Find a programme
Run by Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
Awards available PhD
Programme length Four years full-time;
seven years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Start date Most students will start in October 2021, however other dates can be considered.

Programme overview

Research is central to the activities of the School of Management at the University of Bristol. The school comprises a group of academic staff with a variety of interests and a focus on research that has practical relevance. The results of the most recent UK-wide research assessment, REF 2014, rated 78 per cent of the research activity in business and management as 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'.

The school encourages interdisciplinary research, drawing on a range of theories and methodologies. We welcome students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. We encourage applications from strong candidates from disciplines outside the social sciences, management and business studies who wish to convert, and from candidates with organisational or commercial experience.

Candidates entering the PhD programme are normally required to take 60 credit points of taught units in their first year. Students are also encouraged to undertake further training in agreement with their supervisor for the duration of their studies.

Fees for 2021/22

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK: part-time
Overseas (including EU): full-time
Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2021/22

The School of Management is pleased to be able to offer four competitively awarded scholarships to outstanding PhD candidates. Applications are now invited with the deadline of Monday 10th June 2021, noon BST, to start in October 2021. Find out more on the School of Management webpages.

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law has an allocation of 1+3 and +3 ESRC scholarships. Applicants may also be interested in applying for funding from the University of Bristol scholarship fund or alumni PhD scholarship fund.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class or first-class honours degree in a related subject (or equivalent) and a merit or equivalent master's qualification in a related subject.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile B
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

  • Sustainable Production, Inclusivity, Consumption and Economy (SPICE)

We research two of the biggest societal challenges of our time: (a) how to transition to sustainable forms of production and consumption, and (b) how do we do so in an equitable and inclusive way? We examine sustainable business practices; diverse patterns of working and consuming; democratic forms of business ownership and control; the changing ways in which goods and services are distributed, accessed, used and disposed of; and the moral economies of ‘societal transitions’. Our research engages directly with business strategy and public policy, and through our research we partner with large and small businesses, government, trade unions and third sector and civil society organisations.

Supervisory interests

Prof Martin Parker: Culture, politics, ethics, alternative organization, worker ownership, low carbon economy, social theory, organization theory, cultural studies. 

Dr Katharina Burger: Smart and Sustainable Cities, Urban Transitions, Behavioural Operational Research, Participatory Methods, Group Decision Making

Dr Fiona Spotswood: Social marketing, ethics in marketing, critical social marketing, sustainable consumption 

Prof David Evans: Global production and consumption networks; organization theory; ethnography; sustainability and environmental policy; heterodox economics 

Dr Anita Mangan: Co-operatives, alternative forms of organising, credit unions, power and control, social justice, volunteers, volunteering processes, decent work, discourse analysis. 

  • Work Futures

Placing work in its social context, we undertake a radical rethinking of the possible futures of work in an age of technological transformation. We believe that the fate of those who work is not set in stone. Between automated luxury and alienated redundancy, we can shape the future of work as it unfolds. Our research is grounded in a commitment to better work as the road to better lives, stronger communities and stable democratic institutions.

Supervisory interests

Dr Rutvica Andrijasevic: Gender and political economy; unfree labour in global supply chains; digital labour (with focus on gender, race and migration); transnational firms and migrant labour; posted work and platformisation of work in the EU; global production and work & employment relations in China and Central Eastern Europe.  

Dr Huw Thomas: International employment relations; labour governance; global production networks

Prof Peter Turnbull: Industrial relations in the transport sector (all modes), digital technologies in air traffic management, International Labour Organization and global union federations, 

  • Innovation and Digitalisation

With a critical, interdisciplinary and reflexive approach, we research innovation and new digital technologies, taking social and political impact into account. Our research aims to inform both theory development and global policy and practice. Topics include innovation and advisory systems, international development, participatory approaches to innovation of smart cities, digital systems of knowledge production, sharing economy and collaborative consumption digital platforms, the governance and ethics of emerging technologies, as well as sustainable, social, and responsible innovation via digitalisation.

Supervisory interests

Dr Jie Sheng: Big data analytics; digital platform; online social interactions; firm-generated content; new media; media exposure; crowdsourcing; data-driven strategy

Dr Emma Slade: Technology adoption; online sharing behaviour; consumer trust and digital technology.

Prof Agnes Nairn: Children, young people and consumption; marketing and public policy; advertising regulation and governance; gambling advertising; eSports gambling advertising; digital marketing regulation and public policy; marketisation of primary and secondary education 

Dr Eleonora Pantano: Technology and Innovation for Marketing and retailing; Big data and new metrics for consumer research; shopping experience and omnichannel retail 

Dr Sophie Lythreatis: Business ethics, digital ethics; digital inequalities, digital divide; CSR; leadership; organisational identification; organisational resilience

Dr Xin Fei: Algorithm design and applications of linear, nonlinear, integer, and mixed integer; Decision making under uncertainty with applications to transportation management, performance engineering, and pharmaceutical supply chain; Optimal learning with applications to multi-armed bandit, ranking and selection, and sampling-based algorithms


  • Public Services Governance and Management

Our research focuses on governance at all levels of institutions operating in the public sector, especially education and healthcare. We explore public sector management and how governance, management structures and issues of accountability affect organisational performance, including service quality, efficiency and user experience. We analyse public sector reforms and their implications across social class and resulting outcomes. We also investigate public sector reforms in relation to the changing role of professions and professional organisations.

Supervisory interests

Prof Andrew Sturdy: Management ideas; management consultancy; professional services governance; management control; alternative organisation

Prof Gianluca Veronesi  Healthcare and public sector management; Governance; Professions and organisations 

  • Global Political Economy

Our research focuses on critical approaches to globalisation and the role of different firms, labour, regulators and the nation-state in the reproduction of capitalism. The theme brings together staff across disciplines such as economic sociology and geography, politics, migration and global studies. We explore the organisation of production and consumption, uneven economic development, labour mobilities and exploitation, financialisaton, super-rich capitalism and the internationalisation of knowledge-intensive organisations. We also research transnational corporations, workers and institutions.

Supervisory interests

Dr Jennifer Johns: Digital technologies, additive manufacturing (3D printing), global value chains/global production networks, entrepreneurship, remote working, modern slavery, geographies of the global economy, clustering and agglomeration, coworking 

Prof Stephanie Decker: Historical approaches in management & organization research; business and strategy research in Africa; women's entrepreneurship in Africa; digital archives and heritage 

Prof Jonathan Beaverstock: Internationalisation of emerging market professional services - accounting, law; digitalisation and fintech ecosystems; sustainable business travel; and competitiveness of the City of London in a post-Brexit world.

ARCIO (Action Research and Critical Inquiry in Organisations)

ARCIO (Action Research and Critical Inquiry in Organisations) is an interdisciplinary research centre that brings together a network of scholars committed to researching in participative and/or capacity-building ways in organisations and communities. Our membership stretches across the social sciences and beyond, including an artist in residence and visiting professors.

ARCIO is led by Dr Sheena Vachhani



Previous graduates have gone on to careers in academia as well as to a variety of employers across the world such as: Honda, Bank of China Hong Kong, and Chinese Academy of Science. Another popular route for graduates is to pursue post-doctoral research, consultancy or enter policy-based institutions.

Staff profiles

How to apply
Application deadline:

We welcome applications at any time of year; early application is advised. Applications to begin study in September 2021 will not be accepted after 16 July 2021.

Applicants wishing to be considered for ESRC funding or China Scholarship Council funding should check the relevant websites for 2021/22 funding deadlines.

If you wish to be considered for ESRC scholarship, the final deadline for submitting your PhD application is 5th January 2021. Online interviews will be conducted on the 13 and 14 January 2021. If you are nominated for the scholarship, you will receive an email shortly after that about the ESRC studentship process. Early application is strongly encouraged.

Open days and visits

Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.

Get in touch

Graduate Studies PGR Team Email:

School website: School of Management

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

REF 2014 results

  • Business and Management Studies:
  • 24% of research is world-leading (4*)
  • 54% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
  • 22% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
  • 0% of research is recognised nationally (1*)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

Edit this page