Entry requirements

Master’s Degree: Master’s degree or equivalent in an appropriate discipline.

Undergraduate Degree: 2:1 (Hons) degree (UK or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline

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 PhD Proposal Form (Once completed, please upload your proposal form to your online application)

Practice based Research applicants are also required to submit a portfolio

Months of entry


Course content

Your Design PhD at Lancaster can focus on one of a wide range of topics within Design or on a research topic that crosses different disciplines. As a PhD student you will normally be supervised by a team of two supervisors who will ensure that you receive focused critical feedback and encouragement throughout the programme. In some cases the second supervisor will be based in a different discipline within the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA), or a different department within the university in order to ensure that you have the most appropriate supervisory team for your chosen project.

Previously, we have supervised PhD projects on an wide variety of topics in areas such as design management, policy and leadership; urban design and future cities; speculative design, design fiction and design as rhetoric; user-centred and user-led design; design for health; design for ageing; design education; design theory; design for sustainability; design and traditional knowledge and practices; and human-computer interaction and digital fabrication. In the past, many of our Design PhD students have conducted field research in other parts of the UK and abroad, including the US, Turkey, Malaysia, Thailand and China. We encourage our Design PhD students to develop their work into papers for presentation at international design conferences and for publication in academic journals.

You can take your Design PhD at Lancaster either in the standard format of a written thesis, or as a project that combines a written thesis with creative practical work. Many of our academic staff are engaged with practice-based research in the fields of design, art, theatre, and film and we have a dedicated team of technicians to support you as well as workshops, editing suites and technical resources for our students.

As a PhD student based in the LICA and part of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), you will be part of a multidisciplinary community of research students, able to participate in seminars, reading groups, conferences, and research training courses. We also offer opportunities to study for a certificate in higher education teaching.

We encourage you to contact the LICA postgraduate coordinator at pgadmissions@lancaster.ac.uk or any member of the design staff team to discuss your ideas for PhD research.

Information for international students

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.

If your score is below our requirements, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes.

Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email pgadmissions@lancaster.ac.uk

Fees and funding

Learn more at the fees and funding page.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

LICA Admissions
+44(0)1524 510899