Doctoral Programme: Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible to apply for the MPhil/PhD in Business & Management? 

You will need a minimum of an upper second class (2.1) honours degree from a UK university or equivalent overseas.  You will also need to have completed or be studying for a specialist Masters degree in a subject directly related to your proposed area of research. We would expect a good mark overall in the specialist Masters degree and evidence of high achievement (ideally a distinction) in the associated dissertation.

Am I eligible to apply for the MRes/PhD in Finance & Economics?

Applicants should hold an honours degree from a UK university or equivalent from an overseas university; plus a Masters degree, in economics or Finance (with a significant quantitative finance component). Accounting or Financial Mathematics may be considered with a significant finance component. A first-class degree and a distinction at Masters level is recommended but serves as a guideline only. 

A GMAT or GRE score is required and should be provided as part of your application. However, we have no defined threshold and the score provided will be indicative to merely supplement and strengthen applications. 

You should have strong academic references and excellent potential for research. 

Can I apply to the Doctoral Programme without a specialist Masters qualification?

We normally expect all applicants to hold a relevant specialist Master’s degree in order to be considered for our Doctoral Programme. You may wish to consider one of the specialist Masters degrees offered by WBS - find out more.

Please note that entry on to a specialist Masters degree at WBS will not guarantee a place on our Doctoral Programme. A separate decision would be made regarding entrance to the PhD programme once you are completing or in the process of completing your specialist Masters degree.

Can I apply to the programme if I have an MBA?

We normally expect all applicants to hold a relevant specialist Master’s degree in order to be considered for our Doctoral Programme.

If you do not hold a specialist Masters degree in addition to your MBA, you have two options:

  1. You can make a special case, with the support of your prospective WBS supervisor, outlining the relevance of your MBA to your proposed research area (the project or dissertation for example may be relevant to your proposed PhD research topic). The case will then be considered by the Associate Dean for the Doctoral Programme who will decide whether your MBA and any other relevant research or work experience is sufficient to meet our eligibility criteria. Find details on our academic staff. Please note that this option is not open to applicants for the PhD in Finance programme.
  2. You can undertake a specialist Masters degree and then re-apply to the Doctoral Programme. You may wish to consider one of the specialist Masters degrees offered by WBS - find out more about Postgraduate study. Please note that entry on to a Specialist Masters degree at WBS will not guarantee a place on our Doctoral Programme. A separate decision would be made regarding entrance to the PhD programme once you are completing or in the process of completing your specialist Masters degree.

Will I have to take an English language test?

A good command of English is clearly important for study at the MPhil/PhD level, regardless of the research area.

If your specialist Masters degree is from the UK or other majority English-speaking country, you are not required to submit proof of proficiency in English, as long as you have completed your Masters course within two years of the proposed start date of your doctoral degree, although language competence is still a requirement. Otherwise, you are required to have achieved one of the following:

How do I apply to the Doctoral Programme?

You can apply online. You can find guidance on the University's admissions process here. 

How do I access the Applicant Portal?

Once you have submitted your application you will receive an email acknowledgement confirming we have received your application. You will receive an additional email usually within 24 hours with instructions on how to register to access the Applicant Portal.  

What happens once I have applied? 

Complete application: When an application is complete (all supporting documentation provided), you will receive a complete application acknowledgement email and the application will be sent to the PhD Admissions Panel and appropriate research group for consideration.      

When a final decision has been reached, you will receive an email from Postgraduate Admissions informing you of the outcome. If further information is required this will be communicated in the email. 

Incomplete application: If supporting documentation is missing from your application, you will receive an email, asking you to upload the required documentation within 4 weeks.   If the documentation is not uploaded to your application by the specified date, the application will be withdrawn and you can reapply when you are in receipt of all the documentation.   

Please note that we cannot accept supporting documentation by email. Documentation can be uploaded to your application via the applicant portal.  

How long does it take to reach a decision?

It can take up to 8 weeks from this point to reach a final decision so we ask that you are patient during this period.  When a final decision has been reached, you will receive an email from Postgraduate Admissions informing you of the outcome. If further information is required this will be communicated in the email.    At this stage, you should contact if you have any questions. 

How do I find a potential supervisor?

MPhil/PhD Business & Management 

There are many academic subject groups at Warwick Business School. Once you have identified the most appropriate research group and prospective supervisor(s) for your proposed research you are advised to contact a potential supervisor to discuss your application. 

You do not need to have secured a potential supervisor’s confirmation of supervision before applying, but as it may strengthen an application if a supervisor has already indicated some level of interest in the research project, applicants are encouraged to reach out to potential supervisors.    

If you are unable to contact a member of academic staff, you can still apply for entrance.    


MRes/PhD Finance & Economics

Applicants do not need to contact potential supervisors when completing their application to the MRes, as we do not recruit PhD students in this way.

During the second year of the MRes, students are allocated a supervisor. A second supervisor will be allocated if you are admitted into the PhD, at the end of the MRes. The two supervisors will have appropriate research expertise and interests.  

What should I put in my research proposal?

Your research proposal should provide approximately 2,000 words, plus your timetable and references or a short bibliography. Further advice about writing your research proposal can be found here.

Can I study for my PhD as a part-time student?

It is possible to study for our MPhil/PhD in Business & Management part time, but you would need to be available to attend the compulsory taught Research Training Programme in the first three terms of the first academic year. Your application to study part-time would also need to be supported by your prospective supervisor. In order to be considered for part-time study, you must be resident and working in the UK. There is no option to register for the MRes/PhD in Finance & Economics on a part-time basis.

Can I be resident overseas?

No, you will be expected to be resident in the UK for the duration of your doctoral studies here at Warwick Business School. You are of course allowed to make overseas visits in order to attend conferences, training, and also to undertake fieldwork which are relevant to your studies.

Do you offer a PhD by Distance Learning?

No, we do not offer our doctoral programme by distance learning. You can apply to study part time, but you would need to be resident and working in the UK, and there is a compulsory taught part of the programme which you must attend here at the Business School for the first two terms of the first year of registration.

What funding opportunities are available?

There are a number of different funding opportunities available to you as a doctoral researcher at WBS. Up to date information about funding opportunities can be found on our Doctoral Programme pages.

Please note that, in most cases, you need to hold an offer of a place on our Doctoral Programme to be eligible for funding. We recommend early application. It is also helpful if, on your application form, you clearly state in the section regarding funding any scholarships for which you intend to apply.

For Home and EU students there is the opportunity to apply for ESRC funding

Can I join WBS as a Visiting Student?

Yes, WBS accepts visiting students.

Visiting Students can come to WBS for periods of up to one year, and in shorter periods such as one or more months. Common periods of attachment are three or six months.

Prospective visiting students need to complete the standard online application form. You will need to make contact with a prospective supervisor here at Warwick as they will need to agree to provide supervision for the duration of your visit.

The documentation that will be required for you to be accepted as a visiting student will be:

The fee structure for visiting postgraduate research students is:

You may find it helpful to visit the Warwick University’s International Students website.  Information and advice regarding applying for a visa for the duration of your studies here at Warwick can be found here.

Can I apply for a DBA ?

We have a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) for senior executives.

Do you offer a joint PhD programme?

Warwick Business School does not currently offer a joint PhD programme. However, you may like to consider applying to come as a visiting student as an alternative. Please see above for further information on this.

What is the compulsory attendance requirement for the PhD Programme?

Both the  MPhil/PhD Business & Management and the MRes/PhD Finance & Economics programmes require attendance at compulsory taught modules. Further details of the current compulsory research training programme for both programmes can also be found here.

It is a requirement that all students attend and pass the compulsory taught modules before you can upgrade your registration from MPhil to PhD.

What is the deadline for applications?

For the MRes/PhD Finance & Economics programme the deadline for applications is 28 February 2021.

For the MPhil/PhD Business & Management programme the deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.We may accept applications after this date for exceptional candidates, but there may not be the time needed, especially if you need a Visa. It is sometimes difficult to arrange supervision in the later summer months because academic staff will often be away from the University.

If you wish to apply for a scholarship, please note the applications deadlines are much earlier in the year, and details of these can be found of the relevant programme pages here.

Can I apply for an MPhil degree?

All doctoral research students are initially registered for the MPhil programme and are later upgraded to PhD. This is the standard process at most UK universities.

Registration is upgraded from MPhil to PhD towards the end of Year 1 if a student passes the taught research training modules and the PhD upgrade presentation. Very occasionally a student may be advised to continue with MPhil registration if their circumstances change and they are unable to complete the PhD, or if they fail the requirements for upgrading to PhD but do satisfy the requirements for continuing with MPhil.

Applying to transfer from another university

We do not normally consider applications for transfer unless the student is transferring with a supervisor who is taking up an appointment at WBS. Full information on transferring can be found here.

Can I still apply for a PhD although my Specialist Master’s degree is unrelated to my proposed research area?

This does not preclude acceptance on the PhD in Business & Management but needs to be accompanied by a convincing case of academic achievement/potential in the proposed area. You need to make a case making clear that you have sufficient specialist knowledge and can academically engage with the topic in your proposed area.

Can I be enrolled on another course whilst studying on the Doctoral Programme?

This is not possible. Warwick University will not allow a student to enrol on one of our courses if they are still studying for another course at another institution. You will need to provide proof that you have either completed your course or have withdrawn your registration at your other institution.

This regulation applies also to short term programmes such as vocation qualifications such as accounting exams.

My Masters programme will not end until November, and I want to start in October?

In exceptional circumstances Warwick will allow you to enrol on the doctoral programme while you are in the final months of another Masters programme. The criteria is that all course work and examinations must have been finished and submitted by 1 October. If there is any work outstanding such as a dissertation to be submitted in late October or a re-sit to be undertaken on the Masters, you cannot start our programme until the following year.

This is because the first seven months of the PhD programme have a mandatory, assessed and intensive Research Training Programme that all students, full and part time, must attend. Upgrade to PhD is dependent on successful completion of the research training and upgrade. If you cannot focus 100% on the research training and upgrade because of a delayed commitment to the Masters course, you should not start the PhD programme.

If, however, you are just awaiting the final Masters results with no further work commitment, you can request a temporary enrolment at Warwick. This enrolment is conditional on you subsequently bringing in the Masters final transcript to Student Records when released and proving you have been awarded the degree. If you have not been awarded the degree or require a re-sit or further work, your Warwick registration would likely be suspended until the following year.

Can I start on the programme at another time of the year other than 1 October?

No, the doctoral programme has only one entry point for new students per year, and that is 1 October in any academic year. New students cannot start at any other time.

Can I start late?

Due to the taught compulsory research training programmes which start in Week 2 in October, we cannot accept students on the Business & Management and the Finance & Economics programmes after the end of Week 2.

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