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Online Doctorate in Salford Business School

The Online Doctorate is a traditional PhD but delivered online via distance supervision and learning.

Reasons to Study an Online Doctorate

  • Gain a traditional PhD through online and distance learning
  • Access to internationally renowned research staff
  • Remain competitive and enhance your employability

Who is it for?

The programme is suitable for candidates who are working in academia or industry, or simply cannot commit to day-to-day physical attendance at the University, and is therefore suitable for either overseas/home students that are either based in/outside the Manchester area.

Programme Structure

The programme is delivered online, and is backed up by tutor support. All candidates are allocated a University of Salford supervisor and co-supervisor, and a personal tutor.
Students are able to download research materials, interact with tutors and fellow students, submit work and check assessment results.

Online Delivery

Candidates will engage in a highly interactive online environment backed up by PhD supervision.
The University of Salford uses different core institutionally-supported learning technologies, including Blackboard, Collaborate and Turnitin.


There is a dedicated Postgraduate Research (PGR) Blackboard site which provides a managed learning environment for Salford Business School’s PhD students. This includes access to teaching and learning materials, and features such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums and chat services. This includes copies of the PGR Student Handbook and the University's Code of Practice; Doctoral Training Programme details (including PowerPoint lecture slides and Mp3 audio files of presentations); Ethical Approval guidance; Progression Point Guidance (for Interim Assessment and Internal Evaluation); information on the School's annual Doctoral Symposium; the Northern Advanced Research Training Initiative; Turnitin originality check; PGR Staff-Student Consultative Committee minutes; and information on Salford Business School PGR support, etc. This Blackboard service is accessible both on-campus through the University network and off campus via the internet.


We also provide a Blackboard Collaborate live web conferencing platform to ensure a 21st century teaching and learning environment. With live one-to-one and collaborative group meetings, classes and session recordings, PhD students will have highly flexible and convenient access (24/7) to the information, help and support for them to get ahead.


The Turnitin facility, which is accessed through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) service, will be available as an online text detection service and a means of checking for the similarity threshold of all written work to existing publicly available material.

Supervision and Training

Students will have full access to the University of Salford’s excellent training and support environment, with supervision and training delivered via our online learning environment, meaning attendance is not a requirement for assessment.
You will be offered training in the use of the University’s virtual learning environment and online library resources. In addition you will be offered subsequent assistance with the following topics:

  • Research Methodology
  • Plagiarism
  • Ethical Approval
  • Progression Points
  • Critical Writing
  • Presenting and Publishing
  • Preparing for Viva
  • Nvivo, SSPS and EndNote

Supervisory Team

The supervisory team will consist of a main supervisor and co-supervisor. There will also be access to a personal tutor who will be able to provide pastoral care.

Students will have a series of meetings with their supervisor per academic year of study, a minimum of 10, ensuring continual support through the study. Since students will be working away from campus, such meetings will be held via telephone, Collaborate video conferencing or Skype facilities, and email.

On occasions where students may wish to come to Salford for a short period of time, hot-desking facilities are provided and you will be welcome to attend in-house training delivered within the University.


The Online Doctoral Programme in Salford Business School is delivered over 3 years full-time (5 years part-time) and students will be expected to submit a thesis (not exceeding 100,000 words) at the end of the programme.


The first date for intake for this new online PhD is October 2015. From then on, applications can be submitted at any time during the year, but there will be four potential intake/entry points per academic year (January, April, July and October).


The Online Doctoral Programme is very flexible with facilitated training sessions which you can use to frame, explore and refine your initial research question. For example, you can use the training sessions to explore general philosophical and methodological ideas; examine what is known about your topic; what your research will contribute to new knowledge; best methods for undertaking the research; and learn about the leadership skills you will need to lead research in practice.
All the doctoral training sessions are facilitated using blended learning, the virtual learning environment ‘Blackboard’ and the virtual doctorate learning environment (VLS). Both enable greater flexibility about the when and where of learning and enable you to keep in contact with your peers and the programme team, wherever they have internet access.

Entry requirments

1st class or upper second class undergraduate degree. A Master’s degree is also preferred but not essential, although applicants without a Master’s degree should provide evidence of previous research methods training.
English requirement for non-UK/ EU students: A minimum total IELTS score of 6.5, including a minimum of 7.0 in elements of academic reading and writing, with no less than 6.0 in any other element.


Within the professional doctorate the assessment processes have been developed to enable you to critically interrogate, analyse, and reflect on your research ideas, demonstrating your ability to take account of professional and methodological issues. The assessments are designed to enable confident articulation and robust exploration, justification and defense of research ideas in keeping with the principles of the doctoral viva.
You are expected to engage in critical self-assessment and personal/professional development planning as a basis for developing the skills associated with doctoral level study and the leadership of research in professional practice.
You will be expected to submit all written work for assessment via email, and also provide hard copies of the final thesis.


Year 1: Learning Agreement and Ethics Checklist

The Learning Agreement is a document which helps to define and plan your programme of research. This must be completed in consultation with your supervisor and co-supervisor and submitted within the first 3 months of your candidature. This document will also specify the required and recommended research training and dates by which such training must be completed.

Year 1: Interim Assessment

The Interim Assessment (IA) is the first formal point in the PhD programme and the progression of the student is assessed by independent experts within Salford Business School. The IA takes place between months 9-11 and you will be required to present a 4,000-word Report about your research project describing the nature of the topic, the issues and debates concerned, research questions and aims, and methodology. You will be expected to present the Report for an oral examination by two independent assessors, for which attendance at the University is compulsory.

Year 2: Internal Evaluation

The Internal Evaluation (IE) is the second formal progression point in the PhD programme and is used to make a decision as to whether you should continue on the programme or be transferred to a programme with a lower award (MPhil). The IE takes place between months 21-23 of your candidature and you will be expected to submit a substantive piece of work of 40,000 words. You will be expected to present the Report for an oral examination by two independent assessors, for which attendance at the University is compulsory.

Year 3: Presentation of Thesis

The presentation of your thesis and its defence at a Viva Voce examination is the final stage of your PhD programme. You will be expected to submit a thesis (not exceeding 100,000 words) at the end of the third year of study. In your completion year of study (year 4) you will be expected to present the thesis for an oral examination by two independent assessors, for which attendance at the University is compulsory.


You will make a significant contribution to professional and business practice with transferable skills to your chosen field. You will also study inter-professionally with peers in a collaborative environment, strengthening networking opportunities across business and management areas.

Career Prospects

Increasingly, employers are looking for flexible and creative key staff receptive to innovation. At this stage in your career, you may be expected to have research and analytical techniques and vision to tackle problems imaginatively and with confidence, but may have limited time or support to do so. By undertaking an Online Doctorate, we will help you enhance personal development, stronger professional self-worth and confidence and improve your career prospects and job satisfaction.