Postgraduate study in arts and the social sciences

Traditional route PhD - independent study


We offer supervision in a range of research areas by world-renowned specialists in a range of topics within our areas of specialism.


With a long history of research and research supervision and a very large number of PhDs awarded as well as a thriving and friendly research community, our students are able to participate in research seminars, a reading group, postgraduate group meetings and in the research and evaluation projects led by our academics, when available. We consistently achieve very high ratings from our postgraduate students on the level of satisfaction with the quality of supervision they receive. Our postgraduate research students feel part of the life of the Department as well as a contributing member of a community of researchers.

The department has an active and mutually beneficial relationship with a network of local schools and colleges.

Our three research centres: the Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation, the Centre for Social Justice and Wellbeing in Education and the Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning are internationally recognised for the excellence and originality of their research.

Since the first Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 1992 the Department has consistently been judged to be one of the best in the UK. The results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) placed us in the top six research-intensive Education departments in the UK, with 78% of our research activity graded as world leading or internationally excellent and 92% of our academic staff submitted.

Research supervision

Postgraduate students are supported through regular supervision. Supervision for research degrees (MPhil or PhD) on either a full-time or part-time basis is available in all of the areas of expertise offered by staff in the Department.

If you are interested in applying we strongly encourage you to read our Search for a Supervisor page to match your research interests to the supervision specialisms that are available in the department.

Important Note

Applications for research into language teaching, learning and assessment, including English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English as a Second Language (ESL), are best directed to Lancaster University's Department of Linguistics and English Language where there is considerable expertise in these areas.