Research course

Higher Education: Research, Evaluation and Enhancement

Lancaster University · Educational Research

Entry requirements

A good honours degree and preferably a Masters degree, or its equivalent.

Months of entry


Course content

Gain deeper insight into your professional practice, become an autonomous researcher, and learn in a stimulating virtual environment as you tackle key Higher Education issues. Our internationally recognised, innovative PhD programme draws you into a strong research culture and supports you as you establish your reputation as a skilled and published HE researcher.

Undertaken entirely online over a minimum of four years, the programme attracts a dynamic group of approx. 30 international PhD students every intake. You will 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 and research-active programme tutors, departmental staff, and our Higher Education Research and Evaluation research hub. You will benefit from 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 is also an invaluable circle of critical friends. They grow into an important network through your career in Higher Education research, evaluation and enhancement. You’ll also profit from a valuable cache of resources, including a library of previous students’ work, and from the huge international network of senior managers who have completed our departmental programmes over 25 years and are now directing change in their own universities.

You will 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 excellent and detailed supervision of a subject expert and will 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 builds your academic profile, results in publication of journal papers and articles and/or conference presentations, and, evidences the impact that your research may have if practically applied.

The programme is designed so that you can access and contribute to activities as times convenient to your employment. It equips you to be an effective and valuable change agent in your university and likely 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

IELTS 6.5 with at least 6.0 for reading and writing and 5.5 for speaking and listening.

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

Course contact details

Kathryn Doherty
+44 (0)1524 593572