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Postgraduate research at Henley Business School

Informatics and System Science PhD Opportunities

At a glance

  • Choose from a range of research domains available in Informatics and System Science
  • 3 PhD entry points each year (September, January and April)
  • Participate in regular research seminars
  • Work with faculty and researchers from Business Informatics, Systems, and Accounting
  • Programme features research relevant and personal development modules and workshops
Subject area(s)
Digital Business
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. This includes theoretical and applied research in domains such as applied informatics and semiotics; service operations management, strategic analysis; systems science, business informatics; social informatics; health informatics; system science and perceptual and usability informatics.

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. Although study on campus is encouraged, it may be carried out away from campus, for example at an institution where research facilities are available. Support for remote learning is considered on a case-by-case basis.

A PhD is usually taken on a full-time basis over three to four years. In some research areas, a part-time option taking four-six years is also available.

The full-time PhD Programme starts in September at the beginning of the academic year (in some departments January and May entries are also possible). If necessary for your training, you may be required to come to the University earlier to attend some preparatory courses. The PhD contains research relevant and personal development modules.

Module descriptions, shown on this page, are correct for modules being taught in the academic year 20-21. Module listings for future years may be subject to change.

Year One: During the first year of your studies, subject to study mode and the discretion of the Postgraduate Research Director, you will be required to:

  • Attend at least 60 credits from PhD/Masters level courses in Research Methods and other relevant courses, plus a non-credit bearing course (see below)
  • Attend some short courses (2-3 hours each) provided by the Reading Researcher Development Programme at the Graduate School (overseeing PhD studies within the University of Reading)
  • You may be required to 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).

Year Two and Three: The PhD researcher should be will be devoted to the collection and analysis of data, and the completion of your thesis/papers in advance of the viva examination. Subject to study mode and PGR director discretion, you will be required to:

  • Attend some short courses (2-3 hours each) provided by the Reading Researcher Development Programme at the Graduate School (overseeing PhD studies within the University of Reading)
  • Participate in regular research seminars organised by your Department and others relevant to your area of interest
  • Hold regular meetings with your supervisor(s).

Annual Presentations: each year you will be required to attend all relevant PhD annual presentations and, at least once per year, will be required to present and answer questions to other researchers concerning your research contribution. Feedback will be provided by independent assessors to help the researcher in highlighting and addressing possible concerns in the research plan.

Confirmation of Registration: In the middle of your second year, all PhD researchers are required to present and defend the research completed to date – via written update and/or interactive oral discussion with two independent assessors. The researcher should be able to demonstrate: clarity in the problem definition question/scope (aim/objectives); appropriate critical consideration of, and use, of methodologies and methods; rationalised access to relevant data required to complete the PhD; awareness and knowledge of data analysis required to address the defined research question; and a plan to complete the PhD within the given registration duration. For researchers submitting a PhD by research papers, at least one paper (presenting new knowledge) should be available for review by the assessors. If the researcher intends to submit a research thesis, the researcher should be willing to provide a draft of chapters 1-4 upon request. Failure, within the confirmation of registration meeting, to successfully evidence their ability to complete the PhD within the given registration duration, may result in termination of the PhD. An award of an MSc by Research is possible at this point, yet dependent on successful completion of pertinent taught components and submission of a research dissertation.

Viva-voce examination: After submission of the PhD, the researcher is required to discuss and defend their research – via interactive oral discussion with two independent experts in the domain. The assessor may ask questions about any aspect of material contained within the submitted work, in order to i) justify that the work was completed by the researcher, and ii) to ensure that the work is undertaken at an appropriate doctorate level. Award of a doctorate may be subject to minor or major corrections to the submitted work if agreed by both external assessors. If the work is not deemed to be at an appropriate level the candidate can be awarded either an MSc by research (dependent on successful completion of pertinent taught components, and submission of a research dissertation) or an MPhil (if the level of the research submission alone is considered acceptable).

Required Taught Component

Two different paths exist for those researcher using mainly quantitative or qualitative research methods:

Proposed Quantitative Path

Compulsory modules Credits

This module aims to equip new PhD students with a clear understanding of the necessary requirements for obtaining a PhD at Henley Business School and at the ICMA centre.

Academic authors
Dr alfonso dufour 397 3 Alfonso Dufour 75e5pfi5e
Dr Alfonso Dufour
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module is designed for advanced Master’s students and doctoral students. It has a very high technical content. It aims to equip the students with the foundations of theoretical asset pricing and with the relevant skills for performing empirical tests. The objective of the module is to prepare students to become independent and quality researchers.

Academic authors
Marcel Prokopczuk mtime20200428162716
Professor Marcel Prokopczuk
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 Akrivou New Photo
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.

Academic authors
Professor michael clements 397 3 Michael Clements 75e5pfi6i
Professor Michael Clements
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]

Proposed Qualitative Path

Compulsory modules Credits

The module aims to provide students 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 areas of business, organisational, social and management studies.

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]

Other taught modules are potentially available – and discussion with your supervisor and/or the PGR is encouraged to ensure you gain relevant knowledge to undertake your specific research project.

*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. Please note, constraints in timetable scheduling may mean you are unable to take some optional modules at the same time as others.

The application process normally consists of three main steps:

1. Formal application

Before applying formally, you may want to contact a potential supervisor who is working in your area. They could be interested in your topic. Please avoid contacting multiple faculty members simultaneously. We do talk to each other and this is not seen as a professional practice. You can contact a faculty member before your formal application, if you wish to.

2. Shortlisting based on the documents you uploaded in your application

3. Formal interview to assess your suitability to pursue a PhD at Henley Business School

The deadline to be considered for a scholarship varies between departments.

The key requirements for a successful application are:

  • Top grades in your Masters degree (minimum requirement is Merit or equivalent, but we prefer Distinction)
  • Top grade in your Masters Dissertation (or equivalent research-based piece of work) because this may show your research attitude and skills
  • A well-developed research proposal. Guidance on writing the research proposal can be found here

A reasonable intended timeline reflecting issues you may encounter in the study as presented above. For example, if you have to collect primary data. The time spent on data collection will be much longer than if you intend to use secondary data sources.

PhD Fees

For fees, please visit the Graduate School website.

Overseas applicants should refer to the non-laboratory based fees listed in the tables (International Band 1 for non UK/Home students).


Scholarships for the 2022/23 academic year have now been awarded.

Our PhD scholarships cover fees and stipend and are renewable for up to three years subject to performance.

Scholarship applications are subject to receiving an offer for a place on the PhD in Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting programme. Upon receiving an offer, your scholarship application will be processed and to be considered by the Scholarship Panel.

If you would like to apply, please download a PhD in Business Informatics Systems and Accounting Scholarship application form, ensuring you complete all parts in as much detail as possible, and return it to

Please note that our funded places are no longer available for the 2022/23 academic year.

Further PhD funding

  • Nationals from India and developing countries: The Felix Scholarship competition is open to candidates applying for either taught Masters or Postgraduate Research Degrees who are either Indian nationals, or from developing countries, and who fulfil the required criteria. For more information and how to apply please follow the link
  • Regional PhD Bursaries: They are available for PhD applicants normally living within 25 miles of the University. The scheme is not open to students who have already started their study at the University of Reading. For further information, please go to Graduate School website
  • Former UoR Graduate: If you have already studied at the University of Reading you will get up to £1,500 off programme fees through the alumni fee discount
  • Other: For information on further opportunities, please see the find funding section on our University website.

Current scholarships

PhD programme

You should have obtained an equivalent of a merit or above in a Master’s degree in a related science, social science or engineering field. Relevant research and/or industry experiences may be considered for those with exceptional strengths.

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.

English requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English are expected to have obtained IELTS 7.0 (with no element below 6.0), TOEFL internet-based test with overall score of 100 and no less than 20 in Listening, Writing and Reading and 21 in Speaking or have passed a TEEP (University of Reading) test with the score of 7.0 (with no element less than 6.0).

For all other equivalent score requirements in our accepted English Language tests, please visit the admissions website.

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 and System Science 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

We offer expertise from many subject fields and conducts interdisciplinary research in theoretical and application domains. We maintain 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 the Informatics Research Centre (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.

If you want to study for a PhD within Informatics and System Science, 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

Associate Professor of Digital Transformation

Clare Bentata

Lecturer in Accounting and Taxation

Sue Blackett

Associate Professor of Accounting Education

Dr Maggie Cooper

Associate Professor in Accounting and Financial Management

Helen de Felice

Lecturer in Accounting and Auditing

Rhianydd Dow

Associate Professor in Accounting and Financial Management

Professor Teck Eng

Professor of Business Enterprise & Analytics

Dr Alisher Erkaboev

Lecturer in Accounting

Tony Graham

Associate Professor of Accounting and Financial Management

Dr Stephen R Gulliver

Associate Professor of Pervasive Informatics

Jin Jin

Executive Director of Digital Talent Academy

Dr Markos Kyritsis

Lecturer of Informatics

Professor Weizi (Vicky) Li

Professor of Informatics and Digital Health

Professor Kecheng Liu

Professor of Applied Informatics

Dr Dan Luo

Associate Professor in Management Accounting and Financial Management

Professor Sharm Manwani

Executive Professor of IT and Digital Leadership

Dr Biao Mi

Lecturer in Accounting

Dr Vaughan Michell

Lecturer in Informatics

Professor Keiichi Nakata

Head of Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting (BISA)

Dr Ronita Ram

Associate Professor in Accounting

Dr Ekililu Salifu

Lecturer in Accounting

Nigel Spinks

Lecturer in Systems and Processes

Dr Renata Stenka

Associate Professor in Accounting

Dr Niran Subramaniam

Associate Professor in Financial Management and Systems

Dr Yin Leng Tan

Associate Professor of Digital Futures

Professor Yinshan Tang

Professor in Business Informatics

Dr Lei Tao

Associate Professor in Accounting

Dr Ed Tew

Lecturer in Accounting

Dr Jessica Yang

Associate Professor in Accounting and Financial Management

Dr Dan Zhou

Associate Professor of Financial Management

Contact us

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

Telephone: 0118 378 4418