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The Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest-level academic qualification you can attain. The Queen’s Management School Doctoral Programme is set up as a journey to the boundaries of knowledge in Accounting, Economics, Finance and Management. We prepare you to cross these boundaries and contribute to the process of scientific knowledge creation.

We will support you in this process with a faculty of leading scholars and a network of international partnerships with other top-ranked universities. This means that you will have access to a broad set of facilities and specialised courses, and you are able to build a global knowledge network with top scholars from around the world. This ensures you will receive unmatched support to maximise your chances of achieving excellence in your doctoral research.

The Chartered Association of Business Schools counts Queen’s Management School among the top 10 per cent of UK research-intensive business schools. A Queen’s Management School PhD enables you to differentiate yourself through top academic research. It prepares you for an academic career, but exposes you to skills that are useful in a business or public policy career as well.

Programme structure

Our doctoral programme is centred on the preparation of a research thesis of approximately 80,000 words, which must contain material of publishable standard. You will write this thesis under the guidance of a supervisory team consisting of two academics based at Queen’s Management School. Subject-specific training is also gained through attending our weekly seminars in accounting, economics, finance and management, all of which attract leading international experts. The thesis is awarded after a successful oral examination with an internal and external examiner. The normal period of study is three years for full-time students, and six years for part-time students.

Students at Queen’s Management School are required to develop a wide range of skills and competencies in addition to their subject-specific knowledge. Our Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme aims to support postgraduate research students in developing these skills. Over the course of study you are expected to attend postgraduate skills training organised by the Graduate School. Additionally, we run our own weekly postgraduate skills seminar that covers a variety of topics, such as innovative research methods, the business school job market, and academic publication strategies. We regularly invite employers and graduates to speak with current students, and actively support students when they attend international conferences and workshops. We run an annual Doctoral Colloquium, and help to prepare those students who seek to go on the academic job market.

Fields of doctoral research

Students enrolled on the Queen’s Management School Doctoral Programme register for one of four PhD degrees. Each has particular research strengths, outlined below.

PhD Accounting:

The Accounting Subject Group focuses on governance, reporting, control and change in the public sector and in the wider not-for-profit sector, particularly in the areas of charities and social enterprise organisations.

PhD Economics:

The Economics Subject Group covers three main areas:

  • Our economic theory cluster has interests in game theory, networks and mechanism design.
  • Our applied economics cluster has interests in economic history, labour economics, regional economics and economic growth.
  • Our econometrics cluster has interests in theoretical and applied econometrics, including panel data and financial econometrics.

PhD Finance:

The research in our Finance Subject Group relates to three themes:

  • Financial markets and institutions over the long run.
  • Not-for-profit financial institutions, particularly credit unions.
  • The microstructure of financial markets.

PhD Management:

In the Management Subject Group, high quality research is being conducted in four broad themes:

  • Entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • Marketing and international business.
  • The dynamics of organizations.
  • The management of people.


A research priority for Queen’s Management School is the development of interdisciplinary teams of researchers to carry out innovative, empirically-based research across a wide range of business and management topics. The Queen’s Management School Doctoral Programme lies at the heart of this effort, and students from across the four subject areas share facilities and enjoy the support of teams of supervisors that cross disciplinary boundaries.

Additionally, Queen’s Management School hosts three interdisciplinary research centres. Research students benefit from attending the world-class activities organised by these centres, and from engaging with the leading international experts that they attract.

Admissions criteria

Admissions onto the Queen’s Management School PhD programme is subject to stringent entrance criteria, the submission of a proposal outlining your intended line of research, references and, where appropriate, proof of linguistic and academic ability.

Academic entry qualifications:

Normally a UK 2.1 Honours degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) and a UK Masters degree in a relevant discipline with a final result of at least 60% (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University).

Applicants who hold a UK 2.2 Honours degree (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) may be considered if they hold a UK Masters degree in a relevant discipline with the result stipulated above (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University). Evidence of relevant professional experience and/or attendance at interview may be required in such cases.
Research proposal:
Queen’s Management School will only accept applications where there exists sufficient research expertise, so as to ensure that students are properly supervised. Prospective applicants are encouraged, in the first instance, to consult the staff by research theme page to identify potential supervisors for your work. The best proposals are typically those developed in consultation with a member of academic staff.
When making contact with a member of academic staff, you might at first send her or him a very short synopsis (of approximately 150 words) of your proposed research area. On the basis of this short outline, they will be able to tell you whether they, or the School, have sufficient expertise to supervise your topic, and whether a fuller application is worthwhile.
Once you have identified a member of staff who is interested in your research ideas, you should prepare a research proposal of no more than 2,000 words (excluding bibliographical references). A good proposal will have the following characteristics:
  • Introduces the chosen study area and key research question or questions.
  • Discusses the nature, scope and methodology of the study.
  • Outlines the relevance or importance of the study.
  • Contains a preliminary literature review.
We reserve the right to check any submitted proposal for originality.
English language proficiency:
  • International students wishing to apply to Queen’s University Belfast and for whom English is not their first language must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their programme of study or research.
  • Evidence of an IETLS score of 7.0 overall, with no less than a 6.0 in any component, is required (or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University).
  • Applicants who are either nationals of a country which is deemed to be majority-English-speaking, or who hold a degree or an equivalent qualification which was taught in a country deemed to be majority-English-speaking, will normally be assumed to have met the English language requirements.

Fees and funding

UK/ EU tuition fees (2018/19):

  • TBC (full-time)
  • TBC (part-time)

International tuition fees (2018/19):

  • £15,855 (full-time)
  • £7,928 (part-time)

Postgraduate funding

Queen's Doctoral Training Centres

Contact details

Postgraduate Research Coordinator:
Professor Mark Palmer 
+44 (0)28 9097 5612

Postgraduate Research Administrator:

Research Centres


Queen's University Centre for Economic History

An interdisciplinary research centre which investigates the past to help economists understand the present.

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Centre for Health Research at the Management School

An interdisciplinary research centre which aims to promote social, behavioural, and management science research into issues relating to health and other dimensions of human wellbeing.

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The Centre for Not-for-profit and Public-sector Research

Promoting research focusing on the themes of accountability in the charity and public sectors; financial institutions; and managing in the charity and public sectors.

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Student Profile Haicheng Jiang

Haicheng Jiang

PhD in Economics

“I decided to do my PhD in Economics at Queen’s University Belfast because of its global reputation in economic history combined with the practical knowledge its academics have working with industry, and through having access to a real Trading Room. I was also able to avail of funding through the China Scholarship Council which provides joint funding with Queen’s to cover tuition fees and some additional costs."

Read more