PgCert Research Methods (Pre-Doctoral Programme)

Key information

Mode of delivery
Delivery type
Start date
Open enrolment
1 year


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This pre-doctoral programme is specifically designed for students who want to prepare for a DBA or PhD degree at Edinburgh Business School or elsewhere. Entry to doctoral studies is increasingly competitive so it is vital that you understand the research process and have a clearly defined research idea before embarking on a doctoral research programme. This programme will help you do just that.

Programme delivery

Students can choose where, when and at what pace they study. The programme can be completed entirely by self-paced online learning but you also the opportunity to enhance your learning through attendance at optional intensive 4-day seminars that are held for each course at our campuses in Edinburgh and Dubai.

These four-day intensive seminars are delivered by our experienced faculty and offer practical insights into specific aspects of the course. You'll examine relevant case studies and mix with students from different countries, cultures and career paths.

The purpose of the seminar is not only to ensure that you gain a deeper understanding of the course material but to also help you apply this material effectively when reaching the thesis stage of the degree. The last day of the seminar will focus on developing appropriate techniques for approaching the end of course exam.

Each doctoral business research course is assessed by a three-hour examination.

Course content

Year 1

The PgCert will equip you with the knowledge and expertise needed to develop a doctoral thesis and your understanding of the research process. The certificate comprises of three courses, Research methods 1, 2 and 3. Each course is assessed by a three-hour examination.

Optional on-campus 4-day seminars are available at our Edinburgh and Dubai campuses for each of the RM courses. Please contact for the seminar timetable.

On successful completion of the three courses, not only will you have you have the theory, knowledge, tools and techniques required to embark on a doctoral research programme, but you are also awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods, a significant University award in its own right.

Research Methods 1: An Introduction 

This course presents the first step in a basic review of the nature of research and methods for business and management doctoral students. It will provide students with the practical research tools and the theoretical background for critiquing and designing research on a variety of topics. It also serves as a useful guide as to the content required in a thesis, the nature of examination for a doctoral degree, and how to generate research questions and write in an appropriate 'academic' style.

Download Research Methods 1 course taster

Research Methods 2: The Qualitative Researcher

This course introduces qualitative research methods for business and management doctoral students. It will help students to assess the advantages and disadvantages of different qualitative methods and look at how they can combine with each other. Moreover, it provides a holistic understanding of the qualitative research process starting from outline of philosophical underpinnings to qualitative data collection, analysis and reporting.

Download Research Methods 2 course taster

Research Methods 3: The Quantitative Researcher

This course introduces quantitative research methods for business and management doctoral students. It will provide an understanding of the different techniques available from data collection through to analysis. The course is designed as an introduction to quantitative techniques, bridging into more advance ones with a comprehensive coverage of the most commonly used methods. The course will also train students on the use of SPSS statistical software to carry out analysis and apply the techniques covered within the course.

Download Research Methods 3 course taster

Go Global

Some of our Postgraduate Taught Masters Programmes are eligible for Inter-Campus Transfer. Please contact for further information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Additional fee information

The total cost of the programme by distance-learning is £3690

Each optional 4-day on-campus seminar costs £800.

Entry requirements


The programme is open to anyone with an interest in doctoral level research. There is no application form or entry criteria; you can commence your studies straight away by registering for the first course.

Students who complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods can apply for a DBA or PhD with Edinburgh Business School. However, you will still need to meet the other entry requirements and apply for your preferred programme of study.

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