Introduction to the PhD in Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement (HEREE)
Paul Trowler gives a 4 minute introduction to the HEREE PhD
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, minimally 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.
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 11 in October 2023.
The programme provides a well-defined and supported route to a PhD for professionals working in higher education institutions around the world.
Participants can study entirely at a distance from Lancaster and whilst in full or part-time employment in a higher education (post-school) environment. This programme is exclusively designed for higher education professionals of whatever sort, for example: academics; managers; administrators; educational developers; student learning specialists.
This part-time PhD programme takes a minimum of 4 years to complete and is designed for both the needs of universities and national higher education systems and HE professionals around the world insofar as it:
Participating in the programme will enable participants to enhance practices of different sorts within their higher education institutions by giving them the research and evaluative skills to do so effectively. The programme builds a mutually supportive spirit among participants who all have overlapping professional and academic interests. This means that participants benefit from studying within a cohort of students who act as critical friends and an informal support network during the programme, and a continued network throughout their careers.
Visit this Xerte resource to find out more about the 100% online HEREE PhD.
Can’t decide between the two higher education programmes offered by Lancaster University’s Department of Educational Research? Use the comparison table on our Which Higher Education PhD programme should I choose? webpage to inform your decision.
If you have any questions, or would like further information about this programme, please contact the Programme Co-ordinator, Kathryn Doherty.
Paul Trowler gives a 4 minute introduction to the HEREE PhD
"Lancaster’s PhD in HEREE provides an amazing doctoral learning experience – energised and challenging, yet highly-supportive. It is exceeding my well-researched expectations because it is expertly designed and taught. I love this programme because everyone is passionate about higher education, just like me! In addition to learning and communicating with experts (my teachers and peers), I am overcoming challenges and obstacles in my research, and learning how to balance full-time work, part-time study and life. If you are willing and able to deeply engage in your learning, collaborate with your colleagues and consistently apply yourself to your study across this programme, then you will gain a lot from the opportunities provided."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Please apply using the My Applications online system.
The next start date is 1st October 2023.
The cohort size is typically 30 or fewer.
The initial closing date for applications is 31st August 2023. Any applications received after this date will be considered on a first-come-first-served basis until the cohort is full.
Please apply using the My Applications online system.
As this is a PhD by coursework and thesis we do not require a research proposal at this stage we do require a personal statement and writing sample (see next tab for further information).
Alternatively, application forms can be obtained from: Postgraduate Admissions Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Lancaster University LANCASTER LA1 4YL
Telephone: +44 (0)1524 510880E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Because this is a doctoral programme, we do not require a research proposal from applicants. However, the personal statement should contain the following:-
Applicants should normally have at least three years experience of in teaching, research or administration in a university, further education college, or comparable institution.
As part of your application we ask you to upload a piece of writing, in English, that you have produced in the past and that best demonstrates the following characteristics:
The document must have been produced by you alone. It may be something academic (perhaps for a prior qualification such as a Master's dissertation) or a policy document, a guidance document or some other form (perhaps produced in your professional role) which demonstrates the three characteristics above. If the document is accessible online you may also provide us with a link to it.
For admission to this PhD applicants should normally have:
Applicants must be employed (in any capacity) in a higher education institution, or in an organisation directly and mainly associated with higher education.
Preference will be given to applicants who have degrees in cognate areas (normally social science/humanities). In judging applications, special attention is given to previous performance in qualifications or projects that have involved doing research and writing it up in a timely and effective fashion.
Close attention is paid to the comments made by referees. Asking someone who can comment on your capacity for independent research and study as well as your ability to complete tasks to a deadline is extremely helpful. Having an academic referee is therefore very important.
The aim of the admissions process is to build a well-functioning cohort of people who, like you, are able to benefit from and thrive in a strong academic environment. You will be able to apply your experience, intelligence and previous learning to the task of getting to grips with research into higher education, producing a strong draft of a publishable article in the area within 6 months of starting the programme.
Applicants should note that the workload on any PhD can at times be challenging, particularly when combined with a full- or part-time professional role. This programme aims to integrate your research studies with your professional role, thus helping to mitigate this challenge to some extent. The words "research, evaluation and enhancement" in the title of the programme capture this professional/research integration. We provide a focussed programme aimed at producing publishable research very quickly within a highly structured framework of resources and optional activities. While some deadlines for producing drafts of assignments for formative feedback, and some assignments themselves, are flexible, there is no flexibility in the end-of-module summative assessment. This is because the programme is sequential: one module must be successfully completed before commencement of the next. The course is organised this way to ensure students stay on track to complete all modules within the necessary timeframe.
Applicants will need to have acceptable fluency in written and spoken English.
For students whose first language is not English, an English Language Test Certificate will be required, that is, IELTS Academic with an overall score of 6.5 with at least 6.0 for reading and writing.
Further information can be found at: English Language Requirements.
The fee for each cohort is set annually by the University and represents the part-time fee for that academic year. Once a student is on the programme the fee will be increased in line with inflation for each subsequent year of the course.
The course fee for:
Fees are subject to a small increase each academic year.
To help finance your postgraduate study at Lancaster, you can apply for funding from charities and other funders: further details are available on the Fees and Funding webpage.
Applicants from the European Union can read more information about Research Fees (from Lancaster University) following the 2016 Referendum.
When you apply you will need to indicate your likely source of funding for your fees. If you are not self-funding you should investigate possible sources of finance as soon as you can for the full period of your study. Many students have been supported by their employing institutions.
The programme has a modular structure with three core modules and three support modules. All modules are compulsory and they are assessed along with the thesis proposal and the final thesis. Progression between core modules is conditional on successful completion of the previous module, meaning that deadlines of the three final assignments in Part 1 are not moveable.
This programme is undertaken entirely online. On successful completion you will be awarded a PhD degree certificate confirming your status as "Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement" from Lancaster University. The mode of study is irrelevant to the final award.
The Educational Research Department has considerable experience of supporting online and distance learners and we aim to make all our students feel that they are full members of the Department and part of the postgraduate community. Wherever possible we facilitate online participation at events and seminars organised by the Department.
All students have access to Moodle which is our Virtual Learning Environment. Many resources, for example, journal articles; required for postgraduate study, will be available online through the OneSearch facility offered by the Library. Additionally, the Library provides extra services for Distance Learners.
Visit our Computer requirements for studying online page for further information.
Rebecca Marsden is the Online Learning Support Officer for the Department of Educational Research and she can be contacted with queries about online learning.
The Academic skills webpages provide a wide range of online study opportunities across a range of topics. These include digital skills, referencing, research training and critical thinking.
The staff who teach and supervise programmes and modules can vary due to staff changes including research and other types of leave.