    • An oral viva exam, in which you answer questions about your research.

    Students progression is monitored through an annual process undertaken at the end of each academic year and through two key progression points after approximately six months and eighteen months of study respectively.

    "The staff here are really supportive. I enjoy the seminars as they give you the opportunity to meet other research students and share your interests."

    Aisha Kolawole
    PhD Student
    Department of Business and Management


    You will be supported through:

    • A supervisory team of two (occasionally three) supervisors from an academic staff of more than fifty experts who together can provide the best combination of expertise to support your work;
    • Training courses in research methods (for example, qualitative and quantitative methods) provided by the Business School and wider University;
    • Regular seminars and learning activities at department, School and University level;
    • Experience of presenting work to different audiences; and
    • Opportunities to network and discuss your work with staff and fellow students from across the academic community of the Business School and the University as a whole.

    Other support

    • Engage with our entrepreneurs in residence and visiting entrepreneurs;
    • Work with local businesses; and
    • open yourself up to collaborative opportunities including receiving industrial funding and sponsorship.

    Conferences, Training and Lecturing Opportunities

    You will be supported in developing and sharing your expertise through:

    • Opportunities to present at internal seminars and conferences;
    • Support in attending, and ultimately presenting at external conferences (some financial assistance is available); and
    • Training as an Associate Lecturer and the opportunity to engage in teaching activity on appropriate modules offered by the Business School.


    Find out more about fees and funding opportunities for UK/EU and international students by visiting our finance web pages.

  • Contact us

    We'd love to talk to you

    +44 (0) 1865 48 58 58