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The Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management welcomes PhD and MPhil research topics in three general areas:

  • Management of projects
  • Construction and project economics
  • Enterprise management and project business

The management of projects covers a range of topics located within the front-end strategy for projects, project management execution and post-project function and use. Examples might include research around portfolio and programme management, systems integration, supply chains and networks, risk management and sustainability. Client, supplier and other stakeholder perspectives offer potential areas of focus.

Construction and project economics covers research from the macro market of institutional and sectoral levels to the micro level of the financial management of projects within a firm or network. Examples include government policy, funding, Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)/Private Finance Initiative (PFI) concession contracts, subcontractor activity, the economics of game theory, transaction costs and agency theory in projects.

Enterprise management covers clients and project businesses in generating technical and service value in projects. For instance, it considers competitive strategy, leadership, core competency development, culture, mergers and acquisitions, project marketing and organisational behaviour. Clients, professional consultants, contractors and suppliers are potential areas for consideration.

Programme Objectives

The research degrees of PhD and MPhil are awarded for the most advanced level of study available at UCL. The aim is to make an original contribution to knowledge, leading to the enhancement of academe and practice. Although part of studying may include taught elements, the purpose is for students to prove their capacity to carry out a substantial and original piece of research, presented as a thesis.


Academic record and appropriateness of the chosen research topic are key criteria for candidate acceptance. Responsibility for choosing a topic generally lies with the candidate. Accepted candidates are initially registered for an MPhil. Students are allocated two supervisors. Research students prepare the programme of research, and supervision is structured in liaison with the supervisors through tutorials. Upgrade to PhD occurs within a year (or equivalent for part time study) with satisfactory progress.

There are regular Bartlett School PhD Seminars to which students contribute presentations. Students use the online student log and undertake a skills development programme through the UCL Graduate School to enhance research skills, life skills and employability. Research students are also entitled to use UCL's Language Centre to learn other languages (at an additional cost).

An internal examiner and external examiner assess a completed thesis. There is no public oral examination, the oral examination being conducted in private by the examiners. The award of an MPhil or PhD is considered proof of competence in carrying out an original programme of research.


Students are allocated to a first and subsidiary supervisor. The primary relationship is with the first supervisor from the Bartlett's academic staff. With the supervisor, students prepare. The agreed programme of research and tutorial guidance supports students to progress their research. Tutorials are arranged according to need at each stage of the research programme, and on average are held at approximately monthly intervals. The supervisor will advise on the final draft of the thesis before it is submitted for examination, and nominate the examiners. The second supervisor provides additional support.


Research students may study full or part time. Students should consider how they will support and manage their research. Support is particularly important for part-time research students with other employment, household and personal responsibilities.

The Bartlett welcomes affiliate research students. An affiliate is normally enrolled for a research degree at another university and attends for a limited period (e.g. three to six months). During this period they carry out research with the supervision and support enjoyed by other research students. The affiliate student, however, does not complete a thesis or gain a UCL qualification. Fees are the same, pro rata, as for other research students.


Application procedures, fees, funding and scholarships

For information, please see the faculty admissions information here.

Student Research

Students chose their own topic, but as already noted, research topics tend to fall into three broad areas: the management of projects, construction and project economics and enterprise management and project business. Research can focus upon the current conditions or can adopt a historical perspective.

Examples of topics addressed by recent students who have successfully completed their research degrees include:

Linking Corporate Strategy to Project Strategy via Portfolio and Programme Management - Adan Lopez Miranda

Core Competency Development and Configurations of International Construction Majors - Ioannis Zoiopolous (post viva amendments are underway)

An Investigation into the Contribution of Project Management Methodologies to Delivery and Management of IT/IS Projects in Practice - Hany Wells (post viva amendments are underway)

The Dynamic Effects of Chinese Economic Reforms on Subcontracting Decisions of State-Owned Construction Companies Since 1978 - Shi Chen (post viva amendments are underway)

Examples of topics addressed by students who are at various stages of their research degrees include:

Lean Production Transformation Projects - Giovanni Scarso Borioli

Reinvestigating the Relationship between Trust and Construction Project Performance in Spain - Joan Gutes

Project and Team Management Strategies for Architectural Practices Competing for Tenders and Competitions - Beatrice Manzoni

Systems Analysis of Differentiated Personal Perceptions in Construction Risk Management - Alex Arthur