Executive PhD Programme

The applications for September 2020 are now closed.

The following items must be submitted (in electronic format), please note that only complete applications will be reviewed:

  • Your personal details, including a contact
  • Email address
  • Your CV/Resume, detailing your career to date
  • A research proposal (4000 words maximum) – please see the guidelines below for details of how your proposal should be structured
  • Names and e-mail addresses of 2 referees, either an employer or a university tutor
  • Official transcripts for your Bachelor and/or Masters Degrees
  • Official transcript of proficiency in English, if English is not your first language.

A confirmation email will be sent to you on successful submission of your application. If you experience any problems with the online application system please contact the Executive PhD Admissions Office on +44 (0)20 7040 5030.

Research proposal

As part of your application you must submit a research proposal, which will enable potential supervisors to judge their interest in your proposed topic. This is intended to provide a useful starting point for discussion of your ideas.  The research proposal should consist of the following:

A personal statement describing your reasons for undertaking the Executive PhD (1000 words maximum)

In your personal statement please address the following questions: Why do you want to do an Executive PhD at this point in your career?  What do you expect to get out of the programme?  What are your career aspirations post Executive PhD?  Please also describe your previous experience of research, if any.

Your personal statement should be followed by your research proposal.  Before preparing your proposal your should familiarize yourself with the research interests of Cass academics to make sure that your research is aligned with their expertise.

Content of main proposal (4000 words maximum)

The main research proposal should consist of the following:

  • Your name and title of your research proposal
  • Short introduction and statement of the problem you want to investigate
  • Main research questions and sub-questions
  • Why is the research question an interesting problem to address?  What is the main theoretical contribution of your research?
  • Short literature review: What have others written about this research topic? What theory or theories inform your research questions? How will your research add to the existing body of knowledge?
  • Research plan: What are your key theoretical constructs? What methods will you use to answer your research questions?  What kind of data do you need to answer your research questions?  Be specific and indicate whether you have access to the data; if not indicate how you are going to get access to the data or collect the data
  • Analysis plan: How are you going to analyse the data?
  • What are the practical or policy implications of your research?
  • A bibliography.

Read more about How to Write a Research Proposal (pdf)


You must also submit a copy of your CV, detailing your career to date.


Two references are required.  The references can be from an employer or a university tutor, but referees should be able to comment on your aptitude for critical thinking and original research.  We will contact your referees once you have submitted your application.

Please note that our programme team will only evaluate fully completed applications. If you meet our criteria, we will try to match you with a potential supervisor.

Should any of the faculty at Cass be interested in supervising your research, you will be invited for an interview with the Programme Director (and your potential supervisor) which can take place in-person or via phone or Skype.

Based on this interview, we will make a final decision as to whether we will offer you a place.

We encourage applicants to apply as early as possible, as applicants may find that nearer the deadline, prospective supervisors have reached their quota.