Develop your own self-funded PhD proposal

If you have a research idea, we can help you to develop it. To begin, you will need to find a PhD Supervisor from one of our research groups, whose research interests align with your own.

To begin the process, you will need to find a PhD Supervisor whose research interests align with your own. View our list of Research Groups to identify Supervisors in each area. You will need to contact them, with an outline of your research interests and a copy of your CV, to discuss your application.

1. Find a PhD Supervisor in a relevant Research Group

2. Develop your proposal with your PhD Supervisor

As part of your discussions with potential supervisors and the application process, we will require a research proposal on the area(s) you are interested in joining us to study. This will be used to help us determine who will be the most suitable potential academic supervisor(s) for your research.

It is recommended that a research proposal includes the following:

  • a section that defines and characterises your selected research area
  • a section that briefly surveys and sums up the state of the research in this area
  • a section that identifies deficiencies in the research area which you would like to address in your PhD
  • a section that outlines some possible research directions that you might pursue
  • a section detailing the methods you envisage using in your studies
  • who within the Department appears best qualified to supervise you
  • a list of references that you cite in the above sections

Our website offers additional information on writing a research proposal. Please note that your proposal is open to negotiation with your supervisor(s) and may change before and even during your PhD.

3. Submitting your application

To apply, simply create an account on the My Applications website and then select Create a new application from your homepage once you are logged in.

Using your account on the My Applications website, you can submit applications for the programme(s), which you wish to study, upload supporting documentation and provide us with information about referees. You may apply for all our postgraduate programmes using this method.

Start dates

You can apply at any time of the year for PhD study, but you will need to select one of the predefined start dates:

  • October
  • January
  • April

If you are applying for funding, are applying from overseas or require on-campus accommodation, we recommend that you apply as early as possible.

4. What happens next

After you submit the application it comes into the Admissions Office where it is assessed. It is then sent through to the Department for consideration. This can take up to three weeks. Please make sure you submit all the essential documents otherwise this will delay your application.

Once we receive your application in the Department we send it to potential supervisors. That is unless you have already identified a supervisor for your research.

We then make a decision on your application. The Admissions Office communicate this decision via your application portal and via email.

Fees and Funding

Information on the funding available, tuition fees and living costs in Lancaster are at Postgraduate Fees and Funding.