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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

  • The Social Lives of Batteries and New Energy Materials

    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.

    Start date: 1st October 2020

    Deadline: We are currently accepting applications for this post.

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

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

    Specifically focused on new energy materials, battery technologies and electric vehicles, the PhD will follow batteries through the laboratory and into the possible forms of mobility and everyday futures which they might be part of. This might develop in a variety of theoretical and methodological directions, depending on the interests of the successful candidate, but should include:  i) conducting empirical research on how ‘the battery’ exists in the discourse and practices of material scientists that are working on new energy materials; ii) analysing how such assumptions have implications for the development of new materials and battery technologies; iii) creatively developing ‘everyday futures’ and imagined ‘social lives’ of future batteries.

    The ultimate aim is to explore some of the alternative socio-technical lives of future batteries through focussing on futures of travel in different countries, in transformed vehicle ecologies, and in relation to changed end use practices. Through the Material Social Futures doctoral training centre, there will be many opportunities to engage in dialogue with material scientists (both staff and students), for example, through the MSF training programme, and with a thematically linked PhD in Chemistry on sustainable battery materials.

    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: Social Lives of Batteries PhD Opportunity Further details

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

    Deadline for 2020-21 applications: 5.00 pm GMT, Monday 3rd February 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. 

    Full details of the studentships and application process are available on the Faculty website

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

    DEADLINE: 5.00 pm GMT on Friday 7th February 2020

    To apply for an award, candidates must have applied for a place on a relevant PhD programme by Monday 13th January 2020.

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

    Full details of the studentship and application process are available on the Faculty website

  • Faculty Studentships

    DEADLINE: 5.00 pm GMT, 28th February 2020

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

    Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is pleased to offer a number of Faculty Scholarships 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.

    All applicants must already hold an offer of a place to study in the Sociology Department before applying for a scholarship, and be due to commence their studies during the 2020-2021 academic year.

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

    Full details of the studentship and application process are available on the Faculty website. Please download the application form from the faculty website and submit to Emma Taylor at by the deadline.

  • 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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