A PhD is an internationally-recognised research qualification. You can study for your PhD on campus or by distance-learning.
Studying for your PhD in the School of Music means that you will become an expert in a specialist area and gain high-quality research skills, which will equip you to undertake further research projects in addition to pursuing specialist career paths.
As a postgraduate researcher, you will conduct original research work under the guidance of your supervisors. You’ll have regular meetings to monitor your progress and develop an initial training plan to make sure you are acquiring the appropriate skills for your research.
Your initial priority is refining a research plan and establishing a feasible timescale for your project. During the early part of your PhD, you will undertake various research methods modules to support your research activities.
For the first 12 months (or 18 months if part-time) you will be enrolled as a provisional PhD candidate and you'll develop a detailed research proposal and write a literature review. This work is submitted to a panel of examiners who will assess it and provide you with feedback and advice on the progress of your research.
This is called 'transfer' and is an important means of monitoring the progress of your work and assessing whether your proposal has enough weight to be accurately explored through a PhD research path.
After successful transfer, you'll enrol as a full PhD candidate, complete your research and write a thesis of approximately 100,000 words.
The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is awarded on the basis of this thesis, and your viva voce, where you present and discuss the rationale, methods and findings of your original study with an examining panel.
A PhD can be taken full-time (3 years standard) or part-time (5 years standard).
Areas of supervision
Research opportunities are available across the School of Music. Explore our research to discover more about our academic staff and where your research interests may fit.
If you want to pursue your chosen area of research through practice, we offer supervison for Music practice-led PhD and practice-led MPhil.
You should demonstrate a distinctive practice, an originality of thinking, and an ability to place the practice in an appropriate creative/cultural context. You'll be assigned appropriate supervisors, who will guide your research.
You will produce a body of work (for example, a portfolio of original compositions) demonstrating an original contribution to knowledge and scholarship. The work will comprise of a substantial body of creative practice produced in pursuit of the degree, displaying critical understanding, together with a written submission, which provides an exploration of the research question(s) and indicates the manner in which the research is embodied in the practice.
The written submission for practice-led PhD should be between 15,000 and 50,000 words.
You should hold a good honours degree (upper second class or first class) in a related discipline, and hold, or expect to obtain, a Masters degree in a related subject.
If English is not your first language, you will also need an English language qualification, for example IELTS 6.5 with at least 6.0 in all components.
You can improve your academic English level to the standard needed to study a postgraduate research degree by taking one of the following pre-sessional courses:
The distance-learning PhD requires IELTS score of 7.0 overall, no less than 6.5 in every component.
Scholarships and fees
A range of scholarships are available for PhD students.
Fees for PhD degrees are set independently and reviewed on an annual basis.
PhD by Distance Learning
For further information, please contact Dr Mic Spencer, Head of the Graduate School.