Programme Structure

All PhD students undertake the taught Research Methods Course (RMC) as the foundation of their development as a professional researcher. This is intended to provide them with all the skills they require both to complete successfully their PhD degree and to develop themselves as an 'Academic Researcher'. Successful completion of the Research Methods Course is a prerequisite to progress onto the Research Project. The RMC is taught by expert staff in management research and is designed to lead to the development of a Qualifying Report. This is a presentation of the research topic in which the PhD student, explains how and why they chose their specific subject matter, what previous research and writing has informed their approach and the methodology and techniques which they will adopt. The Qualifying Report forms the basis for the final thesis.

Full-time students take the RMC in the first year and finalise their individual research project in Years 2 and 3. Part-time students have a maximum of two years time to complete the RMC and the final thesis has to be submitted by the end of Year 6 at the latest.


Full-time (3 years study)
Year 1: Research Methods Course
Years 2 & 3: Individual Research Project (80,000 words)


Student Profile

Student Profile

Yi Wan

'The Research Degrees Programme provides a wide range of relevant activities for research students including training sessions, workshops, research seminars, symposia, and conferences.'


Time Limits

Earliest date for submission: After 2 years
Maximum time allowed: 3 years


Aston Business School’s close links with industry, commerce and public sector in the UK and abroad, produces a real awareness of the relationship between academic and practical approaches to management. They also ensure that the rapidly changing requirements of modern management are immediately integrated into our research. Research initiatives are co-ordinated through Research Groups within the Business School. These are:

The overall objective of Aston Business School’s research is to generate new knowledge and understanding which contributes to enhancing the practices and policies of modern management.

The School’s strengths include applied research, theory generation, and international and comparative research. Its research funding comes from a range of sources including the Research Councils, industry, government and charitable foundations. As a research student you will be part of a vibrant living research culture at Aston. Research students are encouraged to take an active part in the academic and research life of the School through involvement in the research groups and participation in research seminars. International peer reviewed journals are also edited at Aston (e.g. ‘Knowledge Management Research & Practice’, ‘ Journal of Productivity Analysis’, ‘Critical Surveys Sections of Regional Studies’ ) and major research conferences and workshops are often held here (e.g. ‘European Conference on Management of Technology (2006)’, 'International Workshop on Teamworking (2008)', and ‘International Human Resource Management Conference' (2010)).

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