Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management - PhD

Kent Business School has over 80 research-active academic staff. Postgraduate research can take place in any subject area where they have expertise. The Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management PhD programme will equip you with the skills to align people strategy with business strategy and help organisations flourish.


How do we measure the impact of HR practices on organisational culture, employee performance and business success? Learn the tools of the trade for research in Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management on our new postgraduate programme.

Kent Business School performs internationally recognised research. Our specialists in people management and organisation studies draw on techniques from a variety of disciplines such as psychology and sociology in order to develop insight into employee wellbeing, equality and diversity in the workplace, performance management and appraisal.

Kent Business School has over 25 years’ experience delivering business education. Our portfolio of postgraduate programmes demonstrates the breadth, and depth of our expertise. Academic research and links with global business inform our teaching, ensuring a curriculum that is relevant and current. We also hold a number of accreditations by professional bodies.

Studying at Kent Business School (KBS) gives you the opportunity to increase your employability with real-life case studies, a student council and a business society. We have strong links to local and national organisations providing opportunities for projects, internships and graduate placements. The School attracts many high-profile speakers from industry and last year included visits and lectures from staff of the Bank of England, BAE Systems, Barclays, Lloyds Insurance, Cummins, Delphi and Kent County Council.

The School currently has 60 PhD students, who form a dynamic and close-knit research community.

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a 2.1 at the undergraduate level and a Merit at Master’s level in a relevant discipline, from the UK or other approved university and/or equivalent. You must submit a research proposal of approximately 1,500 words on your intended topic.

The deadline for PhD applications is 31 July. 

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.


A group of postgraduates sit outside the Kennedy Building on the Canterbury campus

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Course structure

Duration: 3 to 4 years full-time, 5 to 6 years part-time

Teaching and assessment

You are required to write a thesis of the following lengths:

  • 80,000 to 100,000 words for PhD
  • 40 to 60,000 words for Masters

    The Faculty Associate Dean (with responsibility for research programmes of study) can approve exceptions from these word lengths after taking the advice from subject experts on different conventions within a subject area.

    • Regular review meetings with supervisor.
    • Structured annual review, including presentation of findings to date, an informal but structured discussion with supervisor and advisor, submission of University of Kent progress report form.
    • Submission of MA thesis (after 1 year), MPhil thesis (after 2 years) and/or PhD thesis (after 3 years) to at least one internal and an external examiner.
    • Viva voce examination (optional for MPhil).


    The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

    • Home full-time
    • International full-time
    • Home part-time
    • International part-time

    For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

    For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact

    Your fee status

    The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

    Additional costs

    General additional costs

    Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 


    Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

    The Complete University Guide

    In The Complete University Guide 2021, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.

    Please see the University League Tables 2021 for more information.

    Independent rankings

    In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, we were placed 25th (out of 101 institutions) in the UK for research intensity in business and management studies and 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.

    The School was also ranked 24th for its breadth and depth of research across the whole community of research active staff by the Association of Business Schools.

    Research areas

    Research activities at Kent Business School are broadly organised into six areas;

    Research in our People, Management and Organisation Group examines themes in the areas of employment relations, human resource management, organisational behaviour and leadership.

    The Group covers a wide range of research, including employment relationships, the role of social partners, the effects of skills, technology and culture on the world of work, employee engagement, and the role of leadership.

    Staff research interests

    Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.

    Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.


    The KBS PhD programme is designed to provide thorough training for research careers in academia or industry. Our students generally take up academic appointments in UK or international higher education institutions or work in policy and industry settings.

    Study support

    Each research student is supported by a supervisory team (usually two members of academic staff) who give guidance about the nature of the research, the standard of work required, and about the relevant literature and sources that should be consulted.

    Students meet with supervisors each month in-person to discuss the PhD project, talk about any aspect of the research, and agree upon a schedule of work. The co-supervisor provides additional input and ensures continuity.

    Formal progression reviews are held at key points in your programme and each student participates in a mandatory research training programme.

    All Kent Business School PhD students receive: 

    • A laptop and access to the dedicated shared office spaces at both Canterbury and Medway campuses
    • Funds for conference attendance and research expenses
    • Research methods training
    • Access to the library and more specialised resources include the School's Bloomberg Suites, the University High Performance Computing (HPC) services and databases available via the library
    • Full access to the facilities of the Graduate School

    All first-year PhD students participate in a mandatory research training programme, including:

    • Relevant research methods
    • Theory of management and in specialist management topics related to your research
    • Skills-based courses in areas such as statistics, computing, electronic literature searching and languages

    In addition, students participate in School research seminars and postgraduate training events organised in the School and through the Graduate School. PhD programmes are aligned to the School’s Research Groups and students will become members of these Groups, participating in Group activities.

    PhD students with scholarships or part-time teaching within Kent Business School also take modules from the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education and receive a teaching qualification.

    KBS students benefit from training and development opportunities made available through our membership of NATCOR, the ESRC’s South East Doctoral Training Centre, and the European Doctoral Programmes Association (EDAMBA).

    Researcher Development Programme

    Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.

    Apply now

    Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.

    Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.

    Apply for entry to:

    Contact us


    United Kingdom/EU enquiries

    PhD at Canterbury

    PhD at Medway

    Admissions enquiries

    T: +44 (0)1227 768896



    International student enquiries

    Enquire online

    T: +44 (0)1227 823254


    School website

    Kent Business School