Dementia Studies


  • Entry year 2024
  • Duration Part time 5 Years



The PhD in Dementia Studies gives the opportunity for individuals with an interest in dementia (either academically or professionally) to undertake advanced study within their chosen field. The course promotes applied and critical thinking around theoretical and practice-based issues related to all aspects of dementia care. This programme is offered on a part-time basis via blended learning and attracts a wide range of UK-based students and international students.

Programme overview

Taught Modules

The current taught modules (subject to change) are:


  • Theoretical approaches to the study of Dementia
  • Empirical research in this area across a range of topics including risk factors and cognitive impairment
  • Living with dementia
  • Research methods to evaluate interventions

Undertaking research:

  • Philosophy of research
  • Research questions, methods and choices
  • Qualitative and quantitative data analysis
  • Diverse evidence synthesis and systematic review

Principles of research design and ethical considerations:

  • The ethical consequences of different research designs and researching in different populations
  • Principles of research ethics
  • Writing a research proposal
  • Ethical approval and Governance procedures.

There are 180 credits of taught modules across years 1 and 2. Please note that students must achieve a minimum 60% weighted average across these taught modules in order to proceed to the research element of the PhD programme (Yr. 3 onwards).


Year 3 and onwards will be spent undertaking a research project and will conclude with the submission of a thesis (35,000 words) that makes an original contribution to knowledge within your area of professional practice and of direct relevance to it. This research project will be supervised from Lancaster University but undertaken in your own location or workplace. Supervisions will be hosted online via MS Teams, plus face-to-face meetings during the annual Autumn Academy.

It is important that students develop a research idea that is within the interests and expertise of academic staff. Before applying we recommend that you explore the Centre for Ageing Research to find out whether we have expertise that matches your area(s) of interest. Currently our academic staff have expertise in the following areas:

  • Understanding the needs of family and carers and planning interventions to support them
  • Addressing the needs of older people and improving the provision of care in residential and nursing homes and in other environments, such as hospital wards
  • Public education and awareness of issues in ageing
  • Dementia and social care
  • Dementia, the arts and the environment
  • Longitudinal data analysis to examine patterns of long-term risk factors for cognitive impairment and dementias
  • Inequalities and public health impacts for older people, e.g. in minority groups

Key Facts

PhD Dementia Studies is delivered by Blending Learning. Blended learning refers to the methods of interaction between students and course tutors / supervisors on a programme. Teaching and research activities are carried out through a combination of face-to-face and online interaction. The Lancaster-based academies that occur each year give you the chance to meet your programme peers and the academic team. Online interactions use our virtual learning environment and include discussion forums, collaborative digital spaces and video conferencing.

Each of the subsequent academic years start with an optional three-day Autumn Academy at Lancaster University. The remainder of the course is taught online.

Programme outcomes

Undertaking the PhD in Dementia Studies will:

  • Enhance leadership skills and effectiveness
  • Foster critical approaches to evidence review and knowledge management
  • Develop advanced skills in research design, practice and dissemination
  • Promote advanced knowledge and a critical understanding of research, concepts and theoretical frameworks in dementia studies
  • Improve scholarship in critical thinking, written manuscripts and oral debates

Entry requirements

Academic Requirements

2:1 Hons degree (UK or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

We may also consider non-standard applicants, please contact us for information.

If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.

Additional Requirements

As part of your application you will also need to provide a 500 word research proposal. Guidance can be found on our writing a research proposal webpage.

English Language Requirements

We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.

We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 6.5, and a minimum of 6.0 in each element of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.

Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email

Course structure

You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.

Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.



Fees and funding


Home Fee £4,350

International Fee £11,340

General fees and funding information

Important Information

The information on this site relates primarily to 2024/2025 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.

The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.

More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.

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We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.