PhDs & Masters by Research 

The challenges of the 21st century require a new mindset. We can no longer work in ever smaller areas of specialisation but must learn to work together on complex issues holistically, across disciplines, and across all societal sectors. This is the essence of transdisciplinary work, and the Institute of Citizenship, Society and Change (ICSC) embraces this approach.

About us

The ICSC is UCLan’s spearhead for transdisciplinary research concerned with citizenship and the ‘civic’. The ICSC brings together a diverse group of academics and practitioners including social scientists, artists, engineers, IT specialists, film makers and humanities researchers from across fifteen Schools and four Faculties at UCLan. ICSC has created spaces for linguistics and engineering to come together for an exploration of the impact of fracking on communities, for experts in children’s participation to combine work with theatre-based practice, for research with deaf children’s parents in Indonesia, and for experimenting with horticulture in prisons.

Do you have a research idea that needs a transdisciplinary approach?

We invite applications from high-performing UG students and people who already have a good degree and want to come back to university to undertake a transdisciplinary Master’s by Research with academics in ICSC.

  • Are you interested in working with academics from a number of different disciplines to address research questions that have both local and global relevance?
  • Do you want to coproduce research with organisations that will benefit from your work?
  • Do you want your research to have impact outside of academia?
  • Are you excited about developing and using innovative methodologies that cross science / social science / arts and humanities boundaries?
  • We would love to hear from you.

We can help you develop your research idea by aligning you with a transdisciplinary supervisory team.


Master’s by Research is eligible for funding through Student Finance England, for both full-time and part-time options. See for details.

Master’s by Research journey: How it works

A Master’s by Research programme is based around your own research, with supervision by an academic team, flexible working and an individualised timetable. Similar to a PhD, the outcome is a research thesis but at Master’s level, the research is at a smaller scale and the thesis is much shorter than at PhD level. It is expected that you will complete your research and submit your thesis for examination within 12 months although you will be allowed up to 24 months to do this.

At ICSC, you will be supervised by academics from different disciplines, and your project should cut across different subject areas. We offer research supervision for projects aligned with the following themes:

– New municipalism, e.g. municipal energy transitions; co-operatives; social and co-operative pedagogy; the Preston Model

– Civic spaces and civic renewal, e.g. arts/humanities-based work with civic spaces in museums; work with Living Labs / Real-World Labs; activism; models of democracy; social movements

– Risk and safety, e.g. domestic homicide; human trafficking; energy sources; health, incl.  pandemics;  digital/mass surveillance.

– Resilient and regenerative communities, e.g. sustainability aspects of transport systems / tourism / food systems; emergencies and disasters; work and employment; connected communities and community engagement.

– Socio-ecological challenges and transitions, e.g. food sovereignty; mitigating and adapting to climate change; the post-growth society

– Communication across societal sectors, e.g. public understanding of science; political communication; Serious Games in cross-sectoral facilitation; media representation/discursive construction of above issues; translation of knowledge (expert, lay, tacit etc) into policy; citizen science

We highly value diversity in the institute and hope to welcome applicants from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines.


Transdisciplinary learning: Local and global

You can expect an ICSC Master’s to challenge you. Not only will you undertake an in-depth study in your chosen research topic and build on your existing knowledge and experience, but you will also develop other sought-after competences. In addition to 1:1 research supervision, you will be part of an international cohort of transdisciplinary learners at ICSC UCLan and at our overseas hub in rural India. On completion of your research degree you should be in a very strong position for pursuing your chosen career.

We use a blend of face-to-face and online activities with our cohort of learners, which includes transdisciplinary themes such as these:

  • Conducting ethical research
  • Coproducing knowledge with stakeholders
  • Effective multimodal communication
  • Co-creative facilitation
  • Research methods design across disciplines
  • Being creative with research outputs
  • Processes and principles of systemic change

Please email for support developing an application:


Web: Institute of Citizenship, Society and Change

ICSC Blog:

ICSC Twitter: @UCLanICSC

See here for details about undertaking a research degree at UCLan.