Plymouth Business School

PhD Tourism and Hospitality


Full time: 2-4 years
Part time: 4-8 years

Course type

Full-time, Part-time route available

Study location Plymouth

The tourism and hospitality department offers a supportive research environment that provides opportunities for candidates to succeed in their chosen research area. Supervised by scholars renowned in their fields, you will explore contemporary tourism, hospitality and events issues arising from the latest developments in the sector’s research and industry practice. The successful completion of a PhD in Tourism or Hospitality will prepare you well for the a career in academia or industry.

Tourism and Hospitality

Course details

  • Programme overview

  • This full time or part time doctoral programme is suitable for people who have a particular research question or topic in mind, and wish to explore this through independent study in order to produce an original contribution to the subject. If you aspire to a research career this is the most appropriate research degree to undertake.
    You will be guided by a small supervisory team of academic experts under the direction of a Director of Studies. 
    You will be expected to fully engage with skills development and training and to present your research in a range of scholarly contexts.
    Your PhD will be assessed via submission of a written thesis (up to 80,000 words) and a viva voce(an oral examination).
    For full details of what doing a PhD entails at the University of Plymouth, please visit our postgraduate research degrees pages. 
The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to have completed a masters level qualification to a high standard (e.g. at 'merit' or 'distinction' level) as well as either a good 2:1 or first class honours undergraduate degree in an area of study appropriate to your project proposal. We are happy to consider equivalent qualifications (for instance, you may have studied different subjects at undergraduate and masters level but have established a a relevant industry practice since then).
If you do not have a masters level qualification, we recommend you consider applying for our MSc Tourism and Hospitality Management programme. 
You will also need to provide evidence that you are ready to pursue the project you propose in your application. This will take the form of a research proposal.
If English is not your first language, you must have proficiency in written and spoken English (normally a minimum test score of 6.5 for IELTS, or equivalent). Given the nature of the programme, you’ll be expected to read and engage with complex theoretical texts and debates for which fluency in English is essential.
For more general guidelines and application requirements, please visit the apply for a postgraduate research programme page. 

Fees, costs and funding

Please visit Fees and costs of studying for information about fees. MPhil/PhD Tourism and Hospitality is in Band 1 for fees purposes.
If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for three years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year writing up period.
If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for four years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional 'writing up' period of up to two years.
You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.
Please visit our postgraduate research: money matters page to find out more about issues related to fees, funding, loans and paying for your programme of study.

How to apply

In addition to completing the online application form (which includes space for a personal statement), you must also upload a research project proposal. Your research proposal should outline your research topic, your key aims and the research question/problem you are addressing, a brief literature review, your proposed methodology, and an explanation of why this topic is significant or important.
Your personal statement should briefly explain why you have chosen to apply to our programme and what you feel you can offer our research community.
Submitting your application
Complete your application and upload supporting documents to the Doctoral College by completing our online application form.
Questions on the application process?
We're here to help. Please contact the Doctoral College and we'll be happy to assist you.
More information and advice for applicants can be referenced in our admissions policy which can be found on the student regulations, policies and procedures page. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.
We welcome applications from suitably qualified persons to undertake doctoral research in the broad areas of tourism, hospitality, cruise and events.

Our research specialisms include...


Recent PhD completions

  • Dr Cat Hine: Transitioning Beyond Undergraduate Hospitality Education; A Dialogic Analysis of Final Year Hospitality Graduates' Narratives of Employability.
  • Dr Katie Angliss: An Evaluation of The Impact of Event Attendance on Perceptions of the Host Organisation's Reputation: A University Case Study.
  • Dr Jennifer Phillips: The Island Image: A Means of Segmentation.
  • Dr Payal Ghatnekar: Persuasive technology in tourism online experiences and implications on tourist buying behaviour.

Current research student projects

  • JinHua Zhang (FT): Motivation to employees of transnational hotels under the influence of cross-culture. Director of Studies:  Dr Rong Huang.
  • Tao Xu (FT): An investigation of the role of ICT usage in Chinese seniors' travel decision-making. Director of Studies:  Dr Rong Huang.
  • Evangelos Vantzos (PT): Exploring the influence of contemporary marketing strategies on students' decision. A study of Higher Education business school selection. Director of Studies:  Professor Sheela Agarwal.
  • Alexander Rowe (PT): The 'Poldark Effect': Impact of film tourism on space, place, heritage and identities in Cornwall. Director of Studies: Professor Sheela Agarwal.
  • Richard Parkman (PT): The effect of emotion regulation for leaders maintaining effective leader-member exchanges: The cruise ship setting. Director of Studies: Professor Duncan Lewis.
  • Sheikh Rahman (FT): Bangladesh and destination image: The role of cultural heritage tourism. Director of Studies: Dr Natalie Semley.
  • Rohit Reji George (FT): Talent management strategies affecting employee engagement levels: A comparative study of western and domestic owned hotels in India. Director of Studies: Dr Susan Horner.
  • Ukamake Onyenucheya (FT): The Impact of User Generated Content (UGC) on Online Brand Reputation of Small and Medium Sized Tourism Businesses. Director of Studies:  Professor Sheela Agarwal.
  • XiaoZhao Chen (FT): What factors would affect multinational hotel enterprises selecting locations in China? Director of Studies:  Dr Rong Huang.
  • Zoe Roberts (FT): Literary Tourism: Linking Cultural Captial, Tourist Experiences and Perceptions of Authenticity. Director of Studies: Dr Charles Mansfield.
  • Kristin Finn (PT): Crowd dynamics and methods of management. Director of Studies:  Professor Paul Brunt.
  • Arej Alhemimah (FT): Promoting domestic tourism in KSA: Factors that make UAE, and Egypt such popular travel destinations for Saudi families. Director of Studies: Dr Andreas Walmsley.

Meet our experts

Coastal Processes Research Group Perranporth beach

Fitzroy Building

The University of Plymouth is creating an exciting new space for the Plymouth Business School in which current and future students can foster the knowledge and enthusiasm that they will need to achieve their ambitions. Work is underway at the heart of our city centre campus. 
Watch our video visualising what the new building will look like.