Research Degrees in

People and Performance

in the Faculty of Business and Law


Do you want to advance or change your career, deepen your expertise in a topic, or expand your research and practical skills?

With a PhD or other postgraduate research degree in People and Performance you will:

  • Work with leading experts in the field. We are a centre for research excellence, with 60% of our research in Business rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in the most recent national assessment of research (REF2014).
  • Join a thriving research community. We bring together industry leading professionals and academics with specialisms in strategy, innovation, enterprise, human resource management, entrepreneurship, and sports management.
  • Undertake tailored personal and professional development training. This training ensures our graduates are equipped to make a real impact, whether in the worlds of academia or practice.
  • Receive dedicated support from the Business and Law Graduate School. We provide specialist support and training opportunities to enhance your development as a researcher and practitioner. The seventh floor of our Business School is a dedicated postgraduate space, and includes attractively landscaped social and study areas.

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Areas of supervisory expertise

We can supervise a broad range of projects exploring issues around people and performance. Our areas of expertise include:

  • Work psychology
  • Human resource management in practice
  • Justice, voice and equality
  • Leadership, learning and development
  • Quality of working life
  • Organisations behaviour and psychology
  • Conflict management
  • Occupational psychology
  • Disruptive innovations
  • Work and identity
  • Sport management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Small firm management
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Gender, work & organisations.

Find out more about our staff's expertise

Research culture

Our research combines real-life business expertise with cutting-edge business management theory. We have an impressive track record of conducting rigorous academic research, securing large, funded research projects, and delivering impactful consultancy projects for organisational clients. Through extensive collaboration with partner research institutions and professional bodies, we are able to successfully deliver effective and pragmatic business solutions.

More about our research culture

Our newly launched Decent Work and Productivity research centre builds on the work of our Centre for People and Performance to progress research into the relationship between work quality and performance. Work that is both decent for workers and productive for society is vital to economic, social and cultural progress. Our research aims to enhance understanding of this topic, while also developing real-world solutions for businesses to employ.

As a postgraduate researcher, you will form an integral part of our research culture. You will benefit from an extensive programme of research training, designed to develop your subject-specific and transferable skills. You will also have the opportunity to attend a wide variety of seminars, symposiums and networking events to expand your intellectual horizons.

In addition to the Decent Work and Productivity research centre, we are also home to other major interdisciplinary research centres and projects, including:

Courses offered, duration, and start dates

Programmes offered

  • PhD (3 years full time, 6 years part time)
  • Master's by Research (1 year full time, 2 years part time)
  • MPhil (18 months full time, 36 months part time)
  • PhD by Published Work or Professional Practice (course duration varies by route taken and candidate's background).

Find out more about the different research degrees we offer

Start dates

The majority of our students start their courses in October. We offer a further start point in January.

Career prospects

We have long-standing relationships with local, national and international industries, and provide regular opportunities for networking and knowledge sharing. We also offer rigorous and comprehensive training to equip you with advanced research, technical and critical thinking skills.

These networking and development opportunities will provide you with the confidence and expertise to pursue senior roles as practitioners or researchers.

Course structure

This course is research based. You will independently conduct research into your own topic or a topic that we advertise. Your supervisory team will offer expert guidance throughout your studies and review work in progress.

Each year, you will follow a programme of training and development to enhance your research methods, subject-matter expertise and professional skills.

In your first year (or first two years if you are part-time) you will take four, compulsory, credit-based courses as part of our Doctoral Research Training programme.

Fees and funding

Find out more

Postgraduate Research Degrees Fees

Please refer to our Fees page for more information on tuition fees.

Loans for research degrees

Many of our PhD and Professional Doctorate programmes are eligible for the government's Doctoral Loan Scheme. MPhil and MA/MSc by Research degrees are eligible for a Postgraduate Loan.

Find out more about tuition fees and financial support


Each year we offer a number of competitive scholarships to support high quality research projects. Current scholarship opportunities in Business are advertised on our site.

Sign up to be notified when further scholarships are advertised.

Entry requirements

Find out more

You should, as a minimum, have a first or 2.1 honours degree or an equivalent qualification.

International students must demonstrate a sufficiently high standard of English language ability (IELTS 7.0).

We welcome interest from applicants from non-standard backgrounds. We will take subject knowledge, professional experience, publications, or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment into consideration.

See more about our standard entry requirements.


Before applying for a research degree, you should have a preliminary discussion with a member of staff about your project and ideas. To arrange this, please email Dr Andrew Rowe,, the Postgraduate Research Degrees Lead for the School of People and Performance.

For further information on the application process, contact the Admissions team, +44 (0)161 247 2966

How to apply

Apply now

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online using the link below. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Before you apply, you should discuss your project with a member of academic staff. You should also complete the Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information form which you will then upload to the ‘Student documents’ section of the application form. This collects key information about your research application and there may be delays if you do not submit this document.

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Postgraduate Study