Study for PhD

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Lancaster is a leading centre for arts, humanities and social science research of both disciplinary and interdisciplinary nature, with a thriving graduate community and an extensive postgraduate research training programme.

All departments have an international reputation for excellence in research and teaching.


There are three main types of PhD programme on offer in the Faculty:

PhD by Thesis

The traditional thesis-only model is on offer in all departments on a full- or part-time basis. Students complete a research project on a theme on their own choice and then submit a thesis of approximately 80,000 words for examination, which they will be required to defend orally.

PhD by Thesis and Coursework

The innovative thesis and coursework model is aimed primarily towards those in employment, and can be studied either on campus or through distance learning. Details about our current thesis and coursework-style PhD programmes can be found in the relevant departments: Educational Research and Applied Linguistics.

Practice as Research PhD

Students wishing to complete PhD research in the creative arts may, in addition to a short written thesis, submit a substantial piece of practical work which provides new insights into creative practice knowledge in ways that are equal to but not possible within or duplicated by more traditional methods of academic research. Practice as Research PhDs are available in the Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts - Art, Design, Film and Theatre - and in Creative Writing.

For further information about research and supervision expertise in individual departments, please visit the department websites:

Research facilities

All full-time research students in years 1-4 of their studies are entitled to shared office space, with their own desk and storage space and access to computing, printing and photocopying.

Research training

Research students also have access to the Faculty's Research Training Programme, which provides a wide range of short-courses and modules which provide students with the necessary research skills to complete their research projects successfully.