Thinking of applying to the Business Doctorate? 

Join our 4-year programme and you’ll study alongside leading academics at Cambridge, carry out cutting-edge research in a business environment and become an expert on a topic of your choice. 

Guided by a supervisor from Cambridge Judge Business School throughout, you’ll produce an in-depth thesis and delve deep into the key issues in your industry in order to become a more effective, more reflective, leader. 

Ready to get things started?

Applications now closed

Applications for entry in 2024 have now closed. Admissions for 2025 will open in September 2024.

Student chatting over lunch.

Who are we looking for?

We’re looking for highly driven business leaders with substantial experience – normally around 20 years. 

The Business Doctorate is right for you if: 

  • you’re a business leader working for a major company
  • you can demonstrate having led key initiatives in your career
  • you’re looking to further develop your business knowledge and leadership skills with an academically rigorous, research-based programme
  • you have a master’s degree; we will also consider candidates with a bachelor’s degree of at least a 2:1 or above (or the overseas equivalent), if you can demonstrate exceptional. personal achievements relevant to your research proposal

Application process

Find out how to apply with our step-by-step guide below.

Application preparation

Start your application process as early as you can.

Contact your referees, gather all required documentation, prepare your research proposal and brief statement on your reasons for applying for the BusD programme. 

Application submission

When you’re ready, submit your application online

Submit your application form and supporting documents via the University of Cambridge Graduate Admissions Applicant Portal

All the instructions on how to complete the application are included during the online application process. 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. 

There is no application fee for this programme. 

Go to the Business Doctorate application portal

Applications for entry in 2024 have now closed. Admissions for 2025 will open in September 2024.

Receipt of application

Get receipt of your application

You will receive an email or letter of acknowledgement of receipt of your application and supporting documentation, and an ID number from the Postgraduate Admissions Office. Details on how to log into your self-service account to track the progress of your application will also be included. 

Application review

The Business Doctorate Admissions Committee will review your application.

If you are shortlisted, we will email you to confirm this. If your application is not accepted, the Postgraduate Admissions Office will notify you by email and self-service. 

Complete applications, including all supporting documents, are considered by the BusD Admissions Committee on a rolling basis.

Fraudulent applications

The University of Cambridge takes robust action against admissions fraud. If we find that fake documents or false information has been submitted, we will withdraw the application and any others made by the same person.

Learn more about postgraduate admissions fraud

Research proposal development

If you are shortlisted, you’ll be contacted by a faculty member with relevant expertise to work with you on a more in-depth, 4,000-word research proposal. This will form the basis of your admissions interview by a panel of senior faculty. 

Selection for interview

Research proposals will be reviewed by the Business Doctorate Admissions Committee and some applicants will be selected for interview. We will confirm whether you have an interview by email. Details of the time and length of your interview will be sent to you.


A panel for senior faculty will conduct your interview, which will be based on your research proposal. 

Prepare for the interview and seek guidance from your prospective supervisor, who will know the interview requirements and format of your pathway. The panel will write comments on your interview and make recommendations to the Business Doctorate Admissions Committee on whether to make you an offer.

Conditional offer

Successful candidates receive a Conditional offer

If your application is successful, we will notify you by email and the Applicant Portal. You will also receive access to the Self-Service account.

This account keeps you updated about the progress of your application, and you can also upload documents here to meet your offer conditions. You can print a summary certificate of offer from your Self-Service account.  

Your offer of a place on the programme will be subject to conditions. These might be: 

  • financial (proving that you have the funds to support yourself while on the programme) 
  • language (proving that your English language skills are proficient)
  • academic, or the provision of original documents

It is your responsibility to meet these requirements by providing the Postgraduate Admissions Office with the necessary documentary evidence. 

Unconditional offer

Progress to Unconditional Offer

This is the final stage of the applications process. Once you have met all the conditions of your admission and have the offer of a College place, you will find a ‘Certificate of Confirmation’ in CamSIS. This letter confirms that you may begin your BusD programme at the start of the academic year. 

Postgraduate Admissions will issue you with a Confirmation of Acceptance of Study (CAS) certificate for visa application purposes where appropriate. 

At this stage you can start to make arrangements for residing in Cambridge, including visa applications where applicable, as well as travel and accommodation.

Our minimum requirements

Our requirements are designed to ensure this programme is the right fit for you. See below for the things you’ll need in order to apply.

All applications are made online, and you need to submit all required supporting documentation, including references and transcripts.

We normally ask for a masters degree, but we’ll also consider you if you have a UK honours bachelor’s degree with at least a 2:1, or the equivalent from an overseas institution, and can demonstrate exceptional personal achievements relevant to your research proposal.

We will ask you to submit academic transcripts for all degree-level education.

In your research proposal (up to 2,000 words), we’ll ask you to address the following 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 (eg through field experiments) and why do you expect the data to shed light on these questions?

As part of the application, you will be asked to submit a brief statement on your reasons for applying (approximately 1,000 words). 

Our Business Doctorate is targeted at candidates with substantial experience in leadership positions – generally in the region of 20 years. We’ll also ask you to show evidence of having led major initiatives in your organisation. 

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 aren’t a native-level English speaker, you’ll need to have one of the following:

  • IELTS minimum overall score of 7.5, with at least 7.0 in each element
  • or a TOEFL internet-based test (iBT) minimum overall score of 110, with at least 25 in each element.

Not yet taken a language test? Test result out-of-date or not up to the required standard? Don’t worry, you don’t have to include your English language test scores with your initial application documents; they can be forwarded on later in the process. If you are made an offer, one of the conditions of entry will be getting the required standard of language test score.

Have your CV (curriculum vitae, or résumé) ready to upload via the Applicant Portal, as this is a required part of your application for admission.

We’ll ask for 2 academic references. Referees should submit these via the online referencing system, stating how long they’ve known you and in what capacity; their understanding of your experience, professional interests and skills; and whether/why they believe you’d be a good fit for the programme.

If you are in employment, you will need to provide 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).