Research course

Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement

Lancaster University · Educational Research

Entry requirements

A good Honours Degree (UK or equivalent) and usually a Masters 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 organization directly and mainly associated with higher education.

Months of entry


Course content

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 gfor which one of the objectives is to contribute new knowledge to the scholarly community.

Our publish-as-you-go assessment model sees you produce several shorter papers suitable for publication in an academic journal or for presentation to conference. 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.

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 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

Fees and funding

Learn more at our fees and funding page.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

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

Course contact details

Kathryn Doherty
+44 (0)1524 593572