Postgraduate study in arts and the social sciences

PhD in Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement


This distinctive PhD in Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement (by thesis and coursework) is a part-time structured PhD programme that is undertaken entirely online, over 4 years.

Academics providing modules and supervision on this programme are all internationally renowned researchers based in one of the best Education Departments in the UK. The Department has an established and excellent reputation for research and evaluation in Higher Education and in Doctoral programme provision, which has been running since 1995. The specialists in higher education research who contribute to this programme belong to the Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation (here@lancaster). 

This programme is delivered entirely online, enabling you to study from home or your office at times to suit you. The annual cohort is restricted to around 30 people, and you will be invited to work with smaller groups within that from time to time. The philosophy that underpins the programme involves collaborative learning, so modules are designed with that in mind. Videos of lectures, resource-based activities as well as video conferencing (with recordings if you are unable to attend at the time) and individual support are offered throughout the programme. Full use is made of the rich online resources that are available in the field of researching higher education. The accumulated learning from previous cohorts is available to new ones, taking full advantage of the online environment.

Most of our participants enjoy working with others on areas of common interest, but for those who prefer to work individually, this is also possible. The three core modules in the first two years each involve a period of structured activities followed by time for individual research, supported by the module leader, leading to an assignment equivalent to a journal article. We encourage participants to publish from this work, and very many do so. This 'publish-as-you-go' model is one of the great strengths of this programme for professionals who are working in higher education and wish to raise their profile.

Early application is advised to join cohort 7 in October 2019.


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What our students say:

Cohort 3 Participant (UK)

“Although I don't see myself pursuing change management as a research area, I engage in a lot of change management in my current job (and, given my career trajectory, I am likely to continue to do so into the future) and so from a professional development perspective the module and materials have been extremely useful in giving me a toolkit to analyse the cultural environment prior to embarking on whatever project it is I am managing/undertaking.”

Cohort 3 Participant (Trinidad and Tobago)

“I am gaining psychological income; not to mention the growth I… have experienced just from reading and commenting on the various articles and the feedback being received from my fellow classmates and the professors."

Cohort 1 Participant (Ireland)

"This process has taken me far beyond my comfort zone, has caused me to challenge a lot of what I do and why I do it.  It is making my head hurt and I love it.  My students are loving it; I have spoken to undergrads about Third Space Professionals, introduced them to the ideas of Basil Bernstein, and encouraged them to challenge the status quo more. ….[Y]our enthusiasm has rippled over them!

The process is time consuming (but it should be), at times I feel like I am aimlessly treading water (but I should feel like that), I have to read some materials again and again before its relevance becomes clearer (but it should be like that too).  I have taken…your names in vain more than once (sorry for that) but I am loving this.  Simply, I am very pleased with my progress and with the support so far from the University."