Lancaster Castle

PhD Degrees

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

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Funding Opportunities


  • Fully Funded EPSRC PhD Studentship - Trusted Autonomous Systems Security Node: Socio-technical Aspects of Secure Autonomous Systems

    Deadline: Open Ended

    The use of autonomous systems is encountering rapid growth as they complement and/or supplement human-operated systems across a variety of safety or service-critical applications covering civilian, industrial or defence needs. Autonomous systems entail socio-technical relationships with users in their environment, opening up a range of possible vulnerabilities (human, social and technical). Developing secure autonomous systems in the user environment requires fundamentally new cross-disciplinary research (sociological, AI, distributed systems and software) in creating new security frameworks, as well as developing the social science theory for societal, legal, ethical and regulatory implications. We seek candidates with an openness to cross-disciplinary research (Sociology, AI, DS/SW) to join a team of post-graduates and researchers developing secure trusted autonomous systems. We seek candidates with matching cross-disciplinary (Sociology, AI, DS/SW) backgrounds and interests to research secure autonomous systems.

    Supervisors: Dr Joe Deville, Dr Catherine Easton and Professor Neeraj Suri.

    Security Lancaster

    The appointed candidates will reside within the Security Lancaster Institute. The overarching aim of the institute is to drive capabilities for collaborative, multi-disciplinary research and education. The research in the Centre will be 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 partners.

    Further details and application process

    • Each PhD position, supported by the EPSRC Doctoral School, 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.
    • Candidates should submit an online application following the instructions provided on our FASS Funding website webpage. Please indicate clearly on the application that you wish to be considered for this studentship

    Please note if English is not your first language you will be required to provide evidence of your proficiency in English. We only need this evidence if we offer you the funded position. We don't expect it as part of this application process.

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

    Deadline Monday 1st February 2021 (5pm GMT)

    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 on eligibility and how to apply can be found on the FASS Funding website

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

    If you are interested in applying for a PhD place at Lancaster in the area of Media & Cultural Studies and you are interested in applying for Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding, please first look at the information on the NWCDTP website and then contact Anne Cronin (

    The application process is lengthy, so you should contact Anne Cronin as soon as possible.


    Apply online for a PhD place at Lancaster: 15th January 2021

    Draft AHRC funding application: 18th January 2021

    Final funding application: 5pm 5th February 2021

    Securing AHRC (NWCDTP) funding is very competitive, so to stand a chance of success you need to have a 1st class degree at undergraduate level and a Distinction at Masters level (or, if you are currently doing your MA, grades that look like you will achieve a Distinction by the end of your Masters degree).

    The AHRC North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWCDTP) doctoral studentship competition is now open, including ring-fenced studentships for BAME and disabled students. All applicants must have a confirmed offer of a place on a doctoral programme at Lancaster University. International students, as well as UK students, may apply. More information about the NWCDTP application process and what subjects they cover is available on the NWCDTP website.

    To apply for an award, candidates must have applied for a PhD place at Lancaster University by Friday 15 January 2021. The PhD in Media & Cultural Studies is run by the Sociology department. (See these web pages for how to apply). But you may also apply for Media & Cultural Studies AHRC pathway funding if you intend to register on another PhD degree (e.g. PhD Gender & Women’s Studies, PhD Sociology) if your PhD project is based on media or culture.

    Writing the AHRC PhD application (including the research proposal) is complex and you should work with your proposed PhD supervisors on improving your draft as much as you can. Your draft should also be shown to Anne Cronin for comments (

    All draft applications for the AHRC (NWCDTP) should be sent to Anne Cronin for comments by Monday 18 January. Candidates must submit a NWCDTP Funding Application by Friday 5 February 2021 (5pm).

  • Faculty Doctoral Scholarships

    Deadline for Scholarship applications: Monday 22nd March 2021, 17:00 GMT

    Eligibility: UK students and international students (including EU and EEA)

    Please contact Emma Taylor, Postgraduate Coordinator, if you would like to apply: Please note that candidates interested in applying should contact Emma at least two weeks before the deadline.

    Applicants must already hold an offer of a place to study a postgraduate doctoral programme in the Sociology Department before applying for a scholarship, and be due to commence their studies during the 2021-22 academic year.

    Two of the scholarships are reserved for UK applicants from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups.

    Details of Award: Cost of tuition fee plus a maintenance award of £15,000

    For further details, and to download the funding application form please see the Faculty of Arts and Social Science website

  • 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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