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PhD Degrees

Over 60 PhD researchers comprise a lively community of scholars from around the world

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Funding Opportunities


  • Fully Funded PhD Scholarship in Mobility Futures and the Social Lives of Batteries


    Start date: 1st October 2020

    Deadline: 24th April 2020, 5pm

    Supervisor: Dr Nicola Spurling (NB a second supervisor appropriate to the successful candidate will be identified on appointment).

    • 3 year, fully funded PhD opportunity for UK and EU Citizens, based in the Leverhulme Material Social Futures Doctoral Training Centre, and Sociology Department at Lancaster University, UK.
    • Payment of academic fees;
    • A maintenance stipend £15,373 pa;  
    • Access to a Research Training Support Grant of £3,000 pa (e.g. for fieldwork, conference attendance, training courses and equipment)

    The Leverhulme Material Social Futures Programme and Lancaster Sociology are seeking a candidate for this exciting PhD opportunity. The position will suit applicants from a range of backgrounds including Sociology, Science and Technology Studies, Anthropology, Geography or Material Culture Studies. Experience of qualitative and ethnographic methods, and an interest in one of the following fields is desirable:  mobilities, social practice theory, sociology of the future, new materialisms, science and technology studies.  

    The successful candidate will be interested in decarbonising travel, and have a willingness to learn about a range of social futures methods to explore low carbon mobility futures in different places (e.g. rural, urban; different countries). For example, these futures would involve ways of living without the combustion engine car, but could involve new mobility services; new social practices including delivering, charging, picking up and dropping off; new forms of intermodal travel; new types, shapes and sizes of vehicle; novel vehicle ecologies; intermodal travel; transformed relationships between forms of mobility and everyday life. The candidate will explore the implications of different possible futures for what the battery is and does, and contrast this with the conceptualisations of ‘the battery’ that underpin contemporary material science.  

    This exciting PhD is a chance to contribute to mobility futures that are more sustainable and ethical. Please send enquiries about the vacancy and applications to Dr Nicola Spurling,

    Informal enquiries prior to submitting an application are encouraged and can be made directly to Dr Nicola Spurling.

    Applications should be made via Lancaster University’s online application systemApplicants must put LEVERHULME under ‘source of funding’ in the application form.

    Download full details of the studentship: PhD Opportunity further information

  • Fully funded PhD Scholarship in Mobilities Research and the Climate Emergency

    Start date: October 2020

    Deadline: May 30th 2020, 5pm

    The Faculty of Arts and Social Science seeks applications from prospective PhD Students with an interest in mobilities research/ methodologies and the current climate and ecological emergency. Help will be given in developing a specific topic/research question providing applicants can demonstrate a genuine interest in the field. The Scholarship will be housed in the Department of Sociology but the position is open to applicants from all disciplinary backgrounds from across the arts, humanities and social sciences, and supervision can be extended into arts and humanities as appropriate. Candidates should have an excellent academic record, which would normally include a first class degree (any area considered) and an MA in a relevant subject area (arts, humanities or social science).

    The post is fully-funded for three years (fees + £15k living allowance) and the scholarship includes a requirement of 6 hours work per week as an administrative assistant within the Centre of Mobilities Research. The successful candidate will be based in Lancaster (or a commutable distance to the campus). 

    CeMoRe is the longest established centre for mobilities scholarship in the world and an exceptionally dynamic environment in which to pursue doctoral research ( Queries reagrding this post can be sent to Emma Taylor, the Postgraduate Administrator in the Sociology Department ( or CeMoRe’s Acting Director, Professor Lynne Pearce (  The Scholarship will run for three years from October 2020-2023 and is only available to UK/EU students.

    To apply: please submit a PhD application via our My Applications portal which you can access here, and indicate that you are applying for this scholarship in the funding section. You will need to submit a piece of work from your MA as part of the application process (such as an essay or dissertation). You will also need to submit a CeMoRe PhD Scholarship application form to Emma Taylor at , including an outline of your PhD proposal (500 words) which indicates the sorts of research questions, methods and materials you would like to engage with.



    CeMoRe PhD Scholarship application form

  • ESRC funding - North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP)

    The deadline for 2020-21 applications has passed. Details for 2021-22 entry will be available around December 2020. 

    Lancaster University forms part of the North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP) which offers scholarships covering tuition and maintenance for a Masters plus PhD (1+3) or for a PhD alone (+3, +2).

    The pathways available within the Sociology Department are:

    • Criminology, Social Policy and Social Work (MA Social Research, PhD Criminology)
    • Development and Humanitarianism in an Unequal World (PhD Environment and Society)
    • Social Anthropology (PhD Sociology)
    • Social Studies of Science, Technology and Medicine (MA Social Research, PhD Sociology, PhD Science Studies)
    • Socio-legal Studies (MA Social Research, PhD Criminology, PhD Law)
    • Sociology (MA Social Research, PhD Sociology)

    Please note that Master's programmes can only be funded as part of a 1+3 studentship. The NWSSDTP does not fund standalone Master's programmes.

    Due to the competitive nature of this funding, usually only students with a first class UG degree or a distinction in their MA would be successful. 


  • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWCDTP)

    The deadline for 2020-21 applications has passed. Details for 2021-22 entry will be available around December 2020. 


    Fully funded (fees & maintenance) PhD studentships were available in 2020-21 for applicants in the Sociology Department planning to study in the Media and Cultural Studies pathway.


  • Faculty Studentships

    The deadline for 2020-21 applications has passed. Details for 2021-22 entry will be available around December 2020. 


    2020 Eligibility: All full-time and part-time students with an offer of a place of study

    Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was pleased to offer a number of Faculty Scholarships in 2020-21 to outstanding UK, EU and Overseas applicants wishing to study for a Masters Degree followed by a PhD (“1+3”) or a PhD Degree within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

    A variety of scholarships were awarded ranging from fee bursaries to fee bursaries plus maintenance grants up to the value of £15,000.


  • Other funding for PhD students and applicants


    Visit the faculty website for details on other funding sources for PhD applicants and registered students.

    Research Support and Training Costs

    All registered PhD students are eligible to apply to the Department for research support and research training costs. This may cover, for example, travel and other expenses for research trips to libraries, archives, museums, etc.; expenses related to attending academic conferences where you are giving a paper; or the costs of training in a skill necessary for your research, such as enrolling in a language or other skills course for which no provision exists in the university. Individual requests are usually limited to £250.

How to Apply

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.

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.

Finding a supervisor

While it is not necessary to get in touch with potential supervisors before submitting your application, in some cases it can be useful to email staff whom you would be interested to work with before applying. This could be helpful for you in finding out whether you do share similar interests or theoretical orientations, and whether the member of staff is currently accepting new PhD students. You can get in touch with staff directly through the information on their profile pages.

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 our department appears best qualified to supervise you
    • the methods you envisage using in your studies
    • plus any other information which may be relevant
  • An example of postgraduate level written work (e.g. MA Coursework, article or research paper)
  • Two references
  • If English is not your first language, we require copies of English language test results. It is possible for us to consider your application before receiving these test results, and to then give you a conditional offer that will be dependent upon receiving test results at a later date.

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, a July start date can be considered. 

If you wish to be considered for funding, are applying from overseas or require on-campus accommodation, we recommend you apply as early as possible.

If you would like more information before applying, please contact us at or + 44 (0)1524 593148. If you have any queries during the application process, please contact our Postgraduate Admissions Team.

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