Hospitality and Tourism Management (Three-Year) PhD

Surrey is a fantastic place to engage in a doctoral research as you are supervised by leading experts in a particular area, supported by numerous training opportunities and an excellent working environment.

Victoria Eichhorn PhD Hospitality and Tourism

Why choose this course?

The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management has an outstanding reputation in the sector.

Ranked number one in the UK in the Guardian University Guide 2017 and the Complete University Guide 2017; and number four in the UK in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017, the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management has a world-class reputation for its research in hospitality, tourism and events and is ranked in the top five globally for its publications.

We see doctoral students as important collaborators in this work, challenging you with new ideas that develop you as a critical researcher, as well as helping you build a solid grounding in research methodologies.

What you will study

Our academics have an international reputation for research that shapes the agendas of scholarship and practice. We also work to inspire our students and connect you with senior executives and policy makers from across the world, offering opportunities for further learning and developing valuable connections.

As a result of this approach, we have a vibrant international alumni network of high-profile figures from across the hospitality, tourism and events industries.

At the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, you will be part of an internationally diverse community of doctoral researchers, with the chance to participate in seminars, conferences, subject/research groups, the School’s PhD researcher seminar series and access modules on University of Surry MSc offerings.

We also provide you with office space, PCs, the university library and societies, access to major business databases and a wide range of online research tools and resources.

Programme content

Our PhD programme comprises approximately three years of full time study during which you will undertake a structured, supervised programme of scholarly research leading to a thesis that makes an original contribution to knowledge and is of a standard appropriate for publication in high-quality refereed journals. As a member of the ESRC funded South East Doctoral Training Centre we offer excellent research training and the opportunity to be part of a vibrant research community that shapes agendas of scholarship and practice.

As part of your studies, you will undertake a tailored weekly programme of formal research training in research methodology and career development. Alongside this, we provide access to our SHTM weekly seminar series in order to expose you to internal and guest presentations from the leading figures in the field. As a registered PhD student you will also have access to the University of Surrey module catalogue where you can undertake any MSc modules in order to enhance your development.


Annually we offer the chance to prospective applicants to compete for our internal postgraduate research studentships which cover fees and an annual stipend. We are also part of the ESRC SeNSS (South East Network for Social Sciences) a new ESRC funded Doctoral Training Partnership. SeNSS offers ESRC studentships to top-quality research students wishing to study economics, linguistics, hospitality and tourism management, environment and sustainability and development studies and related multidisciplinary topics within the social sciences at the University of Surrey.

In addition to the University and ESRC studentships we welcome applicants looking to apply to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) and have successful applicants through this path. Students in SHTM have also been successful in obtaining funding from their Government or employer, with some also self-funding their doctoral studies.

Our students

Our doctoral programme recruits some of the best candidates from across the globe. Currently we have students from: Australia; Canada; China; Chile; Colombia; Germany; Ghana; Hong Kong; Ireland; Korea; Malaysia; Poland; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; Slovakia; Spain; Thailand; Turkey; UK; USA; and are always looking to expand on this diversity. Our PhD graduates go on to successful careers in both academia and industry holding positions at institutions such as: University Utara, Malaysia; Chiang Mai University, Thailand; University of Wolverhampton, UK; University of Surrey, UK; University of Derby, UK; University of Brighton, UK; Edinburgh University, UK; AL-Hussien Bin Talal University, Jordan; National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan; Lebanese American University, Lebanon; King AbdulAziz University, Saudi Arabia; The Dartmoor Group, UK; Bangkok University, Thailand; Accra Polytechnic University, Ghana.

Some thoughts from our current students:

“With its excellent reputation and ranking in the league tables and vibrant international student population, I knew the University of Surrey was the right choice for me. The University provides a pragmatic and internationally focused education with classes taught by both industry professionals and high calibre lecturers from around the world. To top it all off, the University is located just outside of London in the Surrey Hills, providing the perfect mix of big city exposure and rural English living!”

Kelsy Hejjas

“Surrey is an amazing place where you are not only supervised by leading researchers in the field, but also surrounded by intelligent PhD students from all over the world. SHTM is certainly one of the best places to broaden your academic outlook.”

Carol X. Zhang

School research groups/expertise

Our research is focused into three research groups, each supported by a full-time research fellow.

Sustainability and wellbeing in the visitor economy

Sustainability and wellbeing are key concerns of many organisations and destinations.

This research group aims not only to help reduce the negative impacts and enhance the positive impacts of the visitor economy, but also to critically engage with existing theory, research and practice.

Ultimately, this group is focused on developing an evidence base to inform key policy agendas in the UK and globally, while working with industry stakeholders to advance a sustainability and wellbeing agenda. For more information on this please see here.

Competitiveness in the visitor economy

Labour is a key part of competitiveness in hospitality, tourism and events, so it is a central focus of this research group.

We aim to address equality and diversity in employment and conduct studies of future labour markets, career mobilities, skills, flexible employment and entrepreneurial migration.

We also aim to maintain our world-leading position in demand-forecasting research, which provides a scientific foundation to support businesses’ and governments’ decision-making to improve their competitiveness. For more information on competitiveness in the visitor economy please see the website.

The digital visitor economy

This research group explores the impacts of newly emerging digital platforms and human-technology interactions, particularly around smart phones, social media and hospitality, tourism and events decision-making and experiences.

It also examines the rapidly evolving relationships between tourism product development, customer experiences and social media. See here for more information.

Related research areas

Related departments/schools

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PhD Full-time 30-48 months September, January
PhD Part-time 60-96 months September, January

Entry Requirements

Our normal expectation is that you hold a Masters degree at a minimum of a distinction level in a relevant discipline from an approved university. If you do not hold such a degree, you may be admitted, providing you hold a first class (1st) Bachelors degree from an approved university or a professional or other qualification deemed by the University to be appropriate.

Before you apply

Before applying, please download our research proposal guidance document for information on submitting a suitable research proposal.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

Non-native speakers of English will normally require IELTS 7.0 or above with a minimum of 6.5 in each component (or equivalent).

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time £4195 £16,000
Part-time £2100 £8,000

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/18 only. All fees are subject to annual review.

Overseas students applying for 2017 entry should please note that annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our research programmes

Doctoral College

Our Doctoral College supports researcher excellence and employability across the doctoral and early career stages of the researcher journey.

Find out more

Code of practice for research degrees

Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees.

The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.

Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).

Our academic staff

Our students