Applications and proposals

Entry Requirements

For admission to this version of the programme applicants should normally have:

  • a good honours degree from a British university or CNAA, and a good taught Master's degree; or
  • qualifications of a comparable standard from a university or recognised degree awarding body in another country.
  • IELTS: Overall 6.5 with at least 6.0 for reading and writing or equivalent.
  • A written research proposal (see below).

All applications for postgraduate research must be supported by a written proposal. This will give us a clear idea of your interests, will help us assess your ability to successfully complete a PhD and will help us to identify an appropriate supervisor for you. You should give a clear, academically sound, description of the area that you want to work in and the type of research that you are interested in undertaking, indicating which supervisor(s) are likely to match your research interests, after reading the individual profiles of the academic staff. We recognise that this may change later, as you begin the research and read more about the field.

Your proposal should be typed and should be between 1500 and 2000 words in length, excluding bibliography. Please write under the following headings. Proposals in other formats will be returned for amendment.

Guidelines on writing a postgraduate research proposal


Give your proposal a meaningful, provisional title that summarises your area of interest and your planned programme of study.

Research question(s)

Identify the main research question(s) that you will be asking. These should be succinct, researchable and significant. Bullet points are usually best.


Explain how your questions are different from those asked by others, drawing on a brief review of the relevant research literature. You should show that you are familiar with the main literature in the field you are interested in.

Research Design & Methods

Please describe the research design of your study, including the who, what, where and why of your research plan. Briefly describe the method(s) that you will use to answer your research questions (such as library based, conceptual or empirical methods). Show why this is an appropriate design to answer your research questions.

Significance of your Research

Describe the contribution that you consider this research will make. Identify the implications of your research for existing educational theories, policy or practice. Try to say what difference your research could make to any of these.


Please include a detailed timetable that shows how the research design can be managed within a three year time period (or a 5 year period for part time students). You should explain what you will be doing during your period of registration to progress the research.


List some of the main written sources on which your research will be based.

How we assess applications

Please refer to this document about How we assess applications prior to submitting your application.

How to apply

You can apply to begin your research degree in October or January,  but it is preferable to start in October if you can, as it is easier for you to find accommodation and to attend the programme of research support courses offered by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) in a sensible order.

Please look at the How to Apply pages for more information. 

Alternatively, application forms can be obtained from:

Postgraduate Admissions
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University

Telephone: +44 (0)1524 510880
Fax: +44 (0)1524 510857

Overseas applicants may be required to have a telephone interview with either the Research Students’ Tutor or the potential supervisor, in order to discuss their submitted proposal.