MRes/PhD Business & Management

Course Structure


For our students, learning isn’t confined by physical walls. If you excel through independent learning and have an eagerness to learn then WBS is the place for you. The core benefits of our PhD programme include: 

  • A fully-funded programme and an annual stipend of approximately £18,000 per annum.
  • An inspirational learning experience in a world-class interdisciplinary environment, working alongside the brightest scholars and learning from leading academics from across the globe.
  • Highly relevant and structured training focusing on developing your core research skills.
  • Programme flexibility with the introduction of study tracks to tailor your studies, supported by a wide range of research groups.
  • The opportunity to develop a global network by researching and learning abroad as part of your PhD programme.
  • Preparation for a prestigious academic or research career.

Initial Registration

If you choose our 2+3 year MRes/PhD Business & Management programme, you will initially be registered for an MRes. This is a compulsory taught part of the programme, and you will be required to pass modules in your first and second years. 

The main requirement for award of your MRes at the end of your second year is the successful completion of all taught modules. The main requirement for award of your PhD is the successful completion of a thesis which is expected to be around 80,000 words and makes a significant original contribution to knowledge.


As part of your MRes/PhD programme, you will study thirteen modules over your first two years. This comprises three core modules, four methods modules, and six elective modules. At the end of your second year of study, you will be awarded an MRes Business & Management and be permitted to proceed to PhD study (subject to satisfactory completion of all modules and an upgrade panel).

Core modules:

  • Foundations of Business & Management Research
  • Research Skills in Business & Management
  • Research Portfolio.

Methods modules (qualitative):*

  • Theorising and Publishing Qualitative Research
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Designing and Conducting Qualitative Research
  • Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods.

Methods modules (quantitative):*

  • Causal Inference
  • Learning from Data: Being a Good Consumer of Quantitative Analysis
  • Introduction to Advanced Quantitative Analysis
  • Analytics for Behavioural Research
  • Optimal Decision Making.

* You will choose either 1 qualitative module and 3 quantitative modules, or 1 quantitative module and 3 qualitative modules.


The Behavioural Science pathway

The Behavioural Science pathway is designed for students from a variety of backgrounds, giving you the opportunity to work within one of the leading Behavioural Science groups in the UK, and benefit from the group’s outstanding global reputation. The Behavioural Science pathway comprises of two years MRes, followed by three years of focused PhD research.

By studying this pathway you will be taught by researchers in behavioural science and tap into their extensive academic expertise and collaborative network. You will develop the cutting edge skills and interdisciplinary expertise needed to succeed in this rapidly developing field. Previous students now occupy prestigious positions across academia, industry and the public sector.

The MRes part of the programme will provide you with in-depth learning of quantitative skills relevant to behavioural science research. You'll also learn skills applicable to big data analysis while engaging in detailed, rigorous debates of current topics within Behavioural Science. This will ensure you have ample opportunity to build your research topic and receive feedback from across our multidisciplinary team before continuing with your dedicated PhD research. 

Students will receive an MRes Business & Management after successfully completing the first two years of study, followed by a PhD Business & Management (Behavioural Science) after successfully completing the three year PhD.

The module selection for the Behavioural Science pathway differs slightly to that of the MRes/PhD Business & Management. For more information about the modules on the Behavioural Science pathway please click here.

Business & Management modules

Foundations of Business & Management Research

This module aims to provide doctoral students a broad overview of the main paradigms in studying business and management phenomena.

Research Skills in Business and Management

This module seeks to raise awareness and provide transferrable skills in order to succeed in the PhD research process and how to manage a research project. Issues will be addressed related to how to undertake a PhD, how to carry out a literature review, what a research question is, how to frame a contribution, research governance and ethics, research impact and engaged scholarship.

Research Portfolio

The research portfolio requires students to conduct an empirical and/or theoretical piece of independent research under the direction of a supervisor producing an original piece of work of publishable quality. The portfolio will be presented to an academic committee at the end of the second year of MRes study.

Theorising and Publishing Qualitative Research

This module addresses the next steps, following collecting and analysing, theorising, and publishing qualitative research. You will be tasked with 'theorising' and 'writing up' data collected in the previous module or collected for your PhD. The module positions you as a qualitative researcher and will be directly relevant for your PhD studies as you critically analyse and reflect upon processes of theorising and publishing qualitative research.

Qualitative Data Analysis

The module addresses practical and theoretical questions related to the analysis of qualitative data and how to make qualitative research robust, rigorous and relevant. The module will be directly relevant for PhD studies.

Designing and Conducting Qualitative Research

The module aims to address the practical, analytic, and intellectual questions related to the collection of qualitative data. It will do so by providing students with hands-on experience on the use of some of the most common data collection in qualitative research. The module will alternate taught sessions on the principles, practicalities, and issues of using specific methods with the practical use of the method. During the course, the students will be asked to collect data so that they can experience in first person the affordances and challenges of the approach under examination. Staff will then work with small groups and individuals to critically analyse and reflect upon the process of data collection and analysis. Students will be also given a number of readings that will help them to inform their reflection and learn from the experience of others.

Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods

The module will introduce qualitative research, examine its philosophical foundations and provide an introductory overview of the different traditions that are usually subsumed under the label. The module will be introductory in character and will be accessible to students without prior knowledge of the topic. The module will combine lectures, individual and group online tasks between classes, and hands on in-class activities.

Causal Inference

This module aims to provide doctoral students with an understanding of, and skills in applying, quantitative methods for causal inference and policy evaluation.

Learning from Data

This module aims to provide those with no prior training in quantitative analysis, and who may not wish to conduct quantitative research with the tools to usefully interpret, evaluate, and use, quantitative research in their own work. It also serves as a foundation for ongoing study for those with no background at all in quantitative analysis.

Introduction to Advanced Quantitative Analysis

This module aims to provide doctoral students with a grounding in the set of advanced quantitative analysis methods that are increasingly necessary for conducting and publishing world-leading business and management science.

Optimal Decision Making

This module aims to provide doctoral students with skills and knowledge to model and formally define decision and optimisation problems and apply a range of methods to solve these problems.

Analytics for Behavioural Research

This module aims to provide doctoral students with skills and knowledge in quantitative analysis, particularly as it relates to behavioural data.

Elective modules:

A range of modules will be available for students to study. Modules are subject to availability and demand and may therefore be taught in either the first year or second year of study. We therefore cannot guarantee a particular module may be available. Indicative modules on offer may include the following:

  • Advanced Empirical Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • Business Research in the Digital Age
  • Design Science Research Method
  • Special Topics in Operational Research
  • Recent Advances in Operational Research
  • Recent Advances in Operations Management
  • Theories and Research in Organizational and Applied Psychology
  • Current Topics in Employment Relations and Human Resource Management
  • Mastering Case Study Research
  • Classic and Contemporary Topics in Marketing Research
  • Theories of Strategic Management
  • Ethnographic methods in Organisational & Management Research
  • Machine Learning and Data Analytics
  • Advances in Behavioural Science
  • Foundations of Management and Organisational Research
  • Big Data Research Method
  • Contemporary Issues in Management and Organisational Research
  • Process, Practice and Routine Studies.
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