PhD & Postgraduate Research

We demonstrate and share our knowledge through a flexible training programme, educating the next generation of security experts and providing skills for the workplace.

Studying with us

Studying for a research degree is a highly rewarding and challenging process. You'll work to become a leading expert in your area with regular contact and individual supervision with your supervisor.

All our academic staff are active researchers, who are at the leading edge of their research field with international reputations in their discipline, available to supervise and guide you. We have an outstanding reputation for ongoing research in our specialist areas:

  • cyber security
  • cognitive psychology
  • conflict, development & security

This makes for a world-class research environment for you to pursue your studies. To further your interest in PhD Research, we recommend that you contact a relevant member of staff to discuss topic areas. Staff can also help you to develop and scope an appropriate proposal. We particularly support applications to work with early-career staff.

Self-funded applications

To begin the process you will need to find a PhD Supervisor whose research interests align with your own. You will need to contact them to discuss your application.

Industry-funded applications

Launch your career in research and development with an industry-focused, three year funded PhD for graduates with a background in scientific disciplines. Each PhD is tailored to both the subject and the requirements of a specific industry.

We will require a research proposal on the area/s you are interested in joining us to study. This will be used to help us determine who will be the most suitable potential academic supervisor for your research. 

This is the starting point to find a suitable supervisor who will then if interested contact the applicant for a phone interview to discuss the proposal and intended research, meaning your proposal is not your permanent topic for your PhD studies and open to negotiation. Past guidelines have suggested the following:

  • a section that defines and characterises your selected research area;
  • a section that briefly surveys and sums up the state of the art in this area;
  • a section that identifies deficiencies in the state of the art which you would like to address in your PhD;
  • a section that outlines some possible research directions that you might pursue;
  • a list of references that you cite in the above sections.

We recommend applicants submit their research interests and the PhD Admissions Tutor can pass their application onto the most relevant and available potential supervisor. However, If you would like to search for a suitable academic supervisor(to quote in your application) then you can find a list of our academics here.

To submit an application, simply create an account on the My Applications website and then select ‘Create a new application’ from your homepage once you are logged-in.

Using your account on the My Applications website, you are able to submit applications for the programme(s) which you wish to study, upload supporting documentation and provide us with information about referees. You may apply for all our postgraduate programmes using this method.

Current Lancaster Students

If you are a current Lancaster student, or you have recently graduated from Lancaster, we can reduce the amount of information that you will need to provide as part of your application. You will need to provide only one reference and will not need to supply your Lancaster degree transcript. We will also pre-fill your personal details, ready for you to check.

If you use the My Applications website then you will be advised which documentation you need to upload or send to us. We can automatically contact your referees once you have submitted your application if you ask us to.

The supporting documentation screen will provide you with a list of required documents. These will usually include:

  • Degree certificates and transcripts of previous higher education (college/university) degrees or other courses that you have completed/for which you are currently studying.
    For transcripts in languages other than English, a certified English translation will be required.
  • A personal statement to help us understand why you wish to study your chosen degree.
  • You also need to complete a research proposal which should include the following:
    • the research area you are interested in
    • the research question(s) you are specifically interested in
    • who within Engineering appears best qualified to supervise you
    • the methods you envisage using in your studies
    • plus any other information which may be relevant
  • Two references
  • If English is not your first language, we require copies of English language test results.

You can apply at any time of the year for PhD study, but we encourage you to start at one of the predefined start dates of October, January or April. In some circumstances, July start date will be considered. An MSc by Research will usually start in October. If you wish to be considered for funding, are applying form overseas or require on-campus accommodation, we recommend you apply as early as possible.

PhD Supervisors

Natural Language Processing, Authorship analysis, Spelling Variation

View Alistair's profile

Willing to supervise in areas related to risk analysis

View Jerry's profile

Dr Chatterjee welcome potential doctoral students in the following areas

Socio-Legal studies, in particular:

Gender, Sexuality and Law

Film/Media and the Law

Technology and Law

View Bela Bonita's profile

I am looking to supervise students interested in engaging critically with some of the following empirical areas: household economies, everyday indebtedness, credit scoring/data proliferation/informational mobilities, disaster/disaster preparedness, infrastructures of scholarly communication. Theoretically and methodologically I draw influences from fields including science and technology studies, affect theory, economic sociology, and sociologies of the digital.

View Joe's profile

Dr Easton is willing to supervise PhDs in the general areas of internet law and intellectual property. Relevant topics include: Internet governance, website accessibility, domain name regulation, Internet service provider liability and online copyright infringements.

View Catherine's profile

I am interested in supervising students in any of the following topics:
- Cloud brokerage and adaptive decision support
- Intent Driven Networking
- Fog computing services of different types, and managing their hosting on micro-clouds
- Decentralised Internet infrastructures, especially for disaster recovery
- Opportunistic networking, and opportunistic composition of distributed systems
- Measuring online systems, such as social networks and web infrastructures
- Augmented machine learning

View Yehia's profile

Border and migration policy, critical migration studies, human rights, citizenship and non-citizenship in the European Union, securitization and the governance of borders.

View Karolina's profile

I am happy to explore and supervise topics within distributed systems, cloud computing, energy, resource scheduling, security, and dependability research. If you have your own ideas for a research project you would like to pursue, feel free to contact me to discuss further.

View Peter's profile

I am happy to supervise projects related to my field of research (c.f. above), notably on maritime/naval affairs; ocean governance; the concept of seapower; climate change and maritime security; IR theories in a cross-disciplinary setting. I am open to inter/cross-disciplinary projects including (but not limited to) international relations, political science, security studies, history, human geography, corpus linguistics, and marine science.

View Basil's profile

Professor Gillespie is happy to consider PhD proposals in the areas of Criminal Law; Sexual Offences; Cybercrime; Covert Policing; Criminal Justice (including Evidence).

View Alisdair's profile

Software Engineering; Code analysis; Defect prediction; Software testing; Software developer human factors.

View Tracy's profile

I am happy to supervise PhD students undertaking projects that use corpus approaches to investigate forensic linguistic questions, particularly in the area of pragmatics, but also more generally in the area of discourse analysis. I especially welcome projects that focus on aggression, deception, and/or manipulation.

View Claire's profile

Potential Doctoral Proposals

I have supervised over thirty research students on a wide variety of subjects, including sociology of religion, religion, place and space, modern Hindu movements, religion and public life, gender and religion, religion and violence, and religious identities. At present I supervise students working on non/religious discourse, internal migration and religion in Turkey, the roles of family and gender in terrorism, utopian movements, and liturgical change.

I welcome applications from potential doctoral candidates researching religious and secular relationships; religion, diasporas and migration; Hindu and Sikh diaspora communities; media and religion; ideologies and security threats; and from those wishing to apply spatial approaches to studying religion.

View Kim's profile

Critical security studies
European social theory
Digital geo-politics

View Mark's profile

You are welcome to contact me if you are interested in doing your PhD in Wireless/Mobile Communications, Networking, IoT, Big Data Analytics, Security, AI and Machine Learning techniques. Please email me your CV, academic transcripts and a draft PhD research plan/proposal. China CSC PhD applicants or visitors are very welcome.

View Qiang's profile

I am interested in supervising doctoral candidates in the following broad areas:
- Chinese politics, philosophy and international relations
- East Asian international relations
- Cultural governance
- Continental philosophy and poststructuralist thought
- Concepts of time, space and multiplicity in international relations
- The politics of mega events
- Censorship and resistance, particularly online
- Language and authority
- Harmony

View Astrid's profile

Millimetre wave vacuum electron devices design and fabrication

View Claudio's profile

Software Defined Networks (SDN), Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), Network Orchestration, Network Monitoring, Network Security, Fog / Edge Computing, P4.

View Nicholas's profile

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas: contextual disambiguation methods for automatic semantic annotation and WSD, multilingual semantic tagging, applications of NLP to real-world problems.

View Paul's profile

Interested in supervising students with an interest in CSCW/HCI and studying the design, deployment and evaluation of technologies in organisational and domestic settings - and the interface between human, organisational and technical systems.

View Mark's profile

Redefining User Experience for Novel Interfaces, Creative Practice in Computer Science

View Miriam's profile

H2020 CONCORDIA Software Security Testing Security Metrics Data-Centric Security

View Neeraj's profile

Prof. Sweeney is available to supervise research in the fields of international and European human rights law; international refugee law; and transitional justice. Prof. Sweeney also has an interest in some aspects of the law of armed conflict (IHL) and international criminal law. Please enquire for further details.

View James's profile

We are seeking a PhD student for a project that combines cutting edge material science, quantum physics and information security, to drive a major evolution in physical security systems. Recently-discovered two-dimensional materials, with extraordinary physical properties extending well beyond those of graphene alone, will be the active component in the devices studied. They act as a near ideal interface between light and electronics, allowing information exchange between the two with unprecedented fidelity. The elegant access to quantum mechanics afforded by these devices will be applied to securing connections between the devices making up the Internet of Things, which are predicted to exceed 50 billion in just a few years. In this experimental project you will be trained to use state-of-the-art facilities in the Quantum Technology Centre at Lancaster to test develop quantum security devices using graphene-like materials incorporated into photonic devices. You will be taught to use nano-fabrication tools to prepare the devices for integration with embedded systems. Working with a GCHQ-backed centre of excellence in cyber security you will test the devices you create. The far-reaching goal of this project is for you to commercialise the technology through a spin-out company, Quantum Base, which focuses on quantum security systems. Please email me or see for more details.

View Robert's profile

Funded PhD Research


Postgraduate Research

Our security research is strongly multidisciplinary and focuses on high quality impact. Led by our three centre's, our work crosscuts traditional security research, including Cyber Security, Behavioural Science & Transport & Infrastructure.

Current PhD Research Opportunities

Security Lancaster is proud of our PhD student research community and we are actively engaged in generating the best research projects for our students to work on.

We actively engage in creating an innovative community of security researchers in order to drive forward and breakdown the barriers of current think through multi-disciplinary research. If you want to part of our growing community of research please see below for a list of our current opportunities.

PhD Positions – Data-Centric Systems Cyber Security (SW, Autonomous Systems)

School of Computing and Communications

Start Date: October 2020 (an early start is an option for interested students)
Deadline for applicants: Open-ended
Interview date: TBC
Academic requirements: First-class or 2.1 (Hons) BS degree, or Masters degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject
Hours: Full Time

Position #1: Secure Software/Operating Systems

With software underpinning virtually all computing systems, the need is to ensure that the software is developed correctly (specification, implementation) and resilient to bugs invoked operationally (stress, overload) or deliberately (attacks). We explore the broad spectrum of design, analysis and assessment of robust & resilient software/OS. Our research encompasses the development of software testing schemes, methodologies for analytical and experimental stress injection of deployed software, approaches to detect and patch vulnerabilities along with measurement techniques to quantify the 'attackability' of software.


Professors Neeraj Suri and Tracy Hall will co-supervise this research and welcome informal enquiries.

Position #2: Secure Autonomous Systems

The use of autonomous systems is encountering rapid growth as they complement and supplement human-operated systems across a variety of safety or service-critical applications covering civilian, industrial or defence needs. Autonomous systems are dynamic, involve inter-dependent mission-data-control-networking surfaces, and entail socio-technical relationship with human end-users. These attributes also expose such autonomous systems to a variety of socio-technical attacks. Developing secure autonomous systems requires fundamentally new cross-disciplinary research (sociological, AI, distributed systems and software) in creating new mission-adaptive security frameworks, developing countermeasures across inter-dependent attack surfaces, as well as develop the social science theory for societal, legal and regulatory implications. We seek candidates with matching cross-disciplinary (Sociology, AI, DS/SW) backgrounds and interests to research secure autonomous systems.


Professors Neeraj Suri, Corinne May-Chahal and Plamen Angelov will co-supervise and welcome informal enquiries.

The Security Lancaster Institute

The appointed candidate will reside in the School of Computing and Communications Cyber Security Group, which forms part of the Security Lancaster Institute. The overarching aim of the institute is to derive additional capability for collaborative, multi-disciplinary research and education. The research in the Centre is driven by an ethos of undertaking theoretically rich, use-inspired research. The latter will be achieved through close collaboration between the scientists in Security Lancaster and our industry and practice partners.

Further Details & Application Process

Each PhD positions is for a three and a half years duration. Tuition fees are covered (only for EU/UK citizens) along with a tax-free stipend (~£17,000/year circa 2017-2018) for the duration of the PhD. Non-UK/EU students will need to cover their tuition. Candidates should apply using the instructions provided.