The Business Doctorate

An intelligent, mature male student in discussion with another man.

The Business Doctorate (BusD) is a four-year programme for senior business leaders of major companies looking to engage with research into cutting-edge social and economic issues.

Candidates should have substantial leadership experience, normally around 20 years. You’ll need to provide evidence of having led major initiatives as part of your career.

The Business Doctorate lets you:

  • Translate your experience into methodised, rigorously assessed knowledge
  • Identify drivers of your experience that can be applied to other contexts
  • Enhance your knowledge and become a better leader
  • Better understand current academic debates in your field
  • Gain in-depth knowledge of management theory and practical expertise of research methods.

The BusD emphasises lifelong education, built on Cambridge Judge Business School’s reputation for world-leading research.

Applications closed

Applications for entry in 2023/24 have now closed.

Applications for entry in October 2024 will open in September 2023.


The Business Doctorate (BusD) lasts four years. During the first year, you will be resident in Cambridge and will take tailored coursework covering research methods and relevant academic literature to enable you to carry out independent and high-calibre research. At the end of the first year you will be required to produce and defend a final research proposal for your doctoral dissertation.

Continuation to the BusD years two to four will be subject to satisfactory performance during the first year.

In years two to four you will undertake work-based research in relation to your thesis. During years two to four you must be resident in Cambridge for at least four weeks per year. When not in residence, you are required to keep in regular contact with supervisors while collecting and analysing data in the business environment. When absent from Cambridge you must apply for formal “Leave to Work Away”. 

Candidates (on a student visa) must not undertake their work-based activity taking place in years two, three and four within the UK, as this visa type does not permit candidates to engage in UK-based employment. View the “Overseas applicants” section of our FAQs for more information on visas and regulations.

A progress report will also be submitted at the end of year two and three.

In year four of the programme you will submit your thesis. 

It is important to note that the programme is not part-time, although you may be flexible about managing your workload and integrating the programme within your existing commitments. It is expected that over the duration of the BusD, your total time commitment will be equivalent to the full-time PhD.

The Certificate of Postgraduate Studies will be available to candidates successfully completing the first-year requirements but not continuing to the BusD.