Qualification Types

Taught courses – Masters (examples: LLM, MA, MSc, MRes) and Postgraduate Certificates/ Diplomas (PgCert, PgDip)

Taught postgraduate degrees normally involve a combination of taught modules, coursework and a dissertation. Some programmes enable you to carry out a research project for a company or other organisation in place of the dissertation.

Most taught courses enable you to build upon your undergraduate studies, but some are ‘conversion’ courses designed for students with little or no academic experience in the subject area concerned.

Postgraduate Diplomas enable you to change disciplines, upgrade knowledge, or take a first step towards a Masters degree when your existing qualifications do not permit direct entry onto the Masters programme.

Most taught postgraduate programmes can be studied on a full- or part-time basis. Distance-learning options are also available on selected programmes. Details of available modes of study and durations for each programme may be found on the course listings.

Research degrees – Masters (examples: MPhil, MA by research) and Doctorates (examples: PhD, MD, DClinPsy)

Most Doctoral students at Lancaster work on a traditional PhD by research, which includes research training but has an emphasis on conducting original research and writing up a substantial research project in the form of a thesis. Doctoral degrees would be of a minimum full-time duration of three years.

It is also possible to conduct original research and write it up as a series of peer-refereed academic papers for publication, rather than a thesis; this leads to the degree of PhD by Alternative Format.

An MPhil normally takes two years of full-time study, with an emphasis on conducting original research and writing up a research project that is of similar quality, but smaller in size and scope, than a PhD thesis.

A Masters by research degree would usually take one year of full-time study to complete. These programmes are assessed on a piece of original research carried out by the student, and subsequent submission of a dissertation.

At Lancaster, all research Masters and Doctoral programmes may be studied on a full- or part-time basis. Details of available modes of study and durations for each programme may be found on the relevant degree listing.

Supervisors and research training

Every research student is allocated an academic supervisory team, comprising a main supervisor and at least one other support supervisor. Your supervisors will help you formulate your research topic and offer advice as you carry out and write up your research. Your supervisors will also work with you to ensure that you are making good progress and that any problems are picked up and resolved at the earliest possible stage.

All research students are expected to undergo appropriate research training, and the University runs a research training programme that is designed to support research students throughout their studies and to develop skills for their future careers. The programme includes courses, seminars, workshops and other activities covering everything from quantitative research methods to presentation skills. You are expected to undertake a development needs assessment guided by your supervisor when you first register; this will help in making sound decisions about what particular training is most appropriate for you as an individual. The decision needs assessment will be updated annually and your training programme will be revised accordingly.