Apply to the Business Doctorate

Applicants should make a formal application via the Graduate Admissions Applicant Portal. Complete applications, including all supporting documents, are considered by the BusD Admissions Committee on a rolling basis. 

Candidates for the BusD will apply with an outline research proposal of no more than 2,000 words. The standard to be attained in the choice of research topic will be high, identifying a major business problem to be examined and the identification of relevant data sources, either for qualitative or quantitative analysis. Proposals will be assessed on their potential to lead to an excellent dissertation and subsequent publication. Applicants are expected to draw on their experience as senior executives and their unique access to context and data in their research proposal.  

Shortlisted applicants will be contacted by faculty members with relevant expertise, who will work with them to submit a 4,000-word research proposal, which will then form the basis for an admissions interview by a panel of senior faculty.


Fees for entry in 2023 are £80,000 for the first year and £50,000 for each of years two to four.

The BusD programme is not eligible for University or research funding. Students are expected to self-fund their studies.

Applications closed

Applications for entry in 2023/24 have now closed.

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

Admissions requirements

Graduate achievement

We will normally require a masters degree but will consider applications of candidates with an undergraduate degree equivalent to a UK good 2:1 honours degree, provided they can demonstrate exceptional personal achievements relevant to their research proposal.

Professional experience

We would expect candidates to have substantial experience in leadership positions (normally in the region of 20 years’ experience) and to provide evidence that they have led major initiatives in their organisations.

English proficiency

English as your native language
IELTS – an overall band score of 7.5, with not less than 7.0 in each element
TOEFL – 110 on the Internet-based test with no less than 25 in each element

Additional materials

Candidates will be asked to submit the following supporting documents with their application:

  • Academic transcripts for all degree-level education
  • Two academic references
  • Evidence of language competency (where applicable)
  • CV
  • Brief statement on your reasons for applying (approximately 1,000 words)
  • Outline research proposal (up to 2,000 words) addressing the following specific questions:
    • What are the wider business or societal challenges and the specific research questions you wish to address with your doctoral research?
    • Why and how would answers to these research questions lead to progress in business or society?
    • What is already known about your research questions? (provide an outline literature review, using sources such as Google Scholar, with an explicit link to the academic business and management literature)
    • How do you intend to leverage your professional experience in answering your research questions?
    • Which data will be available to you (archival data or interviews) or may be generated by you (e.g. through field experiments) and why do you expect the data to shed light on these questions?
  • Sample of work: please provide a sample of your writing outside your immediate executive function, for example a reflective publication in an industry journal, an independent review, or a chapter of a book.
  • If you are in employment, a letter from your employer giving explicit consent that you may undertake the programme and the proposed research. Your employer must also give explicit consent that you can undertake the time commitment required over the duration of the programme. This is expected to be a minimum of 24 weeks per year (the equivalent to a full-time doctoral programme).

Completing & submitting your application

Applications should be made online via the Applicant Portal. Applications are handled by the University of Cambridge’s Postgraduate Admissions Office; please visit their website to access the Applicant Portal and guidance on the application process:

Access the Applicant Portal

It’s worth taking the time to read the instructions carefully as any mistakes in your application may make it invalid and delay the application process.