Gain deeper insight into your professional practice, learn to become an autonomous researcher, and study in a stimulating virtual environment as you tackle key Higher Education issues. Our distinctive PhD programme draws you into a strong research culture and provides the environment for you to establish your reputation as a skilled and published HE researcher.
Undertaken entirely online over a minimum of four years, the programme typically attracts a dynamic group of international PhD students. You will have the opportunity to engage with influential research and wider debates around policy and change, enhancing learning and teaching, and assessment and evaluation. Your learning is applied specifically to the contexts and priorities of the Higher Education environment in which you are working.
You and your global peers will connect with highly-regarded, research-active programme tutors, departmental staff, and our Higher Education Research and Evaluation research hub. You will benefit from our extensive and diverse research experience and a broad spectrum of departmental interests, including: evaluation, disciplinary differences, policy implementation, learning and teaching in HE, discourse and literacies, and the management of change.
Our virtual community can also be an invaluable circle of critical friends, with the potential to grow into an important network for your career in Higher Education research, evaluation and enhancement. You’ll will have the opportunity to benefit from our extensive resources, including a library of previous students’ work, and from the international network of senior managers who have completed our departmental programmes over 25 years; many of whom are now directing change in their own universities.
You should find that the programme delivers a very human, inclusive and rich learning environment that’s also supportive and sociable. Skills development elements such as research methodologies, critical thinking and academic writing are complemented by engagement in online forums, peer and tutor review, webinars, interactive work, and skype conversations with supervisors.
During the first two years, you’ll undertake three large and two smaller taught modules covering key HE issues, approaches and theories, as well as research methods. In years 3 and 4, you’ll move on to undertake research and write a thesis, which is produced under the detailed supervision of a subject expert and for which one of the objectives is to contribute new knowledge to the scholarly community.
Our publish-as-you-go assessment model sees you produce three article-sized papers suitable for publication, should you wish to publish. It has multiple positive outcomes: it can build your academic profile, result in the publication of journal papers and articles and/or conference presentations, and, provide evidence of the impact that your research may have if practically applied.
The programme is designed so that you can access and contribute to activities at times convenient to your employment. It provides the opportunity for you to develop your skills as an effective and valuable change agent in your university and potential outcomes include career progression, a move into an academic post, and the satisfaction of intellectual curiosity.
Your PhD is awarded on completion of your supervised research, a viva examination and approved thesis.
A good Honours Degree (UK or equivalent) and usually a Master's degree which demonstrates evidence of the ability to conduct independent research.
You must be employed (in any capacity) in a higher education institution, or in an organisation directly and mainly associated with higher education.
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.
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 reading and writing and 5.5 in speaking and listening. We also consider other English language qualifications.
Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email email@example.com
Fees and Funding
UK Fee £5,410
International Fee £9,670
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small College Membership Fee which supports the running of college events and activities. Students on some distance-learning courses are not liable to pay a college fee.
For students starting in 2023 and 2024, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2025 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Application fees and tuition fee deposits
For most taught postgraduate applications there is a non-refundable application fee of £40. We cannot consider applications until this fee has been paid, as advised on our online secure payment system. There is no application fee for postgraduate research applications.
For some of our courses you will need to pay a deposit to accept your offer and secure your place. We will let you know in your offer letter if a deposit is required and you will be given a deadline date when this is due to be paid.
Fees in subsequent years
If you are studying on a programme of more than one year’s duration, the tuition fees for subsequent years of your programme are likely to increase each year. Read more about fees in subsequent years.
Scholarships and Bursaries
Details of our scholarships and bursaries for 2024-entry study are not yet available, but you can use our opportunities for 2023-entry applicants as guidance.
Check our current list of scholarships and bursaries.
- E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning (by course work and thesis) PhD
- Education and Social Justice (by Distance Learning) MA
- Education and Social Justice (thesis and coursework) PhD
- Educational Research (Independent Study) PhD
- Educational Research - Higher Education (thesis and coursework) PhD
The information on this site relates primarily to 2023/2024 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.
Our Students’ Charter
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.