Self-funded PhDs

Develop your own self-funded PhD proposal

If you have your own research idea, we can help you to develop it.

To begin, you will need to put in an application to the University's online application system. Please follow the University's guidance regarding the required documentation.

1. Create your application

On top of the guidelines referenced above, the following guidelines are specific to the School of Computing and Communications (SCC). Please make sure to follow all of the requirements. Not adhering to them may at best delay the processing of your application, and at worst might result in immediate rejection. The preferred format for all supporting documents is PDF.

1.1 Research Proposal

At the top of the first page of the Research Proposal, please include the following information:


  • A clear indication of the SCC research group(s) you want to work with. See a list of our research groups below.
  • Two or three works that are related to your proposal. This list is in addition to any other references you may wish to include.


  • The names of the SCC academic(s) you want to work with. Please also indicate if you would like us to consider your application if your preferred supervision team is not possible.

1.2 Personal Statement

A personal statement is mandatory and should be a maximum of one page. The document should explain your motivation to work on this project and a little about your background.

1.3 CV

We also require you to include a CV with a maximum length of two pages. This should consist of your previous degrees and graduation grades, as well as any relevant skills. Where it applies, also include awards of excellence, publications, and links to code releases (e.g. using GitHub URLs).

2. Choose a Research Group and find a PhD Supervisor

You will need to select one or two groups that are most related to your proposed PhD work. You could optionally identify one or more academics that you would prefer to supervise your work.

  • Communication Systems

    Lancaster's Communication Systems Research Group focuses on the design, analysis and optimisation of future communication systems.

  • Data Science

    Data Science focuses on new methods, algorithms and applications of transforming data in real-time and autonomously to meet real-world needs.

  • Digital Health

    Our focus is on using digital technologies to take a proactive approach to health, with the aim of preventing illness and improving quality of life.

  • Distributed Systems

    Distributed systems are becoming increasingly complex, encompassing areas of technological innovation including cloud computing, multi-core architectures, the Internet of Things and mobile computing.

  • Interactive Systems

    We come together from different fields including computer science, vision, graphics, machine learning and engineering to develop advances in mobile, pervasive and interactive technologies.

  • Networking

    The Networking group have a diverse range of interests, from cutting-edge computer networking technologies to understanding new deployment context.

  • Pervasive Systems

    The Pervasive Computing group at Lancaster conducts world-class research into the design, development, deployment and evaluation of mobile and pervasive computing systems.

  • Security

    Our activities deliver ground-breaking research and postgraduate training through programmes as diverse as an MA in conflict, development and security and an MSc in cyber security.

  • Software Engineering

    Software Engineering (SE) has been a major research theme at Lancaster since 1986. In the 2010s our high-impact research spans the range from tool development to theoretical work and focuses on a number of SE themes.