Admission to our PhD programmes is highly competitive. While academic credentials are important for a successful application we also pay great attention to the fit of students to both the programme and the research interests of our academic faculty. Details of the academic, application and English language requirements are outlined below.

Apply early. Supervisors can accept students on a first-come, first-served basis, and the programme may close early if it reaches capacity.

Minimum Academic Requirements

PhD in Management

Entry to the PhD programme in Management requires that applicants have the following minimum qualifications:

  • Normally a postgraduate master's degree from an accredited institution in the UK or overseas. We accept applications from those still currently studying for a master's, but any offer will be conditional on successful completion at the required standard.
  • Evidence of above-average academic achievement (more than 65% overall) and normally a postgraduate master's dissertation with distinction (UK equivalent). MBA or master's students without a dissertation are welcome to apply and should normally provide evidence of distinction level work (UK equivalent).
  • Your official transcript and grading scheme must be provided when you submit your application.

PhD in Financial Technology

While you cannot yet formally apply to our PhD in Financial Technology programme, you can register your interest in the programme or a particular project by emailing phd@business-school.ed.ac.uk.

Applicants for the PhD in Financial Technology programme should have the following qualifications:

  • A postgraduate master's degree from an accredited institution in the UK or overseas. Applications may be accepted from those currently studying for a master's degree, but any offer will be conditional on successful completion at the required standard.
  • Evidence of above-average academic achievement (equal to or more than 70% overall) and normally a postgraduate master's dissertation with distinction (UK equivalent) in finance, economics, informatics, physics, mathematics, engineering, or other relevant programmes with significant quantitative elements.
    • Students with significant finance and technology industry experience, or with relevant professional qualifications who have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in the relevant programmes listed above will be given due consideration on a case-by-case basis.

Please note: If you are currently studying for, or have recently completed an undergraduate degree and do not yet have a Masters qualification please consider applying for our MSc by Research programme.


Application Requirements

Required Documents

In order to apply for a PhD you need to consider:

  • What is your research proposal?
  • Who do you intend to work with while undertaking your research?
  • Do you have the supporting documents needed for your application?

Please be aware that only complete applications will be considered. Complete applications must contain all necessary documents, including a research proposal (or indicated project) and proposed supervisor.

The one exception to this is that you may submit your English language certificate after you have submitted your online application for the PhD programme. Any offer made would be conditional on provision of your English certificate at the minimum level.

For a checklist of necessary supporting documents please read the required documents guidelines:

Guidelines for Required Documents

Your Proposed Research

Your research proposal may be new with a unique hypothesis you have created, or you may be looking to join a supervisor-led project. If you are looking to join a project, these normally include financial support, such as the industrial projects linked to the PhD in Financial Technology programme. To see what projects (or funding support) are currently available, please see the Scholarships and Funding section.

For help on how to create a new research proposal please read the proposal guidelines:

Guidelines on Your Research Proposal

Please note: Your research proposal is liable to be submitted to the Turnitin plagiarism detection system.

Your Proposed Supervisor

We strongly recommend you make contact with a potential supervisor before applying. In your application, you must name your preferred supervisor (or up to three in order of preference), or the academic research area you wish to work in.

Browse Our Research Areas


English Language Requirements

You must demonstrate English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English Language Tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

Your English language qualification must be no more than two years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using CAE or CPE, in which case it must be no more than three and a half years old.

Degrees Taught and Assessed in English

For evidence of English competency we accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

UKVI list of majority English speaking countries

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

More on English Language Requirements

English Language Requirements

Overseas Students

If you are an international student, you may need to apply for permission to study in the UK. Student Administration provides information on immigration and visa requirements for students.

Immigration Information