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Online PhD: Business and Management

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School - Salford Business School

Subject area - Business and Management

Start Dates(s):


Three years full-time
Five years part-time

Applications can be submitted at any time during the year; there are four intake/entry points per academic year.


In Brief:

Subject Overview

The Salford Business School online PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) programme is designed for academically capable and strongly motivated individuals from around the world who want to pursue the chance to develop new and creative approaches to extending existing knowledge and practice with a view to further developing their careers in business, industry, and/or the public sector. We provide a vibrant, enthusiastic and highly international academic arena, with a body of distinguished academic staff with diverse teaching and research interests in many different facets of business and management. Our online PhD programme offers you the opportunity to undergo comprehensive training in research methods, pursue original scholarly research in your chosen area of specialist inquiry, and advance academic knowledge and understanding of business and management issues, processes and problems, within their organizational and societal contexts. Our research delivers real business solutions with particular expertise in: *

  • Finance, Accounting and Economics
  • Information Systems and Digital Business Technology
  • International Strategy, People Management and Salford Law
  • Marketing and Services Management
  • Operations and Global Logistics Management
  • Management Science and Statistics
  • Digital Business
  • Social Business
  • Sports Business

Entry Requirements

First 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.

APEL – We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

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.

Research Involvement

Applicant Profile

We would not be prescriptive about the methodology you would adopt for your research therefore and would consider applicants from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds. We would expect you to have a foundation in research methodology, whether qualitative or quantitative. Evidence of ability to study and critically appraise literature independently is essential and it is for this reason that candidates with a Masters qualification are preferred.

As a student embarking on a postgraduate research degree you will be assigned a supervisory team, to help guide and mentor you throughout your time at the University. However, you are ultimately expected to take responsibility for managing your learning and will be expected to initiate discussions, ask for the help that you need and be proactive in your approach to study.

International Students - Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

International Students are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin studying their course. You may need to obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK in order for you to comply with Home Office regulations. Please refer to your offer conditions.

You can find out if your programme requires an ATAS by checking the FCO website at with your JACS code which will be on your offer letter should you choose to make an application. If you cannot find it please contact International Conversion team at If you have any queries relating directly to ATAS please contact the ATAS team on

You can apply for your ATAS Certificate via this link:

Current Student Research

Research Topics

Salford Business School currently has more than 140 postgraduate research students drawn, apart from the UK, from many countries around the world, including Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines and Malaysia.

The School’s research places great value on the fostering of a supportive and collaborative environment. This is achieved through a variety of means, including a doctoral training programme that involves weekly sessions on research process and methodology (covering subjects such as conducting a literature review, methods of data collection, research governance and ethics, analysis, presentation, interpretation and rigour in qualitative research), research seminar series, annual School Postgraduate Research Symposium, regular Information Bulletins, Blackboard site, Facebook page, and various social events. The School is also affiliated to the Northern Advanced Research Training Initiative (NARTI), a network of research-based university Business and Management Schools in the UK’s north of England.

In addition, the University offers all postgraduate research students an extensive range of free training activities to help develop their research and transferable skills via the Salford Postgraduate Research Training Programme (SPoRT). This programme includes workshops and seminars and online material on topics such as dissertation skills, career planning, intellectual property rights and surviving the viva. Postgraduate training sessions covering a wide range of important topics such as the PhD process and procedure, paradigms, ethical considerations in research, research design and research methodology are also available.

There is also a Salford Postgraduate Annual Research Conference (SPARC) which offers a a postgraduate researchers in different disciplines across the university to exchange ideas:

Examples of Students on the on-campus PhD programme

Arash Raeisi

The effects of social media on choice in HE study

I am a social media marketer, academician and final year PhD candidate, with experience of working in West Asia and the UK. My experience of student recruitment has grown while investigating, on multiple projects, the use of social media among prospective home and international students. These projects, in addition to revealing the nuances and patterns of social media usage at various stages in the admission process, have also importantly resulted in some students choosing the UK and specific universities for their higher education. In this way, my PhD focuses on the effects of social media on the choice of course of study. The course of study is often cited as an important factor influencing the choice of institution or the host country, but it has rarely been explored in its totality. My study has features with value for practitioners, particularly higher education marketers and student recruitment specialists, and scholars in the area of choice and decision making research in higher education. My findings raise an awareness of the opportunities and constraints associated with social media as a source of information available to prospective students during the course selection process.

Mhorag Goff

Actor-Network theory and the NHS patient record system

As a PhD student in Information Systems I am interested in the sociology and philosophy of technology and qualitative approaches to researching information systems. My research is focused on Electronic Patient Records (EPRs) in the NHS, using Actor-Network Theory to investigate the EPR as a complex object, accessed through multiple user perspectives and with a view to producing a visualisation of its actor-network. I am currently exploring the methodological aspects of applying Actor-Network Theory to field research in addition to using it for data analysis. As a Graduate Teaching Assistant I am also involved with teaching tutorial classes on Information Systems related modules and Research Methods at a range of levels from 1st year undergraduate to Masters, allowing me to develop my teaching skills and gain exposure to the academic environment.

Amna Shahzad

Country of origin effects on consumer perception

I have been a PhD student at Salford Business School, University of Salford since 2009. My research focuses on the effects of country of origin (COO) of a product on consumers’ perception, for low and high involvement products. It extends previous research by measuring the two involvement levels side by side within the context of a developing country. This research follows on from work I did on my MSc International Business dissertation. When selecting the institution to carry out my higher studies I made no compromise on the best quality research supervision and facilities by choosing the University of Salford. The quality of research is always my first priority and there are many benefits of being a part of such a great research team which is always there for support and guidance. Research is a process which is long, frenzied and demanding but with the right leadership, motivation, drive and intellectual supervision that I have received, I am highly satisfied that I am going in the right direction at the right pace.

Vasilis Gotsis

A strategic model for improving service in UK airlines

I have an MBA degree and BSc (Hons) Business Studies with International Business degree from the University of Salford. I also have 14 years background in the airline industry. For the last four years I engaged in teaching for several institutions and now I am a part-time lecturer at Salford. My research area focuses on customer service failure of the UK Airlines. Its main objective is to create a theoretical model in order to develop further the understanding of customer satisfaction and apply this to examine critical incidents of airline service failure and identify optimal recovery strategies.

GTA Student Profiles

Training and Skills

Assessment Links

As a postgraduate research student at the University of Salford, you are required to meet a number of milestones in order to re-register for each year of study. These ‘progression points’ are an important aid for both you and your supervisory team and it is essential that you complete them on time.

Although supervision and training are delivered online, attendance at the University is compulsory for the three main formal assessment points: the Interim Assessment, Internal Evaluation and Viva.

Learning Agreement: this is completed by you and your supervisor collaboratively in the first 3 months of your research programme. It encourages both of you to develop a thorough and consistent understanding of your individual and shared roles and responsibilities in your research partnership.

Annual Progress Report:this report is completed by your supervisor at the end of each year of study, and reports on your achievements in the past year, the likelihood that you will submit on time, confirmation of the Learning Agreement and relevant training undertaken.

Self-Evaluation Report:this is completed by you at the end of each year of study. It asks you to comment on your academic progress, supervisory arrangements, research environment, research training, and relevant training undertaken.

Interim Assessment:this is an assessment of your progress by a panel. It takes place towards the end of your first year, and is designed to ensure you have reached a threshold of academic performance, by assessing your general progress. The assessment comprises a written report, presentation and oral examination by a Panel. You must successfully complete it in order to register for your second year.

Internal Evaluation:this will take place towards the end of the second year and successful completion is required in order to continue onto your third year of study. You will be expected to show strong progress in your PhD study reflected in the submission of a substantial piece of work, generally at least four chapters of your thesis.

Research Profile

Research Excellence

Salford Business School aims to be a first-choice international provider of next-generation business and management education and research developing graduates, managers and leaders in the digitally-connected, complex global knowledge economy who are transformational in thinking, behaviour and practice.

In research we foster a stimulating, aspirational and supportive research environment engaged across disciplines and in line with business, community and public policy needs.

Researchers are involved in projects which probably impact on your everyday life - statisticians helped create the official player rating scores for the Barclays Premier League, and they also validate that the National Lottery draw is indeed random.

Research at Salford Business School delivers real business solutions, with particular expertise in:

  • Finance, Accounting and Economics
  • Information Systems and Digital Business Technology
  • International Strategy, People Management and Salford Law
  • Marketing and Services Management
  • Operations and Global Logistics Management
  • Management Science and Statistics
  • Digital Business
  • Social Business
  • Sports Business

Each of the School research areas is led by an experienced researcher, often a Professor, whose expertise has international recognition. All our research leaders publish their research in peer reviewed internationally recognised journals and are they regularly invited to speak at international conferences. They lead on a wide range of established collaborations with UK, international academic and industry partners.

Staff Profiles

Professor Ralph Darlington

Ralph’s research interests are in the areas of work, employment, industrial relations and trade unionism. He has authored, co-authored and edited six books, including The Dynamics of Workplace Unionism (1994), Glorious Summer (2001), What's the Point of Industrial Relations?: In Defence of Critical Social Science (2009), and Radical Unionism (2013). He has also had 13 book chapters and 29 journal articles published in both British and international journals, and presented research papers at conferences in 12 different countries around the world.

Ralph is an executive member of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association, executive board member of the International Association on Strikes and Social Conflicts, and member of the British Sociological Association. He is an editorial board member of the journal Work, Employment and Society and an editorial advisory board member of Employee Relations: The International Journal.

For the last 23 years Ralph has been secretary of the Manchester Industrial Relations Society (, the primary forum for academic and practitioner debates in the field of industrial relations in the north-west of England. In addition to acting in an advisory capacity for a number of trade unions, his research has been featured in national and local newspapers and on radio and television.

Professor Hassan Yazdifar

Hassan is a Professor of Accounting at Salford Business School. He has experience of teaching higher education in different institutions in the UK, as wells as Greece, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine. Hassan´s professional qualifications includes: Certified public accountant (CPA Iran); Certified Expert of Iranian Judiciary Professional Association (Iran), Certificate in Academic Teaching (Sheffield University). He is a member of European Accounting Association (EAA), European Network on the Economics of the Firm (ENEF), British Accounting Association (BAA), Management Control Association (MCA), European Network for Research of Organizational and Accounting Change (ENROAC), Iranian Professional Accountants (Iran).

Research interests include: management accounting and changing management accounting practices; management accounting in developing and less developed countries; diffusion of management accounting innovations; changing roles of the accountant and the finance function; the future of accounting and other business-oriented education; the role of accounting/accountant in the processes of mergers and acquisitions; Islamic accounting and ethics in accounting; organisational change (mergers and acquisitions) and change implementation; institutional theories; Evolutionary economic theories; research methodology and qualitative research methods in organisation studies.




Home students: £4,195 for year 1

International students: £6,740 for year 1


Home students: £2,098 for year 1
International students: £3,370 for year 1


Career Prospects

Students leaving Salford Business School with a PhD degree are well placed to lead and manage research and development activities in business and related areas. Globally a postgraduate research qualification is usually a prerequisite for an academic career and several of our alumni are now senior academics. In addition many of our previous students have taken their research expertise and knowledge into business practice, innovating in industry and helping to advance knowledge and practice in their professional discipline. We encourage the maintenance of links between graduating research students and their host research group and supervisor. This means the University can become part of the developing professional network that students take forward into their future careers.

Links with Industry

Salford Business School has a compelling record of generating research in partnership. Applied research projects that benefit the communities in which the research is embedded is evidenced and promoted through Salford Impact. Our projects demonstrate significant funding success with key funding partners and users. Links with industry include guest lectures, real case studies and business trips.


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 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 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.