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PhD Studentships

The Open University Business and Law Schools invite applications to join our PhD programme beginning 1 October 2023.  We have a number of fully funded full-time studentships as well as potential fee bursaries. Your application should be based on one of the advertised projects. In addition we also welcome full- and part-time applications in other areas of business, management and law, including on a self-funded basis, dependent on supervision availability.

You will join a vibrant environment of students and academics in the Faculty of Business and Law who conduct research of the highest international standard that has economic, public and social value consistent with the mission of the Open University. You will work with subject specialists and have the opportunity to develop your skills in research communication, engagement and impact.

PhD studentships are based on full-time study for three years at the Milton Keynes campus. Full-time students are normally expected to live within commuting distance (40 miles or 40 minutes) of Milton Keynes. Fully funded studentships cover tuition fees, and a stipend (circa £17668 per annum) for 36 months. Partially funded full or part-time studentships cover tuition fees. A generous research training support grant is allocated to all students accepted into the programme.

Applicants for the PhD programme should have minimum qualifications of an upper second class honours degree 2:1 (or an equivalent) or usually a specialist masters in a subject relevant to the intended study with a strong research element.

Project calls 

Department of Accounting and Finance

DAF01 Sustainability Accounting and Accountability

DAF02 Varieties of Inequality in a Financialized Society

Department of People and Organisations

DPO01 Resilient operations as an alternative to deal with surplus food for human consumption

DPO02 Managing testing activities in sustainable product design and manufacturing

DPO03 Identifying service sourcing risk mitigation strategies for service supply chains in the aftermath of Covid-19

Department of Strategy and Marketing

DSM01 Customer Empathy - Opportunities and Challenges for Recovering Service Failure in the Digital Era

DSM02 Video Games, Consumer Identity and Digital Consumption

DSM03 A strategic review of market-based reforms in the electricity sector - cases from India and or Sub-Saharan Africa

DSM04 The Role of Marketing in Making a Smart City Inclusive - New Technology, Urban Design and Underserved Communities 

LAW School

LAW01 Online and digital violence against women

LAW02 Whose Commons is it Anyway - Environmental Authority and the Development of Space Law

Department of Public Leadership and Social Enterprise

PuLSE01 Addressing Climate Challenges through social innovations during turbulent times

PuLSE02 Changing the organisation of food production

Your application must include:

  • a proposal which should be at least 1,000 words and no longer than 2,000 words, which indicates your knowledge of the literature, methods and likely approach to your project of interest (guidance on how to write your research proposal)
  • a covering letter indicating your suitability for the project
  • a fully completed application form
  • copies of degree certificates and transcripts relevant to your application
  • If your first language is not English, you may need to verify your competence in the English Language in all four elements (reading, writing, listening and speaking). The University requires a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any of the four categories (or approved equivalent). You should have your level of proficiency certified through a provider approved by UK Visas and Immigration and provide your certificate and grade with your application. Please refer to the application form for further details. Please note that a current IELTS must be submitted at the time of application and cannot be completed later.
  • Incomplete applications will not be accepted

Please note that PhD by Published works is only available to internal OU staff and staff based at our Affiliated Research Centres

The closing date for applications is noon UK time on Tuesday 21st February 2023.  Your proposal, covering letter, fully completed application form and copies of certificates and transcripts including IELTS certificate, should be emailed to by the closing time and date.

Interviews will form part of the selection process and will be held in March or April, either in person or remotely via videoconference. Applicants are expected to give a 10 minute presentation about their proposal, followed by a question and answer session.

If you are applying to the FBL PhD Programme as a Centre for Policing Research and Learning PhD student please see here for further information about the process and application deadlines.

Further information

We welcome full-time and part-time self-funded applications in topics in Business and Law, dependent on supervision availability and you can apply for a faculty studentship with a research proposal that is not related to one of these advertised projects.  If you have any questions regarding our PhD studentships or about studying with The Open University Law School please contact us.

If you have any questions regarding our PhD studentships or about studying with The Open University Business School please contact us.