What Will You Study

An international first, our PhD in Mental Health provides you with a deeper and more critical insight into mental health theory, research and practice. A number of mental health research groups work from Lancaster University’s prestigious Division of Health Research. For example, the Spectrum Centre, which has attracted more than £6m in funding since its launch, is the only specialist research centre in the UK dedicated to translational research into the psychosocial aspects of bipolar disorder and associated conditions (including recurrent depression, anxiety, and psychosis), as well as developments in their treatment. Other staff research interests include mental health in people with chronic physical conditions or difficulties, and ensuring positive mental health among socially marginalised groups.

Whether you are based within a healthcare setting, local government, education, research or management, the PhD in Mental Health is your chance to work with the Centre’s world-leading academics on the production of a thesis that makes an original contribution to knowledge development within your area of professional practice.

Combining innovative distance learning and Academies held at the University, this part-time, flexible degree brings together the theory and practice of mental health, including psychological models of psychological disorders, evidence-based interventions, and current priorities for mental health.

Run over 4-5 years (minimum 4 years), your Doctorate begins with a five-day Induction Academy at the University. Each of the subsequent academic years start with an optional three-day Academy. The rest of the course is delivered via e-learning.

Throughout your studies, we will support you as you enhance your leadership skills and effectiveness, and develop advanced skills in research design, practice and dissemination. You’ll foster critical approaches to the review of evidence and improve your written and oral presentation skills.

Our close links to NHS mental health services in the North West of England and to the voluntary sector (both regionally and nationally) combine with the current research interests of staff to inform the content of our modules. Service users will also be actively involved in the delivery of the taught component of your Doctorate.

Years one and two provide you with training in research and mental health. Your specialist module in Year one is Mental Health, which is studied alongside the Philosophy of Research, and, Research Design. In Year two, you will undertake the following modules: Systematic Reviews; Data Analysis; and Advanced Research Planning.

Years three to four/five see you undertake a research project in Mental Health, which will conclude with the submission of your 35,000 word thesis. The project will be supervised from the University but undertaken in your own location or workplace. Supervisions can be via telephone, e-mail or Skype, depending on preference. Face-to-face meetings with your supervisors will take place during the annual Academy.

You will participate in lectures, workshops, group discussions and individual activities during each Academy, while our distance learning approach combines live and interactive lectures, elements to be worked through autonomously, webinars and online collaboration, and group work.

You will benefit from being part of a UK and internationally-based peer group of mental health workers who wish to undertake formal study at the same time as they are working. All students have access to a Hub space that facilitates interaction with your cohort and with other programmes, creating a virtual information space that’s also sociable.

An academic tutor and then two research supervisors will provide you with support for each step of your PhD. They will also encourage you to attend external workshops and conferences (using University funds, where available, to support this).