Skip to main content
Postgraduate research at Henley Business School

Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting PhD Opportunities

At a glance

  • Choose from a range of research domains available in informatics and accounting
  • 3 PhD entry points each year
  • Participate in regular research seminars
  • Work with faculty from the Informatics Research Centre and Accounting Group
  • Programme features personal development modules and workshops
Subject area(s)
Information Management
Three - four years (FT), four - six years (PT)
Full-time , Part-time
Programme Director
Dr stephen gulliver 397 3 Stephen Gulliver 75e5pfi5j
Dr Stephen R Gulliver


We offer PhD opportunities in a range of themes surrounding business informatics and accounting. This includes theoretical and applied research in domains such as governance accountability and responsible investment; applied informatics and semiotics; strategic analysis; business informatics; social informatics; health informatics; and perceptual, usability and information acquisition.

The University has a formal code of practice for research students. This ensures that adequate supervision and appropriate research skills training are provided.

You may pursue this PhD programme full-time or part-time at Henley Business School. Part-time study may be carried out away from campus. This usually applies if you are working in a institution where research facilities are available, such as universities abroad. You will need to have supervision from both Henley Business School and the local institution.

The module descriptions set out on this page are correct for modules being taught in the current academic year. Optional module listings are indicative and may be subject to change.

A PhD is usually taken on a full-time basis over three to four years. A part-time option, taking four - six years is also available in some research areas. On a full time basis, the PhD Programme starts in September at the beginning of the academic year (in some departments January and May entries are also possible). However, if necessary for your training, you may be required to come to the University earlier to attend some preparatory courses.

  • Year One: You will have to attend courses examined according to university rules. These courses include Research Methods and other courses required for your area of concentration;
  • Confirmation of Registration: In the middle of your second year, you will present and defend your fully developed Research Proposal consisting of a substantive document of around 10,000 words;
  • Year Two - Three: The remaining part of your PhD studies will be devoted to complete your thesis before your viva examination at the end of your three to four years (maximum amount of time allowed by university rules).

Year One

During your first year of studies, you will be required to:

  • Attend at least 60 credits from PhD/Masters level courses in Research Methods and other relevant courses plus a no-credit bearing course (see below);
  • Attend some short courses (2-3 hours each) required for the Reading Researcher Development Programme at the Graduate School (overseeing PhD studies within the University of Reading);
  • Attend the Preparing to Teach training programme (which is necessary to be able to complete any teaching-related activities within Henley Business School);
  • Participate in regular research seminars organised by your Department and others relevant to your area of interest;
  • Hold regular meetings with your supervisor(s).

Required Taught Component

We have a slightly different path of taught components for students primarily using quantitative vs. qualitative research methods

Quantitative Path

Compulsory modules Credits

Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2013/4Module Convenor: Prof Charles Ward


Summary module description:


Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, it is expected that students will be able to
? Explain the steps involved in drafting a Masters or PhD thesis
? Determine the appropriate form and content for such a thesis
? Describe the types of research that are conducted in the social sciences
? Critically evaluate research in various sub-fields of management research
? Draft a review of an area of literature in their subject area
? Discuss various ethical issues that may arise when conducting research
? Present a seminal study and act as a discussant for an additional study

Additional outcomes:
? Develop presentation and communication skills including time management.

Outline content:
1 Searching for literature in a particular field.
2 Writing a dissertation or thesis.
3 Drafting a literature review.
4 Research ethics.
5 How to make research presentations
6 How to orally discuss other researchers’ presentations

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Students will be expected to contribute to the discussion of the material which will be presented in a relatively informal format. For the first five weeks, the module convenor will present material and lead the discussion. In the second half, students will then present and discuss seminal studies in their sub-field, with the module convenor acting as a Chairman.

Contact hours:

Guided independent study180
Total hours by term200.00
Total hours for module200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:

Written assignment including essay50
Oral assessment and presentation50

Other information on summative assessment:
Presentation of seminal study
Discussion of another study
Written literature review

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:
Resubmission of the research literature review.

Last updated: 7 June 2013

20 [10 ECTS credits]
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to introduce students to the understanding of qualitative research, (in social science and particularly in the area of business and management studies). It is designed for students mainly using quantitative methods in their PhD studies who wish to have an introductory class in qualitative research.

Academic authors
Kleio Akrivou006 75efyja9f
Professor Kleio Akrivou
0 [0 ECTS credits]
20 [10 ECTS credits]

You may choose an alternative Advanced Quantitative Methods course instead of Advanced Finance Theory with Empirical Applications. Please note Microeconometrics 1 and 2 are 10 credits each.

Optional modules Credits

Building on the material introduced in Quantitative Methods for Finance, this module covers a number of more advanced techniques that are relevant for financial applications, and in particular for modelling and forecasting financial time series. These include an introduction to maximum likelihood estimation and two-stage least squares, models of volatility, simulation techniques, and multivariate models. Case studies from the academic finance literature are employed to demonstrate potential uses of each approach. Extensive use is also made of financial econometrics software to demonstrate how the techniques are applied in practice.

20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module is the first of two modules intended to teach students advanced microeconometrics. The module considers how to select and apply econometric techniques for research. In addition students will develop their econometric software skills using Stata.

Academic authors
Dr Sarah Jewell
10 [5 ECTS credits]

This module is the second of two modules intended to teach students advanced microeconometrics and focuses on causality and treatment effects. The module will build on the first module ECM607A, and whilst ECM607A is not a pre-requisite, students will be expected to have knowledge of the topics taught in ECM607A. The module considers how to select and apply econometric techniques for research. In addition students will develop their econometric software skills using Stata.

Academic authors
Dr Sarah Jewell
10 [5 ECTS credits]

Qualitative Path

Compulsory modules Credits

The module aims to provide students in the Business School with an understanding of all the issues involved in researching, preparing, and writing a literature review for their thesis, together with the specific techniques and resources involved.

Academic authors
Professor peter scott 397 3 Peter Scott 75e5pfi6j
Professor Peter Scott
20 [10 ECTS credits]

The module aims to deepen students’ understanding of qualitative research, particularly in the area of business, organisational, social and management studies.

Academic authors
Dr Evelyn Fenton
20 [10 ECTS credits]

The module aims to broaden students’ understanding of data analysis by providing an overview of key methods and particularly focusing on regression analysis.

Academic authors
Min Zou 75edwqcke
Dr Min Zou
0 [0 ECTS credits]
20 [10 ECTS credits]
Confirmation of Registration

After 15 to 18 months from the start of your PhD (see differences between departments), you will submit a substantive Research Proposal of circa 10,000 words that will be defended in front of Faculty members and/or assessed by independent examiners. This process will coincide with your confirmation of registration and, if successful, it will grant you the status of PhD candidate.

The Research Proposal will be a significant development of the initial proposal you submitted for your application. It will include material you may have produced during the first year courses in research methods (e.g. literature review, methodologies, data description, etc.) If you plan to do a PhD thesis combining three papers, you are expected to include a draft of the first paper in your Research Proposal. Alternatively, if you intend to use a book-like structure for your thesis, the document should include the draft of at least one of the three/four key chapters.

Year Two and Three

During your second and third year you will:

  • Continue to work on your PhD dissertation drafting the other two papers / key chapters;
  • Hold regular meetings with your supervisor(s);
  • Attend some short courses (two - three hours each) required for the Reading Researcher Development Programme at the Graduate School;
  • Participate in weekly research seminars organised by your Department and others relevant to your area of interest;
  • Contribute to Business School and Departmental teaching/research activities and events;
  • Present posters/papers at national/international conferences.

The module or course content descriptions set out on this page are correct for those being taught in the current academic year. Modules or course content marked as optional are indicative and may be subject to change.

How can Henley Careers work with you?

We have an award-winning careers team here to support you through your time at Henley and four years after graduating.

Henley Careers and Professional Development run numerous events throughout the autumn and spring terms to help you gain industry experience. These events are aimed to enhance your professional development and network with employers. We also offer one-to-one career coaching appointments where you can talk to a Careers Consultant about your professional development. This may include planning your ideal career journey or building confidence in a particular area. It could also involve practicing for interviews or having your CV checked.

For more information please see our Careers page.

Continuing Your Career

A PhD in the area of Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting can open doors to a successful career in academia and other organisations. This includes large multinationals, leading consulting firms, and governmental and non-governmental organisations worldwide.

PhD Research interests

BISA offers expertise from many subject fields and conducts interdisciplinary research in theoretical and application domains. BISA maintains a close-knit community of researchers working together as a team to carry out research in one or more of the research themes.

Informatics Research Centre (IRC)

Research at IRC includes the following key themes:

Applied informatics and semiotics Semiotics is the study of signs (index, icons and symbols) and their functions, and offers us a systematic way to study information and its effective use in organisations.
Social Informatics Social informatics relates to the interdisciplinary consideration of design, use and consequences of information and communication tools in cultural, or institutional contexts.
Business Informatics Business Informatics supports decision making by intersecting IT, informatics methods and management concepts, to allow identification of business problems, development of relevant solutions, and appreciation of their impact.
Pervasive Informatics Pervasive Informatics is an emerging discipline for the effective use of information through embedded sensors and distributed processing to form contiguous intelligent environments for working and living.
Health Informatics Health Informatics is the conjunction of information systems, computer science and health care. Information flow is critical to maximise use of recourses, devices and methods to provide outstanding care and safety at low cost.
Perceptual, Usability and Information Acquisition A user will not continue to pay for a system or device that they perceive to be of low quality, irrespective of its intrinsic appeal. This research investigates user-centric issues in a range of domains to maximise end-user acceptance.
Strategic Analysis Using Systems dynamics and systems thinking strategic analysis helps managers to consider the impact of long term policies on their organisation.

Accounting Group

For Accounting, these are just some of the themes we have been involved in:

Sustainability Accounting and Reporting Particular interests lie in the manner in which accounting and accountability practices can help to encourage decision makers an awareness and appreciation of the importance of social and environmental sustainability in strategic and operational decision-making. The study focuses on the role of text and visual management in the reporting process by employing semiotic analysis.
Auditing and Accountability The recent global financial crisis has provided both academics and practitioners an interesting opportunity to study the role and value of auditing and auditing profession. Questions are frequently being asked about auditor independence and judgement, audit quality, auditing model and auditing expectations. Limited qualitative auditing research has been conducted across disciplinary to provide insight into the practice of audit in relation to the international regulatory structures, financialization and organisational change in an international context.
International financial reporting, social and institutional context of accounting regulation, rhetorical and argumentative functions of financial disclosure Research in this area considers convergence and compliance issues relevant to implementation of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) worldwide with the specific focus on the political and institutional aspects of accounting change and accounting regulation. It also attempts to explore the linguistic, rhetorical and argumentative functions of the narrative and numerical aspects of financial disclosures.

If you want to study for a PhD within BISA, it is also advisable to contact the member of staff with whom you are interested in carrying out your research, to discuss your proposal before you apply.

Dr. Mona Ashok

Lecturer in Operations Management

Sue Blackett

Lecturer in Accounting

Edel Byrne

Associate Professor of Accounting

Julie Cooper

Associate Professor in Accounting

Dr Maggie Cooper

Lecturer in Management Accounting

Dr Phil Davies

Lecturer in Operations Management

Ms Rhianydd Dow

Associate Professor in Accounting and Financial Management

Prof. Teck Eng

Professor of Business Enterprise & Analytics

Tony Graham

Lecturer in Management Accounting

Dr Stephen R Gulliver

Associate Professor of Pervasive Informatics

Professor Liang Han

Professor in Accounting and Finance

Alison Hennell

School Director of Teaching and Learning

Jin Jin

Executive Director for Huawei ICT Academy

Dr Markos Kyritsis

Lecturer of Informatics

Dr Weizi (Vicky) Li

Associate Professor of Informatics and Digital Health

Professor Kecheng Liu

Professor of Applied Informatics

Dr Yang Stephanie Liu

Lecturer in Accounting

Dr Dan Luo

Associate Professor in Management Accounting and Financial Management

Professor Sharm Manwani

Executive Professor of IT Leadership

Dr Vaughan Michell

Lecturer in Informatics

Professor Keiichi Nakata

Head of Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting (BISA)

Dr Niran Subramaniam

Associate Professor in Financial Management and Systems

Dr Ronita Ram

Associate Professor in Accounting

Professor Gunnar Rimmel

Professor of Accounting and Corporate Reporting

Dr Ekililu Salifu

Lecturer in Accounting

Dr Yun Shen

Associate Professor in Accounting and Financial Management

Shenghua Shi

Lecturer in Accounting

Nigel Spinks

Lecturer in Systems and Processes

Dr Renata Stenka

Associate Professor in Accounting

Dr Yin Leng Tan

Lecturer in Business Informatics

Professor Yinshan Tang

Professor in Business Informatics

Dr Jessica Yang

Associate Professor in Accounting and Financial Management

Dr Dan Zhou

Lecturer in Accounting and Financial Management

Contact us

If you have any queries please contact the Senior Support Administrator, Cindy Zhang.

Telephone: 0118 378 4418

History, location and triple-accreditation led me to choose Henley to pursue my PhD. Grounded in the Thames Valley, I had the opportunity to acquire valuable knowledge being in contact with a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem of both academics & practitioners

Matteo Borghi PhD student, Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour Management (Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour) PhD Opportunities