Skip to main content
Postgraduate research at Henley Business School

Real Estate and Planning PhD Opportunities

At a glance

  • Teaching and research activities
  • Join a department which produces leading research
  • Formal research training
  • Student-staff interaction
  • Emphasis on timely completion of the degree
Subject area(s)
Real Estate & Planning
Three years (FT), four years (minimum, PT)
Full-time , Part-time
Programme Director
Pat Mc Allister 75e5pfiod
Pat McAllister


We offer PhD opportunities in a wide range of research areas in real estate and planning. The programme emphasises on flexibility to meet individual needs and learning in a quality research environment.

You will be equipped with skills to develop a successful career in academia and other organisations. This includes joining faculty positions in leading universities and key research roles in the public and private sectors.

Henley Business School holds triple-accreditation status and enjoys a reputation for high quality academic and applied research. It is a part of the University of Reading, consistently rated among the UK's most research-intensive institutions.

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 years. A part-time option, taking a minimum of four years, is also available. On a full time basis, the PhD Programme starts in September at the beginning of the academic year. However, if necessary for your training, you may be required to come to the University earlier to attend some preparatory courses.

Year One

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

  • Pass at least 60 credits from PhD/Masters level courses in Research Methods* and other modules required for your area of concentration (to be decided with your PhD supervisor and approved by the PhD Director);
  • Attend some short courses (two -three hours each) required for the Reading Researcher Development Programme at the Graduate School;
  • Attend the Graduate School’s Preparing to Teach module (if recipient of one of the Studentships);
  • Participate in the weekly REP research seminars and other research seminars offered by other Schools/Departments and relevant to your research area;
  • organise periodical meetings with your supervisor(s).

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 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]

This module introduces research students to advanced microeconometrics techniques, focusing on methods for causal inference.

20 [10 ECTS credits]

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]
Optional modules 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]

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]
Optional modules Credits

This course is intended for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. The course will help researchers to make full use of economic concepts in international business research.

Academic authors
Prof Mark Casson
10 [5 ECTS credits]

This course is intended for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. This is an advanced course focusing on the key academic debates with regard to the issues in managing human resources in the multinational enterprises (MNEs) with an understanding of cross-national differences in HRM.

Academic authors
Dr chul chung 397 3 Chul Chung 75e5pfi5f
Dr Chul Chung
10 [5 ECTS credits]

This course is intended for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. This is an advanced course focused on the theory of the multinational enterprise (MNE), and its implications for international strategic management.

Academic authors
Professor alain verbeke 397 3 Alain Verbeke 75e5pfi6g
Professor Alain Verbeke
10 [5 ECTS credits]

This module is intended for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. It will provide an introduction to the role multinational enterprises (MNEs) can play in development, and how governments are able to influence the positive and negative outcomes associated with this interaction. Delivery of this module will take two days.

Academic authors
Professor rajneesh narula 397 3 Rajneesh Narula 75e5pfi6j
Professor Rajneesh Narula
10 [5 ECTS credits]

This course is intended for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. It addresses the complex relations between innovation, IB and Economic Geography, by providing a state-of-the-art critical overview of conceptual and empirical research.

Academic authors
Davide castellani 397 3 Davide Castellani 75e5pfi5e
Professor Davide Castellani
10 [5 ECTS credits]

This course is intended for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. This is an advanced course focusing on the Economic Theory of IB. Delivery of this module will take over 2 days.

Academic authors
Professor Lucy Newton
Professor Lucy Newton
10 [5 ECTS credits]

A first major assessment of the student’s progression will happen after one year from enrolment, according to the criteria and providing the outcomes set in the Code of Practice and Monitoring Rules.

In the Department of Real Estate & Planning the first assessment takes place in February of the second academic year and coincides with the Confirmation of Registration.

Year Two

During your second year of studies you will:

  • Continue to work on your PhD dissertation;
  • Hold periodical 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 the weekly REP research seminars and other research seminars offered by other Schools/Departments and relevant to your research area;
  • Prepare a poster for the annual PhD day organised by Henley Business School;
  • Present a poster/paper at a national/international conference;
  • Contribute to teaching and research activities (if recipient of a Studentship);
  • Your assessment will take place for your Confirmation of Registration.

Year Three

During your third year of studies, you will:

  • Continue to work on your PhD dissertation to prepare the final submission;
  • Hold periodical 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 and present a paper at the weekly REP research seminars and other research seminars offered by other Schools/Departments and relevant to your research area;
  • Present a paper/chapter at the annual PhD day organised by the Department;
  • Present a poster/paper at one or more international conferences;
  • Contribute to teaching and research activities (if recipient of a Studentship).

* First year students are asked to attend a combination of at least two courses from the Graduate School (of two - three hours each) and to pass a total of 60 credits. In particular:

  • A 20 credit module focusing on literature review to be chosen between Understanding Management and Financial Research (quantitative stream) and Introduction to Thesis Literature Review (qualitative stream);
  • A 20 credit module in either Advanced Quantitative Research Methods or Advanced Qualitative Research Methods depending upon the stream (quantitative or qualitative respectively);
  • Other modules (level 7 or above, equivalent to 20 credits) in research methods or subjects relevant for the specific area of research (and chosen within Henley Business School or other Schools);
  • A no credit bearing module focusing on Basic Qualitative Research Methods or Basic Quantitative Research Methods depending upon the stream (quantitative or qualitative respectively).

*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.

Our aim is to support you to produce the best PhD thesis that you can. We seek to match high quality PhD candidates with high quality supervisory teams.

If you have an idea or a draft proposal for PhD research, you should feel free to contact the PhD Programme Director. They will then try to find out whether there is interest amongst potential supervisors in the topic. If you have a specific potential supervisor or supervisors in mind, you are encouraged to let the PhD Programme Director know. The PhD Programme Director will then contact them on your behalf. The potential supervisor can then support you in developing your proposal prior to a formal (and hopefully successful) application.

To be clear, the process is as follows:

  • Candidate sends initial proposal to PhD Programme Director
  • PhD Programme Director assesses interest in proposal among appropriate academic staff
  • If appropriate, PhD Programme Director contacts candidate to direct them towards potential supervisors
  • Candidate submits formal application.

Once you have submitted your application:

  • Shortlisting will take place based on the documents you uploaded on your application
  • If you are shortlisted, then you will be invited to a formal interview to assess your suitability to pursue a PhD at Henley Business School.
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 the one you would spend if you intend to use secondary data sources).

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).


We have funded places available each year for September entry, and these are awarded on the basis of outstanding academic merit.

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

Please see the PhD scholarships section for further information on the Real Estate and Planning Scholarship Awards.

Funding from REP and RREF

Each year we offer a number of studentships sponsored by the Department of Real Estate & Planning (REP) and our Alumni Association RREF (Reading Real Estate Foundation) covering both fees and living expenses for the first year of study and renewable for a further two years subject to progress.

In order to be considered for a departmental scholarship, a student must have received an offer onto our PhD programme before 19 February 2024.

You should ensure that you give yourself plenty of time to go through the application process. This can sometimes take a number of weeks as potential supervisors will need to agree to supervise you and may wish to hold discussions with you in advance of a potential offer.

If you are accepted onto the PhD programme, the supervisory team can then nominate you for a scholarship. At the beginning of March, a panel will meet to decide on the award of the scholarships. We aim to complete to notify students of the outcome before the end of March.

If you become a recipient of one of our PhD studentships, you will contribute to teaching and research activities within the School starting from your second year of study.

Further PhD funding

Details of the costs of your research programme and the funding available to you can be found on the Graduate School website. This also includes information on loans and other means of supplementing your income while you undertake your doctorate.

Current scholarships

What is our expectation

As part of your application process you must submit:

  • Masters degree certificate and transcript. This must be at distinction or merit level from an internationally recognised university, and an equally strong undergraduate degree
  • Research proposal (see below)
  • Proof of English language proficiency (overall IELTS result of 7.0 with no individual elements scoring below 6.0)
  • Two references, at least one of which must be academic.

Please note that your application will only be considered once you have submitted all the above documents.

Research Proposal

Prospective students are also required to provide a fully worked-out Research Proposal that includes:

  • An introduction; including the reasons why your studies may be relevant
  • A thorough literature review, evidence of awareness of theoretical and empirical work relevant to the research question - with the theoretical component being extremely important, because a PhD must demonstrate that it advances the body of knowledge
  • A clearly worked-out research question which is justified in terms of intellectual and, where appropriate, policy making or market relevance
  • A research design that is intended to answer the research question posed and its feasibility within the assigned timescale (i.e. 3 years).

Click here for further University information on how to apply.

Please remember that you have to make a formal application.

We have an established PhD Programme, with students active across our areas of research interest.

Discussing your PhD research proposal

If you are interested in pursuing your PhD studies in our School and want to discuss your research proposal, please contact one of our members of staff active in the research area of your interest. To help you find the right person please see our teaching staff below.

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 Real Estate and Planning from Henley Business School can open doors to a highly successful career in academia, large multinationals, leading firms and governmental and non-governmental organisations worldwide.

Thinking of doing a PhD in Real Estate or Planning?

Renowned for being one of the world’s premier centres for teaching and research in Real Estate and Planning, our research interests span all major areas of real estate and land use. Our aim is to provide you with a first class environment, conducive to the production of the highest quality research.

Some ideas for research topics of our interest are reported below. However, this list is not exhaustive of the broad spectrum of topics our members of staff are currently working on. Consequently, we suggest you to access individual academic staff web profiles to understand the willingness and suitability of our faculty to supervise in your intended area of research. Should you wish to discuss your proposal or have any questions, please feel free to contact a member of staff directly or alternatively you can email:

Research Areas

Real estate planning and development

We have a strong and long standing interest in sustainability, and community involvement and the environment in its widest sense.

Real estate markets and institutions

As the overall economy is struggling to recover from a deep financial and economic crisis and governments face issues related to housing affordability, we intend to build on the strength and research interests of our existing staff. We study issues related to the relationship and functioning of housing and mortgage markets and their role in a wider national and international economy.

Real Estate investment and finance

Alongside pricing in private real estate markets, we conduct research in corporate finance and asset pricing applied to real estate investment trusts (REITs), unlisted funds, mortgage-backed securities and other real estate-based financial products. Finally we have an interest in investment, portfolio management (incl. performance measurement) and the impact of behaviour on pricing.

Real estate appraisal and asset management

Being the largest cluster of academics in Europe, we develop an interest in the valuation of buildings, developments and land real options. We also carry out high quality and objective research into core policy and practice issues facing the real estate industry and their occupiers.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of the broad spectrum of topics our members of staff are currently working on. We suggest you view individual academic web profiles, as well as a list of currently advertised themes to understand the willingness and suitability of our staff to supervise your intended area of research.

Current Research Degrees

Visit our Real Estate & Planning Current PhD Students page for information on students and topics.

See our full list of teaching staff on our Faculty and Staff page.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please contact our PhD Administrator Sharon Burton via email or by phone.

Telephone: +44 (0) 118 378 6037