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Postgraduate research routes

As a research led school, we value our doctoral researchers and place them at the heart of our research community by working in close collaboration with our academics. We offer a unique combination of extensive personalised supervision and structured training to help you develop as a researcher and get the most out of the PhD experience.

We offer two principal routes into PhD study. If you’re unsure which the best route is for you, please contact the Postgraduate Research Tutor for your discipline (contact details in the tabs below), who will be very happy to offer you advice based on your individual background and career aims. In addition, we also offer a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA), which is a practitioner-oriented doctoral degree for senior managers with a minimum of three years’ professional experience.

Master of Research (MRes) in Business and Management

The MRes is a one year specialist Masters degree providing the underpinning skills and knowledge needed to complete a PhD and manage research projects in business. Completion of the MRes prior to starting a PhD allows faster progress, better research, and maximises your chance of acceptance onto a PhD programme. As the MRes provides purely research skills training, it perfectly complements other (MA/MSc) Masters degrees, which provide mainly theoretical knowledge (with a minor focus on research).

3 year PhDs

Our flagship programme, the three year PhD, involves three years of independent study under the supervision of one of our experienced academics to complete work which makes an original contribution to your field of study. Completing a PhD is academically challenging and requires commitment, drive and determination. Your application will need to gain support from a prospective supervisor, demonstrate aptitude and include a strong research proposal. 

PhD Research Areas

  • PhD in Accounting and Finance

    The Accounting and Finance Division at Stirling offers a stimulating environment in which to study towards a PhD. Students come onto this pathway from a variety of backgrounds, including disciplines allied with accounting and finance such as economics. There is a national shortage of researchers in this area and the need to increase the number of PhD students to address this shortage has been highlighted in independent national reports. As such, students who complete the PhD Accounting and Finance programme have excellent career prospects and will be in high demand in both academia and industry. Students graduating from this programme have found faculty positions in top universities across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, as well as in leading financial institutions. The PhD Accounting and Finance programme is accredited by the ESRC and affiliated by the Accounting and Finance pathway of the Scottish Graduate School, which is supported by the British Accounting Association (BAA) and its regional Scottish Accounting Group (SAG) (active for over 20 years) as well as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS).

    In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.  The reputation of our research at Stirling Management School was recognised in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), where the School was placed in the UK’s top 25 institutions for Business and Management, out of 101 business schools. In Scotland, the School was ranked in the top five.  64% of our research outputs were classified as world-leading and internationally excellent in terms of their originality, significance and rigour and we were ranked 14th in the UK in terms of research impact with over 60% of our research impact judged to have outstanding reach and wide-ranging impact on the policies of public, private and governmental organisations.

    Whether your career aim involves a research or teaching lead academic career, or working in a leading financial institution, the PhD in Accounting and Finance can help you achieve your aim.

    Finding a Research Topic and Supervisor

    The division has particular strengths in financial reporting, auditing and accounting history; corporate governance; empirical corporate finance; and investments and derivative securities. There are strong groupings of researchers around these areas. However, potential supervisors often have additional interest in diverse areas across accounting, finance, and related disciplines and are happy to supervise PhD students in these. Potential students are encouraged to view all of the research staff within the school when considering who they would like to work with, as some research in accounting and finance overlaps with other divisions, such as economics, and all staff may potentially be able to supervise a PhD in Accounting and Finance.

    Entrance Requirements

    Applying for a PhD differs considerably from applying for other academic courses, and we recommend that students consult all the guidance available on the PhD application process. As this pathway only allows direct entry onto the PhD, we expect candidates to demonstrate evidence of high levels of academic achievement. Applicants should have a good upper second class Honours degree or equivalent in a subject relevant to the field of study and a distinction or near distinction in a Masters degree.

    Contact

    Postgraduate Research Tutor – Accounting and Finance Division – Dr Konstantinos Gavriilidis

    Administrator

  • PhD in Behavioural Science

    The PhD in Behavioural Science programme is aimed at students who want to learn how to conduct and publish world leading research at the interface between the social sciences (such as economics) and the behavioural sciences (such as psychology). This area - which encompasses behavioural economics - is a fast growing field within the social and behavioural sciences and this is one of the only PhD programmes within Europe to have this area as the primary focus. Completing this PhD involves becoming an interdisciplinary researcher, with advanced research skills in both economics and psychology, as well as an appreciation of how assumptions, methods, and theories differ between the two fields.

    The PhD research may involve the analysis of large (N > 10,000) pre-existing longitudinal datasets, quantitative field surveys, experimental designs, randomized controlled trials, or a combination of these methods. Research can be desk based or involve our public, private, or third sector partners (such as the Scottish Government, local council, job centres, or consultancy business) normally with a focus on basic science research.

    In addition to the individual supervision and structured training given to all students at Stirling Management School, students benefit from being a full member of the internationally leading Behavioural Science Centre, which has developed a genuine community of closely interacting and collaborating researchers. Members come from diverse backgrounds, with some having degrees exclusively from economics and others exclusively from psychology, but all share the same passion for researching at the interface between these two areas.

    Collaboration and the research culture are promoted via weekly meetings, which include seminars and presentations from invited researchers from across the UK, as well as occasionally from our partners in industry and government.

    Useful links:

    Contact

    Please contact Postgraduate Research Tutor Dr Conny Wollbrant

    Administrator

  • PhD in Business and Management

    The PhD Business and Management programme enables students to undertake research in a broad range of business, management and human resource management topics. Students often conduct their research in collaboration with industry, charities, and governmental bodies with a view to using the findings of their research to improve some aspect of the organisation’s operation. The PhD programme is accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council and is affiliated with the prestigious Business and Management Pathway of the Scottish Graduate School. 

    Finding a Research Topic and Supervisor

    PhD students are located in the Management, Work and Organisation division of the Management School, where staff have particular strengths in business strategy, working lives, and operations management. Potential supervisors have additional interest in these and other diverse areas, and prospective students are encouraged to view the profiles of all academic staff within the division and beyond into other academic divisions within the Management School, due to the interdisciplinary nature of management research. 

    Contact

    Postgraduate Research Tutor – Management, Work and Organisation Division: Professor John Bowers.

    Administrator

  • PhD in Economics

    The aim of the PhD Economics programme is the development of students who (a) develop a very high degree of technical ability in economic theory and methods, to allow advanced career progression in the field, and (b) are supported to make an original research contribution to knowledge through high level peer-reviewed publication. The PhD programme is affiliated with the prestigious Scottish Graduate Programme in Economics and is accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council.

    In REF 2014, Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent. The reputation of our research at Stirling Management School was recognised in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), where the School was placed in the UK’s top 25 institutions for Business and Management, out of 101 business schools. In Scotland, the School was ranked in the top five.  64% of our research outputs were classified as world-leading and internationally excellent in terms of their originality, significance and rigour and we were ranked 14th in the UK in terms of research impact with over 60% of our research impact judged to have outstanding reach and wide-ranging impact on the policies of public, private and governmental organisations.

    The division is a vibrant and friendly place in which to be based, with a weekly seminar series providing contact with leading external researchers, as well as opportunities to network with academic staff from the division.

    Find out more about the Economics division.

    Whether your career aim involves a research or teaching lead academic career, working in an environmental charity or NGO, or a having a professional economist position in a financial institution, a PhD in Economics can help you achieve your aim.

    Finding a Research Topic and Supervisor

    The division has particular strengths in Money, Banking and Finance; Environmental Economics and Energy Economics; and Work and Well-Being. There are strong groupings of PhD students and researchers around these areas. However, potential supervisors often have additional interest in diverse areas across economics and related disciplines, and are happy to supervise PhD students in these. In addition, it is recommended that you view the profiles of research staff across the school, as Economics relevant research is also conducted by staff in other divisions, such as Accounting and Finance, and they are able to supervise a PhD in Economics. The division is also home to the leading Behavioural Science Research Centre, which supervises PhD students at the interface between psychology and economics, including behavioural economics.

    Entrance Requirements

    A requirement for entry to the PhD in Economics normally include a relevant Masters degree, with the exact degree required depending on the exact nature of the research to be conducted during the PhD and this should be discussed with the potential supervisor. For economically rigorous research topics (and if the SGPE training pathway is chosen) students must have a Masters degree (normally MSc Economics) with a strong econometrics training component. For research topics involving smaller scale data collection, or much simpler analysis of the datasets, other Masters degrees may be more appropriate, including the Masters of Research in Management, or MSc Behavioural Science for Management, both of which have a strong methodological training component (other Masters may also be appropriate).

    Contact

    Postgraduate Research Tutor – Economics Division – Dr David Comerford

    Administrator

  • PhD in Marketing and Retail

    The PhD in Marketing and Retail enables students to undertake research in a broad range of topics. Students often conduct their research in collaboration with industry, charities, and governmental bodies with a view to using the findings of their research to improve some aspect of the organisation’s operation. The PhD programme is accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council and is affiliated with the prestigious Business and Management Pathway of the Scottish Graduate School.

    The Marketing and Retail division has particular strengths in consumer culture and society and retail studies, as well as brands and branding, corporate social responsibility, and marketing in the small and medium sized enterprise.

    Whether your career aim involves a research or teaching orientated academic career, working in a charity or NGO, or a career in business, the PhD in Marketing can help you achieve your aim.

    Finding a Research Topic and Supervisor

    The division has several core research groupings. Potential supervisors have additional interest in these and other diverse areas, and prospective students are encouraged to view the profiles of all academic staff within the division and beyond into other academic divisions within the Management School, due to the interdisciplinary nature of marketing and management research.

    Contact

    Postgraduate Research Tutor – Marketing and Retail Division – Professor Paul Freathy

    Administrator

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